Questions in the Home & Garden category.
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June 9

Garbage in!

I'd like to make a voice-activated garbage can for my kitchen, whose top would open on hearing a certain word. I really don't want a phone-mediated device, only an actuator which would function on voice cue. Is there such a thing? [more inside]
posted by bullatony at 5:17 AM - 5 answers

June 8

Looking for a very specific type of floor-sitting desk

I want to try using a low desk that I can use while sitting on the floor, and I want one that has a bit of storage inside. I'm having trouble finding anything close to my mental image online -- can you help? [more inside]
posted by mekily at 12:47 PM - 5 answers

Why is the trash under the sink?

When I'm in a home that I haven't been to before, and I'm looking for the trash can, I check the cupboard under the sink first. ~80% of the time, it's there. Why is this? [more inside]
posted by wesleyac at 12:12 PM - 14 answers

How to plug the Marinara Trench?

I just got a new (induction, completely flat) range. There's a small gap to the left and right between the range and the counter which crumbs and such can fall into. There appear to be ready-made products ("range gap fillers") to solve this very problem, except for one conundrum. With the levelers fully retracted, the range top is 36 inches high. My counters are only 35.25" high. All the range gap fillers I can find online seem to assume the counter is level with the range. Does there exist a product that will help me?
posted by dmd at 11:36 AM - 11 answers

June 7

Home buying for self employed folks

Is it possible? Can you help us navigate this tricky situation? [more inside]
posted by sucre at 3:33 PM - 6 answers

How to Evict Pigeons

There are numerous pigeons roosting in the alley on the south side of my house (or more specifically on the two windowsills on my neighbours' house, and on the electrical outfittings on mine), and leaving a lot of droppings. I've tried Bird-X gel but it only worked temporarily, despite re-application. I'm thinking the next step is probably anti-roosting devices, which I can't install myself because it'll require scaffolding. Can anyone recommend a Toronto-area company that can install anti-roosting devices? Or are there other options I'm not thinking of?
posted by orange swan at 3:18 PM - 3 answers

That’s some hot paint: an exterior paint question

I have to pick a paint color for the exterior of our house. It’s a boring 1950s rambler with original wood shingle siding (like this). We lost all of our shade trees due to the ash borer, and I’m wondering if choosing a darker paint color will make our house feel noticeably hotter in the summer. Do any Mefites have experience with paint color affecting interior comfort? [more inside]
posted by Maarika at 8:44 AM - 9 answers

Any advice for ending a lease early in the UK?

My situation has changed, and I need to end my lease early so that I can start another one elsewhere here in London. I started the current lease at the beginning of April 2022 after having lived here for one year already, and would like for my last day of tenancy to be the beginning of September 2022: that's five months of full tenancy, with three months notice. Do you have any experience with doing this, and relevant advice for how to handle it going forward? [more inside]
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 6:51 AM - 6 answers

June 6

Crickets

I live on the fourth floor of an apartment building in an urban area. Why do I hear tons of crickets when I open the window at night? I’m surrounded by buildings, there’s no grass or trees. I’ve never heard them in all the years I’ve lived here. I actually don’t care why. My true concern is.. [more inside]
posted by dianeF at 5:20 PM - 11 answers

June 5

How to feel at home when it isn't "home"

I am struggling with my current living arrangements. I will be changing them when I can, but that won't be for several months, and in the mean time, I need to actually live a somewhat sustainable and fulfilling life. Ideas/advice? [more inside]
posted by Balthamos at 10:13 AM - 30 answers

Long-term window soundproofing

I'm finally settling down into a place I expect to live for a while, and I'd like to soundproof the windows in my bedroom so I can have peaceful sleep once and for all. What is the best method for this that is easy, economical, and will last a while? I'm getting lots of options when I search for the question, but would love recommendations from experience. (No blackout curtains, please - I like waking up with the sun!)
posted by LSK at 7:50 AM - 5 answers

How Did you Defeat Garlic Mustard?

If you’ve managed to control or even beat back an invasion of garlic mustard, what worked for you? This spring my parents had a sudden, extensive growth of garlic mustard in the woodland around their house and they’re worried it'll choke out all the native plants. They’ve attempted to uproot as many of the flowering stalks as possible, but they haven’t gotten all of them and can’t easily pull the patches of low-growing rosettes. They are especially interested in tactics not involving an herbicide, though that could be considered. [more inside]
posted by theory at 4:41 AM - 20 answers

A desk chair and hardwood floors: Rubber wheels, a chair mat, or both?

I'm moving into a new apartment that has hardwood floors (or whatever the latest engineered hardwood-ish flooring is). The floor looks great, so I don't want to damage it with my desk chair, especially since I work from home. I can get rubber wheels for my chair. Is that enough, or should I still get a chair mat too?
posted by 2oh1 at 12:55 AM - 11 answers

June 4

Dehumidifier not drying, compressor is hot.

My GE dehumidifier doesn't take water out of the air, even when the room is humid. The compressor get quite hot, and there's a ring of rust around its base. Did the refrigerant leak? [more inside]
posted by wenestvedt at 11:37 AM - 7 answers

Can cozy minimalism for one can be a thing or..?

I've moved. I'm continuing to unbox and declutter as I go along, but would appreciate some insights and tips from the hive mind about making this apartment feel like home. [more inside]
posted by Nieshka at 5:53 AM - 7 answers

June 2

Mid-century, middle class , NYC apartment living: what did it look like?

My new home is an apartment building built in 1949 as a labor union cooperative. It was designed to be spacious and healthful housing for workers, replacing the tenements and boarding houses that had previously occupied the site. Where can I look at interiors from this period (I'd take 1945-1950) for design inspiration? [more inside]
posted by minervous at 5:45 PM - 5 answers

Homeowners: Things you should do after buying a house?

Anything you did or wish you did after buying a house? Before moving in, or shortly after. [more inside]
posted by shrimpetouffee at 4:43 PM - 26 answers

Winterizing a Home that is Left Empty for the Winter

I inherited property in northern Michigan from my father recently. It is occupied during the warm months but is empty in the winter. Last winter, I kept the thermostat at 40 degrees. I have a propane tank for the furnace and a water pump because we get water from a well. I have to keep the driveway plowed if I want to run the heat all winter because the tank has to filled a couple of times each winter. Keeping the house heated is a big waste of fuel and money. I don't like doing that. My question is: if I make sure the pipes and the water heater are emptied of all water, will it harm anything if I let the house go without heat for the entire winter? Glass top stove? Refrigerator? Water pump? Will the furnace fire back up? Temperatures up there can get well below zero occasionally during the winter. Are there steps I should take that I haven't considered?
posted by zzazazz at 12:36 PM - 14 answers

Selling a flat - UK filter

Hi AskMe. Another question from me about potentially selling my home. What can I do to ensure the smoothest possible sale? I've been doing some brainstorming. [more inside]
posted by unicorn chaser at 11:51 AM - 6 answers

Have you succeeded in getting bats to move into a bat box?

My wife and I love bats for being ridiculously cute, and appreciate them that much more for their central role in maintaining the habitats they inhabit and the ecosystems within. They pollinate, they keep insect populations in check, and they poop seeds that become plants and trees; Without them rainforests, prairies, and every cactus in every desert would die. So when we learned two years ago that bat populations in in our area were in crisis, we decided to try and help by building homes for them. It hasn't worked [more inside]
posted by BadgerDoctor at 8:23 AM - 4 answers

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