14 Essentials to Help You Fix and Clean Almost Anything

Back in 2011, I wrote a little piece about the importance of having a selection of items on hand to fix and clean almost everything.  Since that time, my views have changed and whereas many of the items on the original list still hold a prominent place in my fix-it kit, some have dropped off and others have been added.

Given that my focus this year is on simplicity as well as frugality, this is a great time to go back and credo this list because let’s face it.  Life is filled with little fix-it and clean-it tasks.

Life is Filled with Things to Fix and Things to Clean

Zwipes Microfiber Clea... Best Price: $20.12 Buy New $28.99 (as of 11:40 EST - Details) We live in a throwaway society where it is less costly to throw something out and buy new, than to have it repaired.  Along those same lines, messes happen and we have to clean up after ourselves.  It is a fact of life.

Most all of us have a traditional tool box and a conventional cleaning bucket. You know the kind:  hammer, saw, screwdrivers, drill, clamps all kinds of stuff.  Add some fancy, schmancy household cleaners, various types of cleaning wipes and the next thing you know, you will have as much fix-it and clean-it gear as you have items to fix and to clean.

Some of this is good, and some of it is not.  I say that because space is precious and those one-use products we just had to have while strolling the aisles at Home Depot are now taking up valuable real estate in our closets and cupboards.  I don’t know about you but for me, I could make better use of that space by storing bulky emergency supplies not the least of which is TP and biomass.

This morning I took a stroll around my house and took inventory of those essential items that take up my own handy dandy fix-it and clean-its.  These are xx useful doo-dads and other supplies that will hold it together and solve 99% Isopropyl Alcohol ... Check Amazon for Pricing. many if not most of those annoying little fix it and cleaning tasks in any household, large or small.

14 Useful Items to Fix or Clean Almost Anything

1.  Duct TapeNo surprise here.  It is strong, flexible and waterproof.  Cut it to size and shape it anyway you want.  Hold stuff together, fix rips, mend broken glass, and even use it as a splint.  You can repair vacuum cleaner hoses and catch flies.  You can even make yourself up as the Tin Man for Halloween.  The possibilities are so endless that there are websites devoted to the stuff.  And the bonus?  Duct tape comes in all colors as well as small, portable “to go” packs.

Read more about the uses of duct tape in 50 Ways to Use Duct Tape for Survival.

3M AllWeather Duct Tap... Buy New $9.77 (as of 09:54 EST - Details) 2.  Elmer’s Glue:  It is amazing how useful this classic kiddie glue can be. Use it to glue wood moldings back on to the wall, fix the loose heel or flapping sole of you shoes or to repair tears in the upholstery.  Glue together ripped seams or hems in your clothing.  Put a coating of Elmer’s on a splinter, let it dry then peel it off.  Out comes the splinter.

My favorite?  Patch nail holes in the wall by squirting in a bit of glue, waiting for it to dry, then painting over of patched hole.  No messy, sticky spackle to deal with and clean up is with simple soap and water.  Elmer’s can be used for so many things that I include a small bottle in my suitcase when I travel.

3.  Swiss Army Knife/Pocket ToolWhen all else fails, use a compact Swiss army knife.  Many come with two types of screwdrivers, a Phillips, and a flathead, plus scissors that are really sharp, a nail file, can opener and yes, even a corkscrew.  Lest I forget, a knife blade or two a typically included as well.  Use your Swiss army knife to open the mail, open a package, or cut your toenails.  Very handy indeed.

Elmeru2019s All Multip... Buy New $4.17 (as of 10:37 EST - Details) 4.  Zip Ties (also called tie wraps or cable ties):  I carry these everywhere, including my handbag, my backpack, and my luggage when I travel.  What are they?  Strong nylon bands with a slotted head at one end.  When you wrap the plain end around something, you come full circle and slip it through the slotted head where it locks into place.  Once locked into place, the item is solidly bound together – only to become unbound when you cut the tie.  (This is where your Swiss army knife will come in handy.)

Use the zip ties to hold cables or cords together, bundle kindling or firewood, secure car parts that have come loose, and more.  One unconventional use is to wrap a zip tie around the hose bib preventing passers-by from stealing our water.  Zip ties come in all lengths and you can piece 4 or 5 together to make a super zip tie.  As with the duct tape, they come in a rainbow of colors, but I prefer clear, which is the least expensive.

5.  Dental Floss:  Remove dental floss from the bathroom and it becomes super-string. You can use it to sew on buttons, substitute for a broken shoelace, make a temporary clothesline, or hang your stuff from a tree while out in the woods. Use it to mend a hole in your backpack by making a floss patch by darning over the hole back and forth until it is covered – just be sure to also carry a large needle with you as well.  Dental floss even has a place in the kitchen or on picnics where it can be used to neatly slice a cake or a hunk of cheese.  Of course, you can and should use floss to clean your teeth and gums, too.

6.  WD-40 or other spray lubricants:  Have a stuck zipper?  Get out the WD-40.  Rusty garden tools?  Get out the WD-40.  Greasy marks on the floor?  Yes, get out the WD-40.  This stuff is also so popular (like the ubiquitous duck tape) that there are fan clubs and websites devoted to the stuff.  Other uses include fixing sticky drawers, squeaky hinges, and surprise! scuffed up leather that needs a quick conditioning.  Heck, forget about the scuffs.  If your shoes are too tight, spray them with a bit of WD-40 and they will stretch ever so slightly to fit the shape of your foot.

Another good use of WD-40 is to loosen rings that can not be removed from swollen fingers.  The same thing applies to with glassware or bowls that are is stuck together.  Spray it on and they will become unstuck.

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