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MAKE Asks: Household Hacks

MAKE Asks: Household Hacks

Make: Asks is a weekly column where we ask you, our readers, for responses to maker-related questions. We hope the column sparks interesting conversation and is a way for us to get to know more about each other.

This week’s question: What projects or hacks have you come up with that make your apartment or house better, more fun, more efficient, or just plain wacky?

When I moved into my cottage in upstate New York we had a sizable living room and the space to build things. I created an elevated obstacle course for my cats which provided hours of entertainment for both humans and felines alike.

Post your responses in the comments section.

32 thoughts on “MAKE Asks: Household Hacks

  1. John says:

    We hacked our kitchen cabinet doors. We have white cabinets, and use dry erase marker directly on the inside surface of the doors to keep grocery lists, weekly menu, and to do items right at eye height. The dry erase wipes right off, and a little window cleaner cleans things all off if there’s a build up or stubborn marker. Close the cabinet door and no one knows. We also keep reference temps for cooking taped to the insides of the doors near the stove, and a sheet with recommended time to keep leftovers in the cabinet door near the fridge. We also write the date that we create leftovers on the outside of the container so we know how old everything in the fridge is.

  2. jdarling says:

    We have elevated ceilings in the kids bedrooms that are decent sized but nothing to brag about. So we built “lofted beds” up into the area to save space, railings all around to keep em safe and rock climbing walls to get in/out. Stairs too, but they only get used in emergencies, kids like the rock walls more. Under we put their dressers and desks.

    Also built a chicken coop from scrap siding we found, but that isn’t near as entertaining as the lofted beds.

  3. macegr says:

    Here’s one from a while back. I made a light that hangs over my kitchen sink and uses a PIR sensor to automatically turn on and off. It’s proven indispensable, considering how often I’ll walk into a dark kitchen holding dishes or something.

    1. Bill Reddington says:

      My name is Bill Reddington and I’m Producing a pilot series for the Youtube channel SpacesTV called Digital Architects. The show does brief profiles on designers/architects/hobbyists who have modified a space using digital technology. This could be their apartment, home, car, or boat and the modification could be anything from a small invention to increase functionality to a quirky add-on or a major renovation. I’ve been searching the blogosphere for cool stuff and your automated kitchen light seems really cool. Would you be interested in being featured in the show?

      You can email me directly if you like @


  4. Karl says:

    In an old apartment I used to live in I had a ceiling fan. I hacked a digital alarm clock to turn on the fan at the right time then hacked the fan to open the shades over the window that faced the sunrise. Worked well but no way to snooze button the sun. :)

  5. russell says:

    i used a netduino and my home wifi so i can open my garage door with my phone web browser

    1. Bill Reddington says:

      Russel, my name is Bill Reddington and I’m producing a pilot for the Youtube channel SpacesTV that focuses on creative tech solutions to home improvements. I think your garage door opener would be a cool one to use.

      If you’re interested feel free to contact me directly @

  6. Justin Nnoix says:

    my mouse!!! its buttons and power switch all went kaput, so i rejiggered it!!

  7. raster says:

    Once you have a 3D printer it’s pretty much a requirement that you use it for home repairs:

  8. MAKE Asks: Household Hacks Tom Price says:

    Made a kitchen timer from an MSP430 Launchpad and a quacking baby shoe. :)

  9. Matthew says:

    I connected the kitchen sink supplies to solenoid valves and a foot pedal. Now I can rinse my messy hands without getting the faucet dirty. I also save lots of water while washing dishes by only pressing the pedal when I need to rinse.

  10. MAKE | says:

    […] the piece MAKE Asks: Household Hacks, Karl remarks: In an old apartment I used to live in I had a ceiling fan. I hacked a digital alarm […]

  11. ○DIY/Tip▶ And we’re back with our forty-sixth installment of Your « dot dot dob tob tob says:

    […] the piece MAKE Asks: Household Hacks, Karl remarks: In an old apartment I used to live in I had a ceiling fan. I hacked a digital alarm […]

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In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens' educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program.

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