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The Super Handyman: New life for an old trash can

I walked into my neighbor’s garage the other day and noticed that all of her rakes and shovels were inside the trash can. I asked her if she was throwing them away.

She told me that the old trash can had become a good place to store them and, although it would tip over now and then, it had worked out really well. I told her how to make it even more functional by putting some bricks or rocks in the bottom for extra weight to keep it from tipping over.

Then I found the lid and showed her that she could drill holes into the lid so that the tools would slip into the holes and be evenly spaced out, so they would not catch on each other as she pulled them out. It was already on wheels, or I would have suggested that, as well.


Q: I have an old table that was my grandmother’s. It has scratches and water stains all over it, but I want to try to save it.

What is the quickest way to make it look better on a tight budget? – C.Y.

A: Mix up some olive oil and some vinegar (50 percent mix) and rub it over the surface. This will even out the finish and help conceal the scratches. You can wax it to add a layer of protection if you like the way it looks.

Tips from readers

Here’s a great tip for your column. I was gluing the sides of an old flower pot back together and needed to clamp it with something.

I got out a bunch of cable ties and strung them together to reach around the pot in both directions to hold it together tightly until it was set up. After it was finished setting up, I cut off the bands. – J.C.


I’m finished painting my kitchen cabinets, and I have a little trick to share. I removed the doors and laid them out over the dropcloth. I was planning to use my sprayer for a smooth finish, but I didn’t want them to stick to the tarp. I set each cabinet door on top of small thumbtacks. This allowed me to get a good coat of paint on the surface and even around the sides a little bit. It came out great. – B.H.


I learned something new this week. I had to replace my dryer, so I went shopping. I kept seeing the dryer that I wanted to use, which matched my washer, but the door opened on the wrong side. I finally asked a salesman about it, and he showed me that the doors are made to easily switch to the other side in just a few minutes. I felt a little silly, but I was glad I wasn’t going to have to special-order a dryer! It turns out that most dryers do this – and that refrigerators do, too. – B.N.

A super hint

I get a lot of plastic bags when I shop. My store recycles them, so I bring them back in every time I shop. But I like to keep some for things around the house. They make great disposable trash bags and disposable gloves for painting or other messy projects.

Have a question or a handy tip? Visit Those of general interest will be used in future columns.