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Tips For DIY Shopping At A Hardware Store

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Paint since 1978

Paint since 1978 (Photo credit: dogwelder)

We can’t have everything we need at hand in our houses for every repair job, so the natural choice is the hardware store or home center. What is the first step:

1) Go to a store that will actually help you with your selection so you get the right product the first time to save you gas and frustration. Albert Einstein said, “Every man is ignorant, only on different subjects”. Someone who has just lost her husband may not know how to fix a faucet or refinish a cabinet, so help is essential because package directions aren’t always adequate or easy to read.

2) If you are painting a room or whatever, bring a sample of the paint you want so they can match it on the machine. Get a paint chip from a place in the room that doesn’t show unless you have a paint can with the color you want. You can also bring a sample by taking a magazine with you to show the salesperson what you want. But make sure the sample is large enough to put on the machine to match it. Remember also, that the amount of light or lack of it will have an affect on how the color looks in your environment.

3) If staining is what you are doing, then bring a sample of what you want or a picture of the color stain you want. Usually, a store will have stain samples but if in doubt, take the sample home with you first.

4) Plumbing and hardware also need some kind of sample, especially if you are dealing with an older home because codes and what people do instead of the right thing to fix something vary greatly. Looks can be deceiving when you are dealing with threads like metric and standard and their variations. Copper tubing and flare fittings can be deceiving as well when you are just looking at them unless you are used to using these types of products.

5) Housewares can be difficult in some areas such as pressure cooker gaskets, coffee carafes etc. When dealing with these two items a model number is essential as well as the brand. When in doubt, bring as much information as you can.

6) Electrical is one area that needs a lot of assistance because there seems to be a sort of mystique about it, but if you follow the rules of electricity you will be successful with a little help perhaps.

When you own a home, it is hard to remember when you put in certain details of your home: when you painted, put in a new water heater or windows etc. But if you keep a notebook or card file of when you do these things, you will know exactly when you did these items, and when you sell your home you can just hand the new owners your notes about what was done during your occupancy of the house.

You don’t need to be afraid of fixing things around your home, but keep your mind open to learning as much as you can. You can do it but you need to have patience with yourself. Keep watching others do fixing of whatever they are working on and ask questions when you don’t understand. Then when you need to do something you can have that information already in your mind. Maybe take notes after you have observed the person fixing the item and you will remember better when the time comes. Don’t be hard on yourself when you fail the first time, just strive to do better the next time, and you will.

Think before you start for the hardware store or home center so you have the necessary parts or information you need to show the salesperson. With the price of gas nowadays, this will save you a lot of money. Bring a picture with you of what you are doing and that will also speed up the process. Good luck with all your fixing and remember to learn as much as you can and be patient with yourself.

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