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Super Handyman: Cutting handles in boxes for easier carrying

I have to admit that I am not a minimalist. In fact, I have boxes of things stored in every closet in the house, garage and attic. The cardboard boxes far outnumber the plastic bins, probably because they are cheap and much easier to come by. The one thing I do to each one before loading it up is cut some handles into the sides to make it easier to pick up and haul around. The best way is to cut a wide “V” shape with the point facing down. When you push the flap in, it creates a super little handle on each side. It sure makes picking them up a lot easier.

Dear Ms. Carrell: We had the whole family over last weekend and were all out walking around the backyard. Since it had just rained, it was a little wet. I grabbed some old bread bags and had the kids put these on their feet before putting on their shoes. This kept their feet dry even if their boots leaked. They had a blast and brought back tons of pine cones to scent for Christmas. – N.F.

Super hint

A laundry room is a luxury. You probably keep the door closed when the washer and dryer are working. But this means that moisture can build up in the room. This is the perfect place for an exhaust fan, and you will greatly benefit from it, too.

Dear Kelly: I had to paint the old dresser in our bedroom after replacing the bed. As I was taking the drawers out into the garage to paint them, my husband grabbed a pencil and numbered each one and then numbered each hole in the dresser to match them back up after painting. The numbers were put on the back so they wouldn’t show. This made sure each fit perfectly when we put it all back together. – S.G.

Q: I love my couch, but it needs to be cleaned. How do I know if I can do it myself, or if I have to have it cleaned? I see a code on it, but I don’t know what it means. Can you help? – J.H.

A: A “W” means the fabric can be cleaned with water-based detergents; an “S” means you’ll need to use solvents; and an “X” means that you will need to clean it just by vacuuming it. It would be smart to test any cleaning solution on the bottom, back or some other place on the couch that won’t show in case it doesn’t work correctly. You also could have it professionally cleaned. This often is less expensive than you think, and you usually will get pretty good results.

Dear Super HandyMom: I wanted to paint my beige refrigerator. We moved it to the game room, and I wanted it to look better. We ended up painting it with some chalkboard paint. The kids love to write stuff on it, and we have had a blast taking turns decorating it when we want to change it. The chalkboard paint worked great, and it was easy to do, too. – R.T.


Repairing torn screens is a great project for the winter months. The repairs usually can be done indoors, and when completed, will be ready for that fresh air come spring. Screen Repair Sheets make it super easy to do, too. These peel-and-stick patches last a good long time and won’t fall off under normal circumstances. Check for them at your hardware store or home center. For additional info, go to

Got a question or a handy tip? Send it to The Super Handyman at our website at Those of general interest will be used in future columns.