Category Archives: Home Living

Frugal DIY Door Stopper

When we first moved into our rental, a number of our door stops were broken. I was able to replace all but the front door with the standard plastic door catchers you can get at Bunnings. The front entry had an old style door stop that proved to be a problem because it was installed quite close to the door edge, and because I didn’t want to drill new holes (a rental no no) if I installed the new plastic door catcher using the existing holes it would completely miss catching the door!

What to do…

Well after thinking about this for a moment I conjured up a lo-fi crafty and nifty solution, I introduce you to the monkey fist door stop –

 

 

 

Ta da!

All up it took me a couple a couple of hours to make it, but that was because I had never made a monkey fist before, now that I’ve made one, I reckon I can knock one up in a matter of minutes. Normally you would wrap the monkey fist with a small round object, like a golf ball or tennis ball, but I had none of those on hand so I simply crumbled up some junk mail catalogues into a ball and used that instead… (another lo-fi solution).

Now you could when looking at this ingenious solution decide that a tennis ball and some stocking could work just as well and you are right, but I love me some rope… I have a knot addiction and my motto has always been ‘you can never have enough rope around the house’. The rope I used was probably about 1 metre long and from memory it was 6mm rope. I bought mine at supercheap auto for 3 dollars and I still have ~9 metres of it left… great value if you ask me.

I followed the following youtube video to learn how to make a monkey fist –

How to build your house without worrying about planning and building codes

Anyone that goes through the process of building their own home will know how much red tape, hoop jumping, paper shuffling, form filling and bureaucratic meddling one has to put up with in today’s modern era of housing construction. Most of it is peripheral to the actual building process itself and irrelevant. It’s also enough to scare most people away and unfortunately this is exactly the unseen unintended consequence.

I’m too young to talk about the good old days, but like almost nearly everything else, I’m sure back in the day it was less about approvals and more about building a home for yourself.

In today’s environment, the myriad of legislation, rules, regulations and codes that govern the building of a home is truly astounding.

To give you an example, I currently reside in Queensland, Australia. If I wanted to build a standard 3 Bed 2 Bath single storey home on a piece of vacant land I need to comply with the following –

  1. Sustainable Planning Act
  2. Sustainable Planning Regulation
  3. Planning Scheme
  4. Planning Scheme Code(s)
  5. Building Code of Australia
  6. Australian Standard(s)
  7. Queensland Development Code
  8. Council Planning Policies
  9. State Planning Policies
  10. Other Miscellaneous Reports required by the above which could easily number in the double digits

Note the plural in some of the above dot points, emphasis mine.

I haven’t even talked about what a developer has to go through to make that piece of vacant land available for you to buy!

All the above adds cost and by the way I also haven’t gone through the myriad of professionals you would have to engage to help make sure you comply with the above. It’s no wonder this country is facing a housing affordability crisis, now that’s not to say this is the only factor or the primary factor in pushing up prices, but it’s an important one. Restrictive planning regulations and release of Greenfield land is another, the fiat money system is another… but I digress…

Anyway this site is about solutions, so how should my frugal brethren provide shelter for themselves in accordance with their frugal sensitivities?

The answer… build a Tiny House on a Trailer! J

Ain’t it grand! I’ll let your imagination interact with the picture you see and hopefully the pin should drop… right about now.

The importance of building it on a trailer is crucial, if you build and fix it to the ground you are technically building a structure which can trigger all sorts of planning and building requirements. If you build it on a trailer that is registered for the road it automatically becomes a caravan… but you and I know it’s more than a caravan it’s a Tiny House J

Building and living in a Tiny House is very much in accordance with my frugal sensitivities and it obviously ticks all my boxes – It saves me time, money and space.

Now admittedly I don’t live in one, but this is very much a goal in my life. Right now I’ve just moved to Queensland where I have started my new job, I’m still getting my bearings in this great place, but once I’ve settled in and when my rental period expires, building and living in a tiny house will be next.

If you are thinking of the same and live around my area, make sure to leave a comment. Two minds are better then one!

For more info on Tiny House’s and what people are doing with this concept check out the Tiny House Blog and Tumbleweed Homes.

 

 

 

How to eradicate Ants and Cockroaches naturally

Boric Acid. More specifically boric acid in powder form.

Living in the top end (Darwin) of Australia, I’ve always been told that ants and geckos are just a way of life. No problems I thought, I can live with that.

In fact I love geckos, I am always amazed at their ability to stick to any surface, and I find them rather cute. Ants, never desirable, but even down south in Melbourne our home kitchen always had a problem with ants so I learnt to live with it. Cockroaches… well that’s where I draw the line. They are simply ugly to look at and if you ever kill one, they sure smell. Unfortunately for the ones that reside in my home there is not one ounce of pity for them, neither from me nor my partner… I’m sure you can understand. This post is essentially for all those cockroach haters.

About 4 months ago I experienced a spike in ant numbers that coincided with a spike in cockroach sightings, it got so bad at one stage that even our bedrooms had them. I put it down to our bin, the lid doesn’t quite close properly and because we cook a fair bit at home, inevitably there are more enticing crumbs lying around. The cockroaches came in all different sizes, some no bigger than a fly and some as big as a small house mouse.

My first plan of attack included the following –

  1. Getting a bin that had a close fitting lid;
  2. Cleaning kitchen surfaces more often and never leaving unwashed dished or food lying around too long
  3. Mortein Bug Spray

…my first plan of attack made not one bit of difference. This got me thinking if there were other alternative ways in getting rid of this problem.

I confided in Dr Google as you do, and lo and behold I found a number of remedies, one which included the use of Diatomaceous Earth (DE) which I describe as death by a thousand cuts. It’s not chemical but mechanical. This alternative sounded like it had legs as it was also backed up by other sources that I trusted, the only problem was finding the stuff and it wasn’t cheap. The other negative of DE is that it loses its effect once wet.

Another remedy I found of interest was the use of boric acid. In particular boric acid powder, this point is important because if you get the granular version it’s not as effective and Borax is not the same as boric acid. It works as a desiccant drying the ant or cockroach from the inside out when ingested. I did some further reading and realized that boric acid has a number of multiple uses, many in fact, including termite treatment for timber. When I realized how relatively cheap it was I was sold. There are essentially 2 ways you can use it, as a solution or as a dry powder. If used as a solution you will need to add bait, generally sugar. If used dry you just dust the powder where you think the ants or roach will pass by. When it walks over the powder they inevitable pick it up and because ants and cockroaches groom they will ingest it. I tried it both ways and I find using it dry the most effective and convenient. It does take a little while for it to show results, especially if you have a large colony, but usually about a week will do. I bought my boric acid on ebay for about $5 for 50 grams and that’s plenty and will last a long time. You can also buy a special duster on ebay for ease of application, but I just flick the powder with my finger. In the 4 months since I first tried it, I have only had to apply it again once and that was recently. This works and I’d recommend it over all other methods. It’s effectiveness, cheap cost, and durability makes this a worthy frugalmanhack.

For more info and to buy Boric Acid check out this site – http://www.boricacid.net.au/