Questions in the Home & Garden category.
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November 24

A cheap, non-smart wireless switch (for a light)?

I have a dining room light with a (normal) light switch in the adjoining living room. I would like to be able to control the dining room light while in the dining room, but the electrician told me that rewiring to put in a regular switch in the dining room would be expensive. [more inside]
posted by splitpeasoup at 12:37 PM - 5 answers

Help Me Identify This Tool, Episode Eleventy Million

We recently moved to a new-to-us house. Yesterday we set about cleaning out the garage's attic. There wasn't much up there but a few sleeping bags, some gun cleaning equipment and three identical of these things. They're made of iron and fit in your hand (5" folded, just under 6" extended.) It only unfolds as far as it's shown in the picture, so not quite to 90 degrees. The conical section is threaded, but the threads aren't deep so it doesn't look like anything self-tapping. Any ideas?
posted by workerant at 10:58 AM - 1 answers

How do I re-carpet with confidence?

New carpet is needed but I have all these issues. HALP [more inside]
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 5:51 AM - 9 answers

November 22

What is this hole in my wall and how do I fix it?

My apartment is an old warehouse that had walls constructed to divide it into units. I have two holes in the walls that look like this. [more inside]
posted by Borborygmus at 5:39 PM - 12 answers

How can I hire a locksmith in Brooklyn to open this foot locker?

I inherited a 1960s steel Army footlocker from a relative, but no one has a key. What is the best way to hire a locksmith in the Brooklyn area who could help? [more inside]
posted by deern the headlice at 9:17 AM - 23 answers

November 21

Help me light my loo

I'm looking for a nightlight solution for our bathroom. It just needs to be barely bright enough to illuminate the way, so we can navigate a nocturnal path to it. [more inside]
posted by Pig Tail Orchestra at 8:54 PM - 21 answers

Holey crochet blanket, Batman!

How warm/useful is this chunky v-stitch afghan likely to be? [more inside]
posted by moira at 2:16 PM - 15 answers

How can I get the boiler in my new flat to start up?

I just bought a new flat and I can't get the combi boiler (hot water / central heating) to start up. It turns on, and although it is old I have no reason to believe it shouldn't work. I don't want to look like an idiot calling out a plumber for something stupid I don't understand. Details and photos inside. [more inside]
posted by cincinnatus c at 1:56 PM - 9 answers

Smart meters- yes or no? [UK]

I got a text from my electricity company today, with a date for my smart meter installation, which I haven't requested. Should I just go ahead with the installation or cancel? [more inside]
posted by threetwentytwo at 8:18 AM - 13 answers

November 20

What kind of houseplant is this?

Small, delicate indoor plant with trifolate leaves, each leaf has 1-2 ridges along each side. Grows upright, and leaves are medium green, thin and glossy, no woody stems. Here's a picture. [more inside]
posted by Orca at 2:23 PM - 2 answers

Seeking replacement plastic lampshades; is 3D printing an option?

I have several of these floor lamps. The lamps work well for my space, so I don't want to replace them, but the bulbs' plastic shades are brittle and keep breaking. [more inside]
posted by GrammarMoses at 11:45 AM - 9 answers

November 19

I just need to vent

All the windows in my apartment can only be opened a little bit at the top (like this). How do I vent the kitchen when cooking? [more inside]
posted by airmail at 7:24 PM - 11 answers

Garage door opener mystery

A neighbor's garage door remote is opening my garage door. I have tried SO MANY things to fix it. Please help! [more inside]
posted by insoluble uncertainty at 5:29 PM - 9 answers

Name that thing: 1920s house edition.

This thing must have been for a phone at one point. What I don't understand is the space below. It looks like some kind of speaker grille but I can't figure out what it would have been for. There's a big hollow space behind the grille but there's no obvious way to open it. Maybe the previous owners screwed the shelf on in such a way that prevents it from being opened? If I were to access that space, can anyone think of something useful / interesting that could be done with it? Thanks!
posted by sewellcm at 11:13 AM - 11 answers

November 15

How to dispose of broken laundry basket?

We have a laundry basket that looks a lot like this that has a crack across one of the handles. We'd like to get rid of it. Is it recyclable? Would Goodwill take it? Or should we toss it into the trash? Or some other option? (This is in Seattle.)
posted by mpark at 10:56 AM - 14 answers

Cheap and Easy Way to Make Our Bathroom Much Brighter?

We moved to a new house (yay!) and our toddler is terrified of the bathtub (boo!). Bathtime used to be her favorite and now she won't even get in the tub by herself. I think part of the problem is that the old room was very bright and the new one is much darker (I can see how it would look scary to a little monster). How can I fix this? [more inside]
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:44 AM - 43 answers

How to move when you don't know when you're moving

We will be moving in the next few months. Neither of us plan ahead well. Please help me understand what we need to do and when. [more inside]
posted by crunchy potato at 6:31 AM - 27 answers

November 14

What's the story behind this once-ubiquitous gold elephant figurine?

Growing up in the early 80s, my hippie parents and all their hippie friends had this gold-plated elephant with red rhinestone eyes on their mantels next to the incense burners (not always literally, just setting the scene). They were small and slightly heavy for the size. Is there a story behind them? Were they supposed to be good luck or have some other symbolism? Do we know why or how the hippie home decor market got flooded with them? I have weirdly fond memories of them and I'm curious.
posted by rhiannonstone at 11:08 PM - 4 answers

Plastic sheeting to block VOCs from Kills2 primer? Chemists? Anyone?

In case the layer of Killz2 primer I put on the plywood subfloor is the thing causing my headaches/nausea, is there a _type_ of plastic sheet or other barrier that will seal it well? [more inside]
posted by amtho at 2:02 PM - 4 answers

November 13

Hardwired fire alarms are so sensitive we can't make dinner. Help!

I'm living in a brand-new house with brand-new hardwired fire alarms (this model, I think). The one in the living room - a good 20 feet from the kitchen - goes off almost every single time we cook. [more inside]
posted by Tomorrowful at 4:36 PM - 14 answers

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