How to Become Handier Around the House, According to Home Renovation Experts
Being handy at home is the gift that keeps on giving. Not only does it allow you to quickly fix up things around the house as needed, but it usually saves you plenty of time and money in the process. "Being handy can make you feel a lot more confident and secure when you want to take on a new project—or when a problem comes up," says DIY expert Christina Blake of And Christina. "When it comes to small home repairs, sometimes you can even get the job done faster yourself because you don't have to wait to schedule with someone else."
Fortunately, with the right tools and a little practice, almost anyone can learn to be handier. "You'll feel empowered to take on new projects, which can be exciting for homeowners," David Passifume, the Merchandising Vice President for Tools at The Home Depot, says. "Starting small with simple home upgrades, such as hanging lighting fixtures or curtains, will help build your skillset." Curious about how to build and expand your own? We asked Blake, Passifume, and Kevin Busch, the Vice President of Operations at Mr. Handyman, a Neighborly company, to share their advice.
Assemble a reliable tool box.
One of the first things to do is assemble a well-stocked tool kit. "Purchasing essential tools early on is a smart investment that will help save time and money in the future," Passifume explains. "This includes a tape measure, a hammer with a comfortable grip, both a Philips head and flat head screwdriver, a pair of pliers, a cordless drill, a level, a stud finder, a handheld sander, and a few adjustable wrenches in different sizes to manipulate nuts and bolts." Passifume also recommends keeping a solid assortment of nails and screws on-hand, so you can tackle a number of household projects, ranging from hanging pictures to finishing flooring jobs.
Practice using a drill and screwdriver by switching out cabinet hardware.
To help you get more comfortable using a cordless drill and screwdriver, Bush recommends changing out your kitchen cabinet hardware for practice. "You will likely only need a screwdriver, drill and screwdriver bit, and possibly a drill bit for pilot holes," he says. "To install the new hardware, simply unscrew the existing hardware with a screwdriver or drill, place the new hardware in its place and simply screw it back in."
Paint a piece of furniture.
A little paint can go a long way on an outdated piece of furniture, which is why Blake says learning to sand and paint a surface is a great practice project for rookie DIYers. "Almost every painting project starts with sanding layers of old paint to create a smooth surface," she explains. "Adding a fresh coat to an old piece also gives you the opportunity to experiment with different colors and finishes, before taking on bigger paint projects in the future."
Fix a door that sticks.
For a beginner-friendly home improvement project that will instantly make you feel more accomplished, Bush suggests fixing a door that sticks. "Tighten or loosen the hinge screws in both the door and the door jamb with a screw driver, as opposed to a drill," he advises. "Using a drill increases the likelihood to over-tighten the screw and strip the screw holes. If the screws are already stripped, replace them with three-inch screws that run through the door jamb into the framing."
Watch online tutorials.
When you find yourself intimidated by certain projects, you can always rely on online tutorials to help guide you through the process. "You can learn a lot from Google," Blake says. "I like to find several videos or posts on the same project, so I can see how multiple people tackle it. Getting perspective from multiple sources is great because you'll see different methods and usually get lots of great tips." Additionally, The Home Depot offers live-streaming workshops that feature expert associates taking on a variety of popular home renovation projects. "These workshops are free and posted online for all DIY needs," Passifume explains.