Perhaps you, too, have fallen into a YouTube rabbit hole of frugal bloggers, and have heard the phrase “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” BUT the hardest part of that can easily be the “make it do” when something is broken and you’re unsure of how the heck to repair it.
You’re not alone! Sometimes googling how to repair that thing you’re trying to mend reveals that you need to buy another thing to do the task. Or buying a cheap thing you can use to fix it (and then fix many other things after!) can make your repair much less daunting. I get it and have even used a ton of these things below to do all kinds of repairs! I want you to fix the stuff that you love and save some cash in the meantime. (I’m forever telling my friends to do this.) So without further ado….
Here are the things that’ll help you fix stuff you already own:
Wood polish and conditioner that’ll revive all sorts of wood surfaces and furniture in your home. Reviewers have used them to zhuzh up front doors, kitchen cabinets, wood floors, wood furniture, and just about any other wood surface. FYI, replacing kitchen cabinets can get up into the TENS of THOUSANDS of dollars. So this bb is def worth a go.
A handy lil’ knife sharpener I can personally vouch for because it transformed a drawerful of leftover roommates’ knives into sharp specimens that make meal prepping go so much faster. No need to buy a knife set. Make do with what you have!
A water mark removing cloth that could also do wonders on the nail polish remover you dribbled down your nightstand two years ago and has made it a curbside contender. Let it stay awhile with this magic-working wipe.
A fume-free oven cleaner to revive an oven that you thought was too far gone. Sometimes you can’t replace an oven because you’re renting! (Or, bc budget!) Clean it with this and then use that oven!!
Needle-nose pliers that, if you don’t already have a pair in your tool bag, you absolutely need. A pair like this is my most-used hand tool thanks to their nimble ability to bend things gently, like warped earring hooks, Christmas tree ornaments, and just about anything else that needs some detailed handiwork.
Bar Keepers Friend powdered cleanser to spiff up just about anything you have around your house like car head lights, pots and pans, porcelain sinks, stove tops…. Really, the limit does not exist.
Goo Gone for making all sorts of sticky messes you’ve resigned to living with disappear — including that old magnet that fused with your rental apartment’s fridge (me) or stickers fused with garage door windows (my friend who just bought a house). Seriously though, this stuff is MAGIC for anything you’ve considered tossing thanks to a sticky mess.
A rust-removing spray to work wonders in neglected showers, minus the elbow grease. Spray it on a rusted surround, leave the room, and come back to diminished stains you can easily wipe away instead of shopping around for a new surround.
A brown sugar saver disguised as an adorable terra cotta bear that’ll keep your brown sugar from going rock solid. OK, so you’re not *repairing* your baking ingredient per se, but it’ll sure keep you from replacing that formerly rock-hard block of sweet.
Water bottle-cleaning tablets to rejuvenate the inside of your reusable water bottle that currently looks like it’s caked in mud thanks to your beloved coffee. These tablets fizz up and renew the look of your container so you keep on using that tumbler and enjoy that positive impact on the environment (and your pocketbook).
A pumice stone that’ll scrub away hard water marks and all kinds of nastiness. Nope, you do NOT have to replace the old toilet in your new place. You’re already paying so much for the move! Spend an Alexander Hamilton on this.
Indoor plant food spikes to turn that plant bb’s frown upside down… and yours too! You spent way too much on it at the farmer’s market anyway and are determined to help this one thrive. RIP to all the plants before it.
A makeup brush cleanser because you and I both know you’re not washing your beauty tools as frequently as you should. (Same.) Turns out, they aren’t prime for a replacement, they just need a thorough wash.
A silver polish that’ll bring those family heirlooms back to life and prevent future tarnishing.
And a silver polishing cloth you can use to restore all your baubles back to fighting conditon.
A special brush to keep your dryer’s lint trap clear of debris and make drying cycles/the appliance more effective for longer. If your stuff is coming out wet, you may need one of these. It’s so much cheaper than a pro repair!!
A fabric dye for synthetic fabric and fabric blends to give a variety of stuff a new spin, from kid’s clothes to tablecloths to curtains. Switching the hue of an item can make it feel completely brand new!
And a powder fabric dye to help update anything in your closet you’re feeling a bit meh about, has faded more than you’d like, or would serve you better in a different hue.
A jean button replacement kit in case the problem with your go-to pair is actually the hardware. Yes, $7 for a one-time fix can feel steep. But y’know what’s steeper? Finding another pair and then paying for ’em.
Charcoal inserts that’ll be worth a try to de-funk those favorite flats of yours you can’t throw in the wash but have been stinking up the mudroom.
A hard-water booster for your dishwasher that’ll finally get your Pyrex bowls that you thought were donezo looking normal again. You and I both know those bowls are the best, despite your home’s hard water.
And cleaning tablets you can toss in your dishwasher to help make that $$$ appliance work so much better than as of late.
Magic Erasers that’ll just, (UGH they’re so good), revive most anything around your home. Use it on a grungy tub, marks on walls, sneaker soles, wooden outdoor furniture you thought was trash, so. Many. Things.
A millipede-like hair remover with more than 4k hooks and loops to ensnare all that hair down there and save ya’ a drain replacement or costly visit from the plumber.
A red wine stain remover to keep on hand because, well, accidents happen! But you can be prepared for (at least some of) them!
Grandma’s Secret, an under-the-radar solution with serious stain-removing prowess — like, cleaning pen from a white leather couch.
A set of stainless steel underwires for resurrecting that bra that you thought met its demise in the wash back to working order. OK you’re supposed to hand-wash bras, but just this one time you threw it in the wash and :(.
A flexible cable saver that’ll help you hold your charging cables together, lest you foot the bill for a new one AGAIN.
A nail polish thinner to help you make the most out of those tiny bottles of lacquer that seem to dry up in the most inconvenient times.
Bra bands that can easily add some extra space to your trusty underthing you aren’t quite ready to part with. Bras are incredibly expensive, and these aren’t!
Heel cap covers to cover exposed nails (y’know, that guilty party for clicking and clacking) so you can keep wearing your fave heels without footing a big bill at the shoe repair.
And a shoe repair kit for anyone who wears down their heels like it’s their job. With some online instruction, you can do the task yourself instead of taking it to the repair shop.
A fabric shaver you can take to the couch you’ve had for a few years and still love, even though you don’t love those pills it’s accumulated. And then you can use it on all your sweaters and coats!
Mink oil for waterproofing and preserving those perfectly worn-in boots that’ve gotten significantly worse looking for wear. Revive them with this $3 buy and make your feet *and* wallet jump for joy.
An eyeglasses repair kit with tons of screws, nose pads, specialty tweezers, and just about everything else to fix that pair that’s been just about everywhere with you but you don’t want to replace just yet.
A similar earring repair kit that’ll let you keep wearing your faves instead of replacing them, even if they were only a few bucks. (Cue to me clicking Add to Cart bc I have a pair of Alexis Bittar earrings that need a new earring hook.)
All-purpose super glue you can keep on hand for shoe emergencies, like when my metal toe cap fell off a pair of flats during a lunch break stroll.
A headlight restoration kit that includes a UV-blocking clear coat to make your transformation last so much longer.
You bringing the “make it do” into action:
Looking for the perfect gift for any occasion? Check out all of BuzzFeed’s gift guides!
Looking for more great Amazon finds? Check out some of our favorite cheap things to buy on Amazon, some of the weirdest things on Amazon you might actually want, or read through all the rest of our incredible Amazon product recommendations.