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Culture 50 DIY Home Hacks Everyone Should KnowTwo do-it-yourself experts have compiled an impressive list of repairs anyone who can hold a hammer or screwdriver can do. Even if you're unskilled at manual labor, sometimes, to make sure something gets done right best to do it yourself.

Even if you can bumble your way through replacing a carburetor or hanging a picture on the wall sans a cluster of “practice” holes, there are always ways to make these types of jobs easier, more efficient, and cheaper.

We’ll guess that YouTube is your typical go-to for these types of tutorials and explainers. Us, too. Trouble is, sometimes we spend a lot of time weeding through bad narration, lackluster explanations, and grainy footage that looks like it was recorded on a potato.

So, what’s another option? How about this crazy and outside-the-box idea: read a book.

Yes, books and all their antiquatedness still have a purpose in this digital world, especially when you can only rely on a roll of duct tape to seal up every leak in your bathroom, not to mention every crack in your home improvement skills.

In How to Fix Stuff: Practical Hacks for Your Home and Garden, a pair of DIY experts have come up with a list of 50 home repairs that you can have at your fingertips — no more Google machine needed, saving you both time and money by using tried and true home-fixing hacks.

Co-authors Tom Scalisi and Tanya Watson put to use their decades of home improvement experience to help you easily repair dozens of household nightmares — from patching up old cracks in the flooring to even sprucing up your backyard garden. The list goes on, from bike repair to painting tips.

Before writing about home improvement, Scalisi worked as a mechanic and a contractor before providing tips for publications such as This Old House magazine, Bob Vila, and Levelset.

Watson may be better known as the publisher of the popular DIY blog Dans Le Lakehouse, which has over 100,000 new monthly viewers. Here the Canadian native shows off her DIY renovation skills, including her passion for repurposing old furniture.

She’s also written for Elle Decor, Buzzfeed, Country Living, Better Homes & Gardens.

The bottom line of this how-to book, which is equipped with detailed step-by-step instructions, diagrams, and illustrations, is that to do a home project right, it’s sometimes best to do it yourself. So stop spend money on expensive repairman for every project and instead shell out $18.68 for the book, head to Home Depot, and do the damn job yourself.

How to Build Shelves

Shelves are the key to a tidy, organized home. There are the wall-hung bracketed kind, the freestanding metal kind, or the complex wooden kind made with grooves and joints. One easy way to build a sturdy set of freestanding wooden shelves is to use cleats-small pieces of wood upon which the shelving boards can rest. 

You Will Need 

  • 2 boards, 6 feet x 1 x 10 inches (180 x 2.5 x 25cm) 
  • 12 cleats, 9 x 1 x 1 inch 
  • {22 x 2.5 x 2.5cm) 
  • 6 boards, 3 x 1 x 10 inches (7.5 x 2.5 x 25cm) 
  • Sheet of %-inch (0.5cm) plywood 
  • 6 “lips,” 3 x 1 x 2 inches 
  • (7.5 x 2.5 x 5cm) 
  • Tape measure and pencil 
  • Electric drill 
  • 1½-inch {4cm) flat-head wood screws 
  • Screwdriver 
  • Power saw 

1. Lay out the two 6-foot (180cm) boards on the ground. Starting at what will be the bottom of a bookcase, measure up 1 inch (2.5cm) and mark that spot with a pencil. 

2. From there, measure every 14 inches (35cm) and make pencil marks at those spots. The bottoms of the shelves will rest at these points. 

3. At each pencil mark-and flush with the back of each board-screw in a 1 x 1-inch (2.5 x 2.5cm) cleat, lining up its top with the pencil mark. To make sure the cleat won’t split when fastened to the sides, drill three evenly spaced pilot holes into each one, then drive the screw through the cleat face (see Fig. A). 

4. Once all the cleats have been attached, hold a 3-foot (1m) “shelf” in place on top of the bottom cleat and drive two screws, equally spaced, through the face of the 6-foot (180cm) board into the end of the shelf. 

(4) Figure A.

(6) Figure C.

(7) Figure D.

5. Lay the unit on its side and screw the other end of the shelf to the opposite board (see Fig. B). 

6. Leave the unit lying on its side while you secure the top shelf, then the rest of the shelves. 

7. Measure and cut the sheet of plywood to fit the back of the shelving unit. Fasten it with screws, spaced every 10 inches (25cm) around its perimeter (see Fig. C). 

8. To finish the project, attach a “lip” to the front of the unit, under each shelf. Make sure it is flush with the bottom of the shelf and drive one screw into each end through the outer face of the bookshelf sides (see Fig. D). 

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