As someone who likes to build and tweak things, I love the idea of altering household objects to give them a new lease of life. Do you tweak things or have little cheats in the home to save the pennies and the pounds?
At a young age I was a big fan of Lego, and as an adult I’ve moved on to projects with tempered steel and kilowatts. However, when it comes to ‘home hacks’ it was an engineer friend who trumped my recent projects.
He’d built himself a sous-vide – an appliance used to cook meat to perfection by controlling its temperature in water. How? He attached a temperature control unit to a slow cooker. He loved the end product but decided that, despite his engineering expertise, it wasn’t safe to mix water and electricity in the longer term, so he used it to demonstrate to a sceptical girlfriend that it was worth investing in the proper thing.
He’s not alone in doing this. My home has some old wall-mounted shelves that I recycled into freestanding ones with a bit of doweling rod to avoid costly conversations with the landlord.
Likewise, the recent Conversation on unusual uses for home appliances had feedback from those who like to not just use their appliances in an unusual manner, but built their own from parts. Take Chris, who got creative with coat hangers:
‘I have a pair which support 4 horizontal bamboo poles. They hang below pulleys on cord strategically knotted. In my conservatory the device dries washing when the weather outside is not suitable. Total cost under a fiver for poles, pulleys and cord.’
In the office, our researcher Victoria Pearson saves the water from the condenser dryer collection tray to use as deionised water in her iron.
Picture perfect adaptions
They’re not the only ones modifying or making best use of objects in the house. Sites such as Lifehacker and Makeprojects are dedicated to things people build, while Pinterest has examples of tips for hacking your home with items that cost pennies but can benefit your life.
Of course, the key thing with any of these hacks is safety – it’s not worth saving a few pennies only to set fire to your kitchen. But there are some great, simple, safe ways to save money by reusing other objects around the house.
One of our favourites is using fizzy drink ring pulls to hang pictures. The first question was “how?”, the second “why?”, so perhaps I best let the creator do the talking at Makeprojects.
How about you, have you been a Dr Frankenstein in the house and created something new from an assembly of appliances, or do you have tips for things that cost pennies but can save time and stress?