Please keep in mind that this post is more than 3 years old. Opinions change. Tastes change. Everything changes. I may still agree with or like this, or I may not. But everything is kept up here for archival purposes.
Random advice from a fairly newbie homeowner / May 2, 2014
Most valuable, simple things I’ve learned:
Almost every utility faucet, (as opposed to the ‘pretty’ faucets in baths and kitchens), has a nut right underneath the handle/shutoff. If (when) the faucet starts to drip or leak, first try tightening that nut. So far, it has solved the problem every time.
Plant bulbs. They typically have large, dramatic flowers, so the neighbors are impressed. But they’re ridiculously easy to take care of. Plant them at the right time, pointing in the right direction. Make sure the soil isn’t complete crap. And barring a drought… you’ll have an awesome garden.
Similarly… Pansies are awesome. I planted them in the fall just so I wouldn’t have a big empty garden bed until spring. Not only did they survive winter, but they’re growing like crazy now that spring is here. A flower for all seasons.
Youtube is invaluable. Every single thing you can imagine wanting to do to, in, or around your house… at least 20 people have done, recorded, and uploaded to youtube, with running commentary on how best they think to do it. And a lot of these people are professionals, sharing videos as a means of promoting themselves. Just be sure to watch several videos on each topic, to see which advice is consistently considered ‘good’.
Trust no one who comes to your door to sell you something. No one.
Most commonly used tools? A painter’s tool. A utility knife. A hand drill/driver. A small hand-garden-trowel. And a big-ass wrench. There’s plenty of other tools that have come in handy. But I keep going back to these.
Live near Home Depot.