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The Tinkerer

Have you been a lockdown tinkerer?

Time 25 days ago Comments 0 comments

‘Which Make Yourself at Home-r’ are you? is a six-part series focusing on some of the types of people that have emerged during the lockdown period, either though need, habit or hobby.

This week, we introduce The Tinkerer. We all know someone who has a shed/garage/kitchen drawer full of 'very useful things'. Should the need arise, they’re straight on the scene of any household job, with their thingamajigs and whatzits galore.

To help us know what to DIY and what definitely not to DIY, we asked two of our resident property experts, Tony Redmond and Richard Priestley to help.

‘Summer is a great time for getting things done,’ Richard starts. "Take the opportunity to decorate a room that hasn’t been refreshed for years and you’ll immediately feel the benefits. Top tip – wrap your brushes in cling film to stop them drying out if you’re going to be using them again later."

Tony adds that this is also the time to tick off your outside jobs: "Paint fence panels, decking and any garden furniture. And it’s always a good idea to clear out your gutters – especially if there are any large trees around. Stay safe on ladders though and do your 3 Checks for Safety!"

For a household hack you can definitely try yourself at home, we turn to the glamorous task of unblocking the toilet! Tony’s top tip is: "Simply squirt a generous amount of washing up liquid into the toilet (brand of your own choosing) and then pour in a bowl full of hot water. Leave for a few minutes and hey presto – an unblocked, clean toilet!"

Not everything is suitable for the Tinkerer, though, so it’s safe to know your limits. "For plumbing and electrical tasks, you should always use a qualified professional," Richard advises. "And follow Covid-related guidance to make sure it’s safe for both you and them. Give them space and sanitise the area they’ll be working in."

We also asked Richard and Tony about the jobs people can easily do themselves but might not even know about.

"Cleaning out your washing machine filter," says Tony: “It’s amazing what small items you’ll be reunited with!" When all the wastewater gets pumped out, the filter catches all the coins, earrings, and other small bits that typically get left in pockets. If the filter gets full, the washer won’t drain properly and gets smelly. Most washing machines have a service panel low down at the front – simply open the hatch and get rid of all the gunk. Have an old towel handy in case some water comes out too. Extra points for any pound coins found!"

It’s not all about boring old jobs, though. Tinkering can be as fun and creative as you can make it. "A few pieces of gutter or pipes can make a great marble run for the kids," says Tony, "and you can re-purpose it the following weekend for splat the rat!"

So there you have it – whether it’s making garden games for the kids, or finding a lost fortune in the washing machine, there’s plenty of tinkering time in 2020!

Next week it’s the turn of 'The Titchmarsh'. Whether you’re the proud owner of a window-sill veggie box, or a vast expanse of begonias – we’ve got your green fingers covered. Or maybe you’re still just trying to keep that cactus at the top of the stairs alive…


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