Day 25: Linen Closet Handles (How to Unscrew a Stripped Screw)
I bought two cinnamon brooms at Trader Joe’s yesterday. I drove all over the city with them in the car while I searched for boxes to hold the homework. I never found what I wanted, so I adapted the magazine file system I used for Mikey. Four stores later. By the time I got home my eyes were watery and my throat itched. I felt off the rest of the day, but put up with the cinnamon brooms a while longer inside the house. By dinner time I had Mikey move them outside. I was convinced I had an allergy to cinnamon.
When I crawled into bed and the sheets hurt, I stared thinking maybe I was just sick. I woke up the next morning worse so, yeah, just sick with a cold. Boo. I looked over my list of projects and searched for the easiest project. Famous last words.
The glass pulls are from Restoration Hardware. I bought them back when I wanted the house to look cottage/shabby chic/sweet/everything I am not. They were an expensive purchase, but I reasoned Restoration Hardware produced a quality product that justified the cost. It’s a decision I quickly regretted. The pull we used the most, the one on the right, snapped in half after a year. The cheap ones from Target we have in another room are still going strong.
Buying those expensive pulls is one of the last times I made a purchase based on slick marketing material. I’m over labels.
I decided to replace the pulls with ones I found at Lowe’s. No muss, no fuss.
Because I was sick and eyeballing my bed down the hall like a bear does a honeypot, and because I chose this project for it’s simplicity and brevity, I should have known the third pull I tackled had a screw so stripped I couldn’t tell if it had a flat or Phillips head. Typical.
I tried almost everything, including the rubber band trick and a screw extractor. No dice. In the end, what worked was old fashioned spatial reasoning. I took out the drawer and saw that one side of what might have been a flat head screw was stripped more than the other. The side with more damage was the side the screwdriver put pressure against to turn.
I knew the screw would turn if I could put pressure on the other side, but that would tighten the screw. So, I unscrewed the screw that wasn’t stripped and flipped the handle 180° to the left. That put the less stripped side of the screw where I needed it, and I was able to loosen the screw with minimal effort. The problem with the technique, as you can see, is that I now have to repair and repaint the exterior. Two steps forward, one step back.
Here’s the closet with the new handles. They are more “me” and look better with our decor. I saw the cottage/shabby chic look in a few blogs and magazines and thought it looked charming and sweet, a place kids would love to call home. I tried it, but I couldn’t get it to work. I can appreciate the style–love it, even–but like white walls, I can’t live with it. Nester has a fantastic post on a home’s No Word and links to a helpful post on Don’t Buy Words. The Don’t Buy concept is brilliant in its simplicity. From now on, I’ll think twice before buying anything cute, sweet, or girly.
New here? For the next 31 days I’m living according to the famous William Morris quote, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” You can learn more about the project here, and catch sneak peeks of my projects by following me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (I’m @pancakesfries).
Did you do a project inspired by the William Morris quote? Let’s see it!