Home Repair Tips and Tricks

For the family handyman, home repair tips mean more than just "how-to". The family handyman must also concern himself with his/her family.

We hear a lot about work-life balance, and I believe this extends to handyman repair work around the house. Home repair or improvements are important, but so is your family and there are so many hours in a day. This leads to stressful situations in the home.

Fear not, the family handyman advantage is that he/she can involve the family in the job thereby saving time and reducing stress. The home repair tips below show you to do just that.


Any home owner knows that the work is never done. There is always something to repair around the house. This could range from a leaky roof, to a scratched floor board, to a shorted light fixture. Before you dive in and just start working, take a moment to prioritize your work - it could save you time and money in the future.

Home repair jobs can be prioritized several ways. The two primary motivators I use to determine when a job gets done are: 1) Will the repair required prevent further damage to my home? 2) How often my wife asks for a specific repair job to be done.

We use a method of prioritization at work called MoSCoW:

  • Must be done
  • Should be done
  • Could be done
  • Would be nice to do.

There's nothing special about this method, it's just an easy one to remember and eases communication with your better half.

I call a leaky roof a "Must". If you don't fix a leaky roof, rot and mildew can soon set in and create a lot of problems in your home. A squeaky floor, I would consult with my wife and try to sway her to categorize it as a "Would be nice".

"Would be nice" jobs are really good, because you have the opportunity to over-deliver by fixing it quickly without telling your better half. It's a nice surprise, which your spouse will really appreciate...

As home repair tips go, prioritization is probably the most important preventative maintenance tip.

Obviously there are other motivators besides spousal needs and damage prevention; like time, mood, and finances.

Generally speaking, you just need to find a prioritization method that works for you and use it. Involving your spouse in the decision helps reduce stress, manage expectations, and creates a sense of teamwork.

Time Considerations

The second of my home repair tips involves scheduling the work and allotting an appropriate amount of time to complete it.

Scheduling a job is fairly simple. Estimating how long a job can be tricky. However, the more handyman work you do, the better you get at estimating time to complete - experience counts for a lot.

If you're not sure how long a job will take ask a friend, family member, or the staff of your local hardware store. Don't be afraid to add in "rookie" time to the estimate. At least your expectations are properly managed, as well as your spouse's.

Communication of that time to the appropriate family members is also important. For instance, my wife is all about planning her day, week, or weekend, so I've learned to check with her to ensure she doesn't have plans that involve me before I jump into a home repair job. By simply communicating, I allow her to plan around my day or let me know if there is something important she wants me to be involved with - makes the rest of the day go much more smoothly.

In my experience, proper communication of my plan is the greatest stress reducer for handyman home repair work.

Handyman Preparation

Once you've scheduled your job, another one of the great home repair tips I suggest is preparing for the job. Pre-preparation forces you to plan properly, identifies resources required, and saves you time on the home repair day.

Generally, the night before tackling a home repair job:

  • I gather required tools and equipment to the work site (assuming it is secure).
  • I prepare the work area by setting up staging, ladders, garbage bags, or drop cloths, etc.
  • I lay out any building materials I'll be using.

This stage is an excellent time to engage your kids. It gives you an opportunity to talk to your kids about the work, how you're going to tackle it, and how they might be able to help. More hands makes lighter work and home repair jobs are a great way to teach work ethic...and patience.

Obviously, always consider child safety first. You don't want your kids running around with sharp tools!

Speaking of which, safety is an important aspect of handyman work, and should be considered previous to starting any project. Preparation of harnesses, roof staging, protective eye wear, gloves and such are crucial to preventing serious injury.

These three simple home repair tips for the family handyman allow you to spend quality time with your family, help reduce stress and time to complete the job.

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