This Father’s Day, save him the trouble of mowing the lawn -- and learn to do it better than he can.
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Chore Thing, Honey
While we love a fella who doesn’t mind hand-washing some china, certain chores seem to fall disproportionately in the “dad” camp -- those that require lifting something heavy, touching something icky, or evicting a many-legged roommate (eek!).
But there’s no reason you can’t mow lawns and wash cars with the best of them. This Father’s Day, save him the trouble of cleaning the garage -- and learn to do it better than he can.
Photography: JENS MORTENSEN2 of 8
Taking out the trash may seem banal, but better technique can make the whole thing more pleasant. Store extra liners under the current one for easy access -- and rather than surrender precious floor space to piles (or dig through it all on collection day), build a sorting station to hold recyclable items as they accrue. At the curbside stage, drainage holes make barrel maintenance a snap. Talk about a Father’s Day gift that keeps on giving.
For extra green points, consider composting, which can streamline both garbage and gardening needs. Finally, give your wastebasket an aesthetic upgrade with one of our favorite trash-can alternatives.
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Face it: You may never acquire Dad’s cool in the face of creepy crawlers. To save the soles of his shoes (and his eardrums, if you’re anything like us), focus on creating a hostile environment for unwanted guests. Ward off grain moths by taping whole bay leaves to the sides and bottoms of pantry shelves, and deter slugs and aphids from window boxes with an all-natural homemade repellent. As for ants, a spray made with equal parts water and white vinegar will stop them in their tracks. Spritz your kitchen floor weekly to keep the magic alive.
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The irony of Dad as de facto drain cleaner? Most of that hair isn’t his! If you wind up with a clog, bypass chemical-filled conventional fixes and opt for an all-natural DIY solution. Pour one cup each of baking soda and vinegar into the drain, followed by three to four cups of boiling water. Still blocked? Bring in the big guns: a plunger, a wire coat hanger, and a closet auger or plumber’s snake. See our tips and techniques for safe use of these items, and enjoy feeling like a resourceful pioneer woman--with air-conditioning.
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Elsewhere in unpleasant plumbing repairs, there is toilet trouble. We won’t walk you through the finer points, but feel free to consult our all-inclusive home plumbing guide for advice. Swapping out a faucet? Don’t sweat it. Toilet won’t stop running? We’ve got a fix! Dad surely won’t leave you high and dry, but let him stay that way if you can.
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It’s a child’s iconic Saturday-morning sight: Dad circles the lawn while the kid putzes around in the sandbox. Did you ever feel a wee bit jealous? Now that you’re all grown up, you too can take a turn behind the blade. Familiarize yourself with eco-friendly lawn-care practices, and to avoid distressing your lawn, never cut more than a third off the height of the grass in one go. Finally, see our mower maintenance tips to ensure proper care of your tools.
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For most men, a car is never just a car -- which is why Dad’s wheels deserve the all-star treatment. A thorough cleaning will improve the look and life expectancy of his vehicle, and goodness knows he doesn’t always have time to do it himself. He may hesitate to relinquish care of his baby, but our ultimate guide to detailing a car will ensure that your hands are just as capable. Just don’t mess with his radio stations, okay? Some things are sacred.
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Those squeaky-clean wheels deserve the ultimate parking space, and Dad’s not the only one who can give the garage a lift. Transform an unfocused dumping ground into a systematized multipurpose room for storage and activity. See our favorite ideas for freshening up your garage -- and if you’d like to do the patio and yard while you’re at it, you’ll find even more in our garage and outdoor spring-cleaning guide. After all, organized living has no season.