Adulting 101: How to be handy and DIY around the house

Adulting 101: How to be handy and DIY around the house

A quick guide to doing the basics at home

How to change a light bulb

Burnt out light bulb

  1. Turn off the switch or the main circuit breaker if you are unsure if there is still power running to the switch.
    Note: Every house has a circuit breaker or fuse box; it is usually found in the basement or closet in a rectangular metal casing. Most circuit breaker switches will be labelled with which room they run power to; however, to be on the safe side you can turn off the power to the entire house.
  2. Tell your roommates that you will need to turn the power off for a few minutes.
  3. After you have killed the power, let the light source cool before you touch it.
  4. Use a stepladder or a sturdy chair if needed to reach the light (and make sure you use a spotter).
  5. Unscrewing the light bulb is normally done by turning the bulb four or five full rotations to the left (or counter-clockwise) until it loosens and pops out.
  6. Get a new light bulb that is the correct wattage. To find the wattage see the light fixture, it should be marked on it.
  7. Screw in the new bulb by turning it all the way to the right (or clockwise) until it is securely in place.
  8. Turn the power back on when you are done.
  9. Let there be light.
Mariah Bridgeman | The Ontarion

Broken light bulb

  1. Follow steps one through four, above.
  2. Use eye protection and thick gloves.
  3. Place a plastic bag over the broken bulb and then cover it with a towel. Holding the towel against the bulb, turn the bulb to the left until it pops out.
  4. If the light bulb breaks off completely you will still need to remove the metal piece stuck in the socket. Absolutely make sure that the power is off before continuing.
  5. Using half a raw potato, firmly press the cut side against the light socket and begin twisting counter-clockwise. The potato should grip on to the metal piece and remove it.
  6. Follow steps six through nine, above.

Laundry basics

Washing clothes

  1. Empty out all the pockets in your clothes.
  2. Separate your clothes into three piles:
      Lights: whites, beiges, light pinks, light yellows, etc.
      Darks: blacks, dark blues, dark purples, etc.
      Delicates: clothes that are labeled “wash separately” or “hand wash only”
  3. Remove stains with a clean old tooth brush and stain remover product before washing.
  4. Measure a lid full of laundry detergent (there are lines in the lid you can follow) and pour into the machine.
  5. Pick the water temperature. Warm water is fine for lights in most circumstances, however, you may want to go with cold water for delicates and darks as sometimes warm water or hot water will shrink clothes or cause the colour to run more. When in doubt, follow the temperature recommended on the label.
  6. Set the wash cycle and turn the dial to set the washing type. The normal wash setting is ideal for lights and darks, but remember to switch to the delicate setting for fragile clothes.
  7. Choose the pile you did the settings for and place it into the washer. Try not to over-pack the washer since the clothes won’t get a good wash if it is too full.
  8. Turn the washer on and wait 30 to 45 minutes for the beep.
  9. When the wash cycle is done, immediately remove the wet laundry from the washer to prevent a musty smell and reduce wrinkling.
Mariah Bridgeman | The Ontarion

Drying clothes

  1. Hang items to air dry, lay flat to dry, or place in dryer depending on what the clothes require (check the labels) and what you have access to.
  2. When using a dryer, the first thing to check is the lint tray; remove lint from tray after each use to prevent a fire. The lint tray is normally found inside the dryer.
  3. Place damp clothes in the dryer along with a dryer sheet to soften clothes.
  4. Choose dryer setting:
      Regular/Heavy: High heat is usually suitable for bed sheets, towels, and lights.
      Permanent Press: Medium heat is usually suitable for darks and lights.
      Delicates: Low heat is usually suitable for delicates.
  5. You should always check the labels in case some items should not be placed in the dryer at all.
  6. Turn on dryer and wait 45 to 50 minutes for the beep.
  7. Fold or hang items immediately after dryer stops to reduce wrinkles and therefore the need for ironing.
  8. You should always check the labels in case some items should not be placed in the dryer at all.
  9. Turn on dryer and wait 45 to 50 minutes for the beep.
  10. Fold or hang items immediately after dryer stops to reduce wrinkles and therefore the need for ironing.

Unclogging a drain like it’s an elementary school volcano

Mariah Bridgeman | The Ontarion
  1. While it’s easy to go out and purchase hard chemicals, that should be a last resort. When you first notice a problem try this more eco-friendly drain cleaner; it works for most clogged drains.
  2. Pour a kettle full of boiling water down the drain.
  3. Pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain.
  4. Pour one cup of white vinegar down the drain and then cover the drain, if possible.
  5. Wait about ten minutes and then pour another kettle full of boiling water down the drain.

DIY essentials around the house

Squeaky door

  1. Run hand soap or cooking oil over door hinges.
  2. Keep applying on both sides until the squeak is gone.

Squeaky floor

  1. Pour baby powder on hardwood floor.
  2. Sweep into floor cracks.

Removing nail/pin holes

Mariah Bridgeman | The Ontarion
  1. Get a crayon that is the same colour as the paint.
  2. Rub the crayon over the hole to fill it in.
  3. Buff off remaining crayon if needed.

Scuff marks

  1. Remove scuff marks on the floor with an eraser.

Photo by Mariah Bridgeman/The Ontarion.