TheJoyOfHack

For people who like to make things

A few weeks ago, when my older two boys were getting ready to go off to college I was reminded of something I read online: Buy a toilet plunger before you need a toilet plunger. In today’s post I would like to list four things that you should know how to do, before you have to do them.

[I’m not gonna include major things like CPR or self-defense that require formal training.]

First on the list: Learn to use a toilet plunger. The key point in the linked article: “Plungers work best moving liquid, not compressing air to increase pressure above the clog.”

Next up: Learn how to replace a flat tire. Most important point here: loosen the lug nuts when the tire is still resting on the ground, not when it’s lifted off the ground. The same goes for the final tightening.

Third: Learn to tie the Tautline Hitch Knot. This knot can be very useful when you’re camping and need to secure the tent’s lines to pegs. Or when you’re at a picnic and need to set up a volleyball net. The preceding link is from a blog post of mine from 2010.

Finally, and this isn’t as dramatic as a clogged toilet or a flat tire, learn how to sew a button. The last time I had to do this was a few months ago when I was on my way to a formal event. As we were about to get into the car I noticed the button on my sport coat was loose. My wife drove and I sewed it back on before we reached our destination.

For pretty much everything else, there’s the luxury of Googling and figuring out the best strategy.

See you tomorrow.

This is the 29th of my 30 days posts.