Handymen say these 35 clever things save you so much money & time around the house

Plus, they’re completely DIY-friendly.

ByChristina Wood
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Sometimes, it feels like every weekend (and every dollar) goes into keeping the house and garden from falling into disrepair. That doesn’t have to be the case, though — these hacks, tricks, and shortcuts help you get that work done with less effort and expense. With a few insider tips, you can forgo the handyman, plumber, and expensive repairs and either prevent the problem from happening or DIY the solution yourself.


This set of wrenches for quick fixes (instead of calling a plumber)

"For handy homeowners, tackling small plumbing tasks like replacing a leaky faucet washer or a clogged showerhead can save a bundle compared to calling a plumber,” says Josh Mitchell, HVAC and plumbing technician and writer at airconditionerlab.com. Keep a few essential tools on hand — such as this adjustable wrench set — so you can tighten a pipe or change out a showerhead. This four-piece set, in four sizes, set will handle most of these tasks.


A pack of durable, moisture-resistant air filters for easy changes

"The same goes for simple HVAC tasks like changing air filters or cleaning clogged condensate drains,” says Mitchell. “Just be sure to research the job beforehand and avoid anything that might cause bigger issues." Changing the filters regularly is an essential (and simple) chore. So keep a replacement set of this air filter on hand so you always have one ready to change the filters regularly. This pack is also cleverly designed to resist moisture and heat, so they’ll be a super durable swap.


A super simple-to-use drain tool to keep the plumber away

A drain tool that can reach in and break up or pull out clogs caused by hair and other debris that washed down the drain is worth its weight in cash and can save you from the significant hassle of calling a plumber. Just feed it into the drain, and the spikes will grab whatever is causing the plug.


An extender pole for hard-to-reach chores (like gutters & light bulbs)

"Regularly cleaning your gutters, inspecting hoses for cracks, and checking for drips under sinks and around air conditioning units can prevent small problems from turning into costly repairs,” says Mitchell. Keep this extension pole on hand so you can reach high places. It telescopes to 24 feet, so you can attach a brush to it and reach the gutters from the ground. Or you can attach it to a bulb changer, duster, or paintbrush to it.


A hack for keeping gutters clean that’s shockingly easy to put up

"Investing in gutter guards can significantly reduce the time spent cleaning clogged gutters,” says Mitchell. This two-pack of gutter guard rolls out easily, can be cut with scissors, and is made from plastic that won’t slice up your hands or rot while it’s up there. Once installed, its clever mesh design does a great job of keeping debris out of your gutters.


A sleek smart thermostat designed for an easy DIY install

"These programmable thermostats learn your routine and adjust the temperature automatically, saving you energy and money on your heating and cooling bills,” says Mitchell. This Amazon smart thermostat, for example, lets you set schedules using your phone or Alexa device, tell Alexa to warm or cool the room, and turn the system to “away” with a simple voice command on your way out the door. It also has a sleek design, and the brand says it’s specifically made for DIYers to pop on the wall.


This ultra-organized laundry hamper to do multiple loads at once

"Washing and drying multiple loads at once can free up time on laundry day,” says Mitchell. That’s easier to manage if you have a laundry sorter that lets you toss dirty clothing in ready-to-wash, presorted bins. With wheels for carting the linens to the laundry room and four sections, this device will bring efficiency to laundry day.


This smart power strip that shuts itself off to save power

"Plug electronics into power strips and turn them off completely when not in use to save on standby power consumption,” suggests Mitchell. Use this smart power strip to automate this. Connect it to your Amazon Alexa or Google Home and set up a schedule or issue a voice command to turn off (and save) the power. Don’t worry — the two USB ports always stay on for charging your gear.


A smart plug to get lamps & appliances on a power-saving schedule

If you have only one appliance (rather than an entire workstation), this smart plug makes it easy to shut it off automatically on a schedule or when you tell your smart home system you are leaving the house. Plug a fan, lamp, or other appliance into it, connect it to your smart home (or phone app) and set up schedules or routines to automate power-saving routines.


A game-changing caulk tool to fix up leaky places around the house

"Leaky faucets and tubs can waste a lot of water,” says Mitchell. “Regularly checking and re-caulking around these areas can prevent leaks before they start." This game-changing caulk tool will make this chore much easier. It has three tools on one handle. The blade removes old caulk. The rubber triangle applies new caulk. And the scraper cleans up the excess for perfectly clean caulk lines without a professional.


This super easy-to-use caulk tape for fast repairs

This caulk tape is also an easy way to fix leaky areas and prevent water damage. All you need is a pair of scissors to cut it to size. It’s also already adhesive, so you only have to peel and stick it around the bath, sink, windows, or other areas that are allowing water through, and it will put a stop to that.


These LED bulbs that save power & feel super cozy

"Switching to LED bulbs not only uses less energy but also lasts a lot longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, saving you money in the long run,” says Mitchell. So stock up on this six-pack of LED dimmable light bulbs so you can replace any bulbs that burn out. You can choose from 14 brightness and color options to create exactly the mood you prefer. Plus, they’re made to work with most dimmers, so they can be ultra cozy.


