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Super Handyman: Storage system? Try pegboard

Pegboard is one of those inventions that I often wonder how we ever lived without before it was created. You can do so many things with it besides just hanging it up on a wall for storage. I was looking for a storage bin for my long-handled garden tools, and I just made one from some scraps of pegboard and some two-by-twos. The pegboard scraps are about 2 feet tall, so they can hold all of the tools without them tipping over, and after adding hooks, the bin’s pegboard sides are the perfect place to store my gloves, safety glasses, smaller hand tools and other garden necessities – and they’re all in one place!

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Q: I have an older home that still has the standard tiles countertops. I would like to know how to refresh the grout, which is stained. How can I get the grout white again, and is there a good way to protect it? – N.G.

A: There is a grout cleaner that is “painted” on, and it works pretty well. Check your hardware store. A mixture of bleach and water also works pretty well. Use a grout saw to remove any stained grout that still remains and replace it with new. Use a grout sealer, also available at your hardware store.

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Q: We put up a ceiling fan on our back porch last summer. I guess that it’s too humid and that the fan blades are starting to warp and sag down on the edges. I know I need to replace them, but is there any way to prevent this from happening again? – H.M.

A: Do a little shopping around and look for “outdoor” blades. They do make them, and most home centers will carry a few to choose from. If the fan housing wasn’t made for outdoors, take a closer look at it and make sure it’s not starting to rust.

Tips from readers

For the second year in a row, we are on tight water restrictions in our city. We are allowed to water our lawns only once a week, so I have found some good ways to collect water to use on the patio plants. I have two 5-gallon buckets that I got at my hardware store. I keep one in each bathroom. We fill these up with the water that comes out of the shower before it gets hot. It runs for several minutes before it gets hot, and can almost fill up a bucket. Then we can take this water to the plants and water them when they need it. I don’t think I’ll ever run out of this supply! – H.T.

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My car key has a “panic” alarm on it. I’ve never used it – on purpose, anyway – but I was almost mugged while putting groceries in my car a week ago. I had the keys in my hand and was putting bags into my trunk when a stranger approached. I immediately pressed the panic button on my key, then the horn honked, the lights flashed, and the guy ran away. When I told my friends about it, nobody had thought about using this alarm. We don’t think about using it when we might need to, but that’s what it was designed for. – J.R.

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We have a huge mirror in our bathroom. It’s plain and I wanted to spruce it up. I found some inexpensive wooden picture frame molding and cut it to fit around the edges to make it look framed. It looks really nice now and added a lot to the look of the room. – B.S.

Shoptalk

Taping off textured surfaces for painting can be especially challenging. FrogTape has a two-part tape system made just for these surfaces and it works great. It uses their patented PaintBlock Technology, which contains a special polymer that reacts with the water in latex paint to instantly set and form a micro-barrier to seal the edges against paint penetration. It works great and saves time, even on highly textured wall surfaces. Check it out at frogtape.com. It’s available at hardware and paint stores, as well as most home centers.