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posted: 11/30/2012 4:00 AM

Here are some tips for squeezing extra storage out of your home

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Most people would say they need more storage in their homes. Of course, sometimes just cleaning and editing items can give you more space. But many times, you could use even more space. Here are some semi-easy ways to create more space without having a garage sale.

You can create storage space on an ordinary wall. All you need is some shelving and trim. Cut the shelving boards in half, lengthwise, so that the shelves will be shallow, allowing the material to go farther. Fill the wall, from top to bottom and side to side, with shelves. Add trim at the top and bottom to give it a built-in look.

Benches are great for seating, and with hinged tops, drawers or cabinet doors, they can be filled with all sorts of things.

Standard closets that have a single shelf and closet rod waste a lot of space. Add more shelves to easily increase the storage capacity. If you have closet rods and don't store clothes in these closets, add shelves or cabinets in the bottom part of the closet.

Check cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom for extra space. By adding pullout drawers to cabinets, door storage and hanging storage on the inside walls of the cabinets, you can double or triple the storage capacity.

Any door can be used for extra storage. Check out the hanging shoe or canned-goods storage racks that can be installed, some without any hardware. Add these to any bathroom, closet or utility room door.

Open shelves can be covered with fabric panels to allow tons of private storage and still have a clean look. Use Velcro, tension rods or staples to hold the fabric in place.

Don't forget the space under your bed. Put low-profile boxes or drawers on wheels or skids and slide them under your bed when filled. An added bonus is that there will be less space for dust bunnies!

Keep gloves together

Good leather gloves are important when using certain tools. We wouldn't think of breaking out the chain saw without a good pair, for example. We found a great way to keep them together and handy: Put a ring on it! That's right, add a lock ring, D-ring or any other kind of ring on one glove, hook it to the other and then hook them both to your tool's storage box or wherever you want to keep your gloves handy. You'll never be slowed down by a lost glove again. You'll have to come up with another excuse!

A better grip on that bolt

The best way to remove a nut from a bolt is to hold the bolt while turning the nut. Some bolts don't have a slotted head, and if these bolts are not firmly in place, you might need to hold them like the others. You can create something to grab hold of on the bolt head by just filing off a little on either side of the head. This gives you a couple of flat areas to grab hold of with pliers or a wrench. It might take a little time to do, even with a metal file, but it will save you time in the long run, so give it a shot.

Super hints

• Nonstick cooking spray is great for keeping cookies from sticking to the pan. Well, it also works great on snowblowers and shovels. It might sound crazy, but buy a can for yourself and give it a try.

• I like to keep my yard picked up. I always wanted one of those sticks that has the point on the end that you use to stab trash. It helps get rid of some the frustration from trash blowing into my yard, too. I just added a double-threaded nail to the end of my broom, and now I have my own trash-stabber.

• If you don't have a chalk line, you can just rub a piece of chalk over a length of string and pop it, just like you would a standard chalk line. It will do the same great job as the real thing!

Q. Our dark-blue carpeting needed to be cleaned in a couple of areas. We've used a carpet cleaner before, so we did it again. This time, however, there were a couple of spots where the color faded. Can I dye these spots back to the original dark blue?

A. You can try. It's going to be really hard to do this and have it turn out OK, though. You might do better to just cut out the bad area and install a carpet scrap. Make sure you use carpet tape to secure the patch, and that the nap runs in the same direction as the surrounding carpet.

Q. My range hood needs to be cleaned. I've never cleaned it before, though I have tried hot water and some general-purpose cleaners, but I can't get the job done. How can I get it clean before the holidays?

A. The filter should come out through the bottom or underside, where the air goes into the vent. Use a strong degreaser to clean it. You might try putting it through the dishwasher, too. Use the degreaser on the rest of the hood as well. If you've never cleaned it, it's going to take some time and elbow grease. Use a plastic dish scrubber, too. This will help more than you might think. From now on, try to clean it a couple of times a year so it won't get so out of control.

Q. This winter, I plan to make storm windows from plastic sheeting. Can you give me some guidelines and tips to follow so I can do it quickly and not waste a lot of plastic?

A. Lightweight plastic will do better indoors, but the heavy, thicker material can be used outside. Staples are the easiest way to install the plastic. It can rip easily, so we suggest folding it over a strip of cardboard several times and then stapling it in place. If you can attach the plastic to a wooden frame, then you'll have something that might last for a couple of years. Velcro can hold these frames in place, as well as screws. An alternative is to use rigid foam panels. These are not see-through but can really help insulate some windows.

Reader tips

• I have a drafty front door and wanted to install a simple door sweep on the inside. I thought it would take a lot of time to measure, cut and install the whole thing. I found some that were already cut the exact size of the door, and they used a peel-and-stick tape instead of screws. It took only about four minutes to install. I may go back and add screws if the tape doesn't hold, but so far, it is.

• You'll love this. I have trouble unscrewing screws sometimes when the head gets worn down. I have discovered that if you place a rubber band over the head and then push your screwdriver into the grooves, along with the rubber band, you can get a good enough grip on the head to unscrew it. It really does work when you think it's not going to. You should give it a try.

• I sure am glad that I keep a few tools in the back of my car. I happened upon an accident last weekend and needed to assist another motorist. I had a fire extinguisher in my trunk and was able to help him put out an engine fire. The other two people who stopped didn't have anything to use, so we were very lucky to have my extinguisher. I stopped on the way home and got a new one, and urged the other two guys to do the same. You never know when you might need one.

• I use plastic grocery bags to line my bathroom trash cans. I fold the tops of the bags over the tops of the trash can, but I also have cut a slit in either side of the trash can, about halfway down the side, to hold the handles of the grocery bags in place. I just poke them through the slits to secure them. This prevents the bags from sliding down into the trash can.

• We had several glass panes broken out of our windows last month, and are just now getting them repaired. It was difficult to remove the old glass from some of the windows because it was still stuck to the wood frame. We made loops of duct tape, with the sticky side out, and put those on the glass to use as handles to hold it with. Then we loosened the caulk and pulled out the panes. The tape worked great and went in the trash with the old glass.


• For touching up dinged appliances, you'll love Krylon's 2-Way Appliance Touch-Up Scratch & Chip Repair. It's super-easy to use. The applicator included has a roller-ball tip for small scratches and a brush for bigger boo-boos. There's not a lot of prep that you have to do in order to cover a mishap. And it dries fairly quickly. It's available in white, almond and bisque. Look for it at your hardware store or home center. If you need to find out more about this product or any of the other products Krylon has, go to The website has some neat project ideas to share as well.

• The Faucet Sock outdoor faucet cover is a super way to prevent freezing. The Faucet Sock is made from a double layer of 3M Thinsulate covered in a waterproof nylon guard to keep it dry. It's easy to install in just a few minutes, and you won't have to give it another thought. Buy one for each of your outdoor faucets, and get back inside, where it's warm! You can find it at most hardware stores and home centers.

• Write to Al and Kelly Carrell in care of the Daily Herald, P.O. Box 280, Arlington Heights, IL 60006 or visit the Carrells' website at

2012, Cowles Syndicate Inc.

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