These stick-on LED lights you can add anywhere

These battery-powered LED lights are a terrific option for adding light to dim areas where there is no wiring installed. Peel and stick them to the underside of shelving, cabinets, or closet shelves. Then, use the remote to adjust the brightness and set the auto-off timer. You can turn them on by tapping the lens or using the remote.


This aluminum tape that quickly seals air leaks on appliances

"Feeling a draft doesn't automatically mean replacing windows or doors,” says Mitchell. “Check for air leaks around electrical outlets, pipes, vents, and around your air conditioning unit, and seal them up." Grab this easy-to-use foil tape for exactly that job. The strong adhesive will hold it tight and the waterproof aluminum foil design works well when you are sealing duct work, HVAC units, dryer vents, and more.


A sleek toilet plunger that hides in plain sight

"A good old-fashioned plunger can often clear the most basic clogs in sinks, toilets, and bathtubs," says Mitchell. Keep this decorative toilet plunger hidden in plain sight in your bathroom so that anyone who clogs the toilet can easily clear it, and your life will be easier. The business end hides inside the stand, so you never have to see it. It comes in black and white.


This budget-friendly container of baking soda that clears drains

"Baking soda and vinegar. This classic combo can sometimes clear up slow drains caused by soap scum or minor grease buildup,” says Mitchell. “Pour baking soda down the drain, followed by hot vinegar. The mixture will fizz and can help break down the clog." This ultra-effective baking soda find is super budget-friendly, so you can keep this big container of the main ingredient on hand. It also has a clever screw-top lid to keep it fresh in between drain cleanings, and it’s formulated to deodorize and work as a cleaner.


This portable fire pit for easy al fresco dining

"Cooking outdoors on the grill can help keep your kitchen cooler and reduce your air conditioning usage,” according to Mitchell. So grab this portable camping fire pit and have dinner at the beach, park, or in the backyard. It folds up for easy storage and transportation and comes with a travel case, so you can even tuck into your backpack or toss it into the trunk.


A remote control to turn the ceiling fan on & off with zero effort

"Don't just crank the AC down to arctic levels! Adjust the thermostat to a comfortable but energy-efficient setting,” says Mitchell. “Consider using ceiling fans to circulate cool air and make the room feel cooler." To make this process super easy, grab this ceiling fan remote control kit to make it easy to do (and you will be more likely to do it). This kit even lets you set an auto-off timer of your chosen duration, so turning on and off the fan is really an effort-free process.


These anti-pollen & mold spore filters to keep the HVAC system humming

"A clogged air filter forces your HVAC system to work harder, reducing efficiency and increasing your energy bills,” says Mitchell. “Replace your air filters according to the manufacturer's recommendations, typically every 1-3 months. You can find this information on the air filter itself or in your air conditioner's owner's manual." Once you find the right size, stock up on these filters to make this chore easy to execute. They come in five sizes, and they’re even designed to help out with things like dust mites debris, pollen, mold spores, pet dander, lint floating around, and more.


A handy shower timer to remember to shorten your shower

"Take shorter showers, fix leaky hoses, and water your lawn and gardens only in the early morning or evening to minimize evaporation,” suggests Mitchell. If long showers are a problem in your home, stick this sleek little shower timer to the wall. It will remind you to get out of the water so you don’t get lost in thought while expensive hot water runs down the drain. It’s also a clock to keep up with how long you’re in there.


These quick-to-use connectors to disconnect leaky hoses

Make it easy to disconnect a leaky hose, store hoses for the winter, and reconnect them again by putting these quick connect links on your hose so you can remove and store hoses easily to prevent expensive water leaks. Sold in a set of two, they make it easy to pop the hose off and snap it back on.


This ultra-easy spray to check for leaks around the place

"Regularly check your home for small issues like leaks, cracks, and wear and tear,” suggests Andriy Boyko, founder of A.O. Handy Inc. “Catching these early can save you from expensive repairs down the line." This leak detector spray makes it easy to find leaks in your supply lines, HVAC system, or anywhere that might have small, nearly imperceptible leaks. Spray it on, and this super clever formula is designed to bubble wherever there are leaks of any kind.


A trowel for shockingly easy DIY drywall repairs

"You don’t need to be a pro to handle simple fixes,” says Boyko. “Learning how to patch drywall, fix a leaky faucet, or replace a tile can save you a lot of money. There are plenty of online tutorials to help you get started." Keep a few tools on hand and you will save a tiny fortune while completing these repairs, like this drywall trowel to tackle drywall DIY. This easy-to-use trowel is a must-have tool for repairing dings in the walls with a bit of plaster. It even has a handle on top to make it easy to use and to create precise repairs.


