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I am a mom to twin boys, full-time employee of a telecommunications company and wife to a professional musician. I work, do yoga, cook and try to squeeze in DIY projects and spending time with friends.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

House Hacks

There are multiple blogs focused on 'hacks'.. parent hacks, life hacks, etc.  A hack is a shortcut or other 'why didn't I think of that?' kind of solution to a problem.  I love hacks, because they often use an item in a new or different way. 

In our basement, I've used a bunch of hacks, and found that frequently, the answer to my problem was sitting on the shelf, unused and waiting to be discovered!  Here are some of my hacks:

We come in to the house through the garage, which is attached to the basement.  The basement is where the pantry and spare fridge are.  Grocery bags are usually unloaded there, with some items going upstairs and the rest staying here.  Any bags brought upstairs are (eventually) thrown down the stairs to the basement, to clutter up the floor with the ones that were unloaded there.  Until I came up with this hack:
The black hook is a curtain hold-back, unused since we moved to this house six years ago. It's big and deep, allowing for lots of space for bags.  This space is directly inside the door to the garage- the door knob is on the left, just outside the photo.  So before you step into the garage.... check the hook for bags!

Another hack solved a challenge caused by the fact that Mr. Unwired is a bit of a fashionista, with a lot of style.  He wears long-sleeved, button down shirts almost every day, and dry cleaning them was a pain-- besides the cost, someone had to remember to drop them off and pick them up.  I started laundering them at home, and found that hanging them to dry after 20 minutes of drying time left them pretty much wrinkle-free.   That required a place to dry the shirts, and our laundry room (in the basement, adjacent to the garage) seemed like a good fit.  There was no easy place to hang them, until I came up with this hack:

Looking up... the hangers and red 'spider' are hanging from a curtain rod
The ceiling in the laundry room is unfinished, and I have plenty of unused curtain hardware.  Mr. Unwired mounted one of the curtain rods in the floor joists above the dryer, as if I were going to hang curtains in front of the dryer.  Instead of curtains, I hang laundry there! 

Here's another photo... standing straight underneath one of the brackets, looking up:
Looking up... the planks you see are the subfloor for the kitchen, directly above.

Here's another related one... when items come out of the dryer, sometimes they need to be buttoned, or lingerie straps need to be maneuvered to hold a dress on a hanger.  Well, I'm too short to do that sort of fidgeting when clothing is hung on the rod shown above.  So I found a stick-on hook that wasn't being used.  With new adhesive, I stuck it on the dryer-- easy to reach, and oh so clever!  Shocking how long I struggled before finally figuring this one out!

Right at my level!

 The last hack for this post is more like 'Hack Central'.  Take a look at this photo of the shelf above the utility sink:

The shelf/brackets were appropriated from upstairs.  They had been in use in Mr. Unwired's closet until I hung too much from the rod and caused it to collapse (oops).  We re-hung the bar there without using the shelf... and moved the shelf and brackets to the basement.

Getting the brackets into the cinder block wall required special screws and supports; our local hardware store helped with that.  Once up, I found an old tension rod and laid it in the spot where the clothing rod had been.  Before securing it with twist ties (!), I slid a paper towel roll on it.  The s-hooks went into place to hold paint brushes as they dry... the sink is below so it's a natural spot for them.  And when I wanted cloth towels hung over the sink, I found ring clips left over from hanging curtains in my sons' room.  Undid the tension rod, slid them on and clipped old cloth napkins into place.  Voila!

Close-up of the tension rod resting in place where the clothing rod had been

I find these sorts of projects to be invigorating.  It's a relief to solve a problem, and a challenge to do so with only the items on hand.  While I'm not opposed to spending money, this way is a good test for your brain, and it gives useful life to all that stuff hanging out in the garage/attic/basement/storage space!

What's your favorite hack?  Or blog-o-hacks?

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