This big bag of fast flowers to quickly fill in bare spots outside

"Native plants and easy-care landscaping can reduce the time you spend on yard work,” says Boyko. If you have a bare spot, toss handfuls of these top-selling wildflower seeds there to fill it in and create a beautiful meadow of flowers. The result will be easy to care for, and most importantly — these super impressive seeds will also attract bees and butterflies.


These smart LED bulbs to fully customize your energy-saving lighting

"LED bulbs use less energy and last longer than traditional bulbs, saving you money in the long run,” says Boyko. And this pack of LED light bulbs is also smart. Connect them to an app on your phone, and you can change the color and brightness, set up schedules to save energy, keep your home comfy, and create moods. They connect to Amazon Alexa or Google Home, too, so you can control the lighting with your voice.


A light switch with a built-in night-light to avoid turning on lights

Replace the plates for your light switches with these SwitchLight versions to add convenient lighting so you don’t have to turn the lights on as often. They act as a night light or as low light to help you find the light switch in the dark, and they come in three colors.


A showerhead that boosts water pressure for speedy showers

"Low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets can help reduce your water bills,” says Boyko. This pressure-boosting showerhead will likely improve your water pressure to reduce water usage like Boyko recommends. It’s self-cleaning, too, so it won’t clog up and spray in all directions. In other words: it saves you water, and it can save you some serious time on shower cleaning day.


This easy-to-use tape trick for insulating windows

"Adding insulating window film can provide an extra layer of protection against drafts,” says Boyko. This window insulation kit is a super easy way to stop a drafty window from eating your power budget. Stick it to the window, shrink it with your hair dryer, and this clever tape will instantly create a layer of insulation that keeps your heat and AC indoors.


These budget-friendly & game-changing snakes that clear clogged drains

"A drain snake or auger can reach deeper blockages and clear them out,” says Boyko. This three-pack of drain snakes will reach into a clogged drain, grab hair and other blockages on its barbed plastic, and pull it out easily. At a super budget-friendly price, this clever and easy-to-use pack is also much cheaper than calling a plumber.


A good pair of garden gloves to make regular yard cleanups a breeze

"One essential tip for homeowners looking to save money on maintenance is implementing seasonal clean-ups,” says Joe Gerrior, owner of Gerrior Masonry & Landscape Construction Corp. “Regular spring and fall clean-ups not only keep your property looking great but also prevent costly issues down the line, such as clogged gutters or damaged plants. By breaking down the workload into manageable chunks, you can maintain your landscape more efficiently and avoid the trap of underestimating the amount of work, which often leads to higher costs when hiring emergency services later."

Keep these budget-friendly bamboo gardening gloves on hand so you can easily pull them on and protect your hands from sharp, stinging, or abrasive weeds, bugs, and soil during your regular yard cleaning days. They are stretchy and comfortable but also have rubberized palms and fingers to add some extra protection.


This UV-blocking shade sail as a clever way to add shade

"In the summertime, save on cooling costs by ensuring your patio has proper shading,” suggests Gerrior. “Options like pergolas, awnings, or strategically planted trees can provide shade and reduce the need for air conditioning." This UV-blocking shade sail is a minimalist choice for creating targeted shade in places where awnings and trees are not an option. Anchor it at four corners, and it shades whatever is beneath it without any worries of it drooping. It comes in 12 colors and two shapes.


These cooling curtains for a comfier outdoor space

"Additionally, using light-colored materials for patio surfaces can reflect rather than absorb heat, keeping the area cooler and more comfortable," says Gerrior. Hang this light fabric patio curtain on a porch or patio to create both shade and privacy. Choose a cooling cream, white, or silver to keep that space comfortable. Or go bright — in red, green, or blue — for a punch of outdoor style. They come in 13 colors.


A caulk gun for super fast repairs of drafty spots

"Another low-cost measure is caulking gaps around windows and adding heavy curtains to improve insulation,” says Gerrior. Keep this caulking gun in your toolkit to make this easy to do. Load the caulk into it and squeeze the trigger to deliver the caulk where you want it. It’s also super compact, so you can easily store it and keep it around for the next draft you find. Plus, he says, “These small changes can significantly reduce drafts and save on heating costs without breaking the bank.”


This foldable drying rack to cut down on energy bills & save space

“Air-dry clothes whenever possible,” suggests Lance Sinclair, President of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning, and Mister Sparky. Your clothes will thank you if you air dry them on this clever over-the-door folding drying rack. Simply lay sweaters and other delicates flat on the mesh surface, and they will dry evenly and quickly without taking up all of your floor space while they dry.

"Electric clothes dryers have a lot to do, when you think about it,” he says. “They generate heat, blow air, and tumble a heavy drum, sometimes for hours per day. This makes them one of the bigger energy consumers in homes that have them.”


A set of versatile shower curtain clothespins to cut down on dryer use

These cleverly oversized clothespins will help you hang clothes from a line, either strung across your shower or out in the yard. Not only will this save you a small fortune by not running the dryer, but the hooks on top are the perfect shape to hang over a bunch of different things — including the shower curtain. When you do use the dryer, says Sinclair. "Clean the lint trap after every load.”