From The Tips Box: DIY Skills, Touchpad Middle Click, Laundry Drying

From The Tips Box: DIY Skills, Touchpad Middle Click, Laundry Drying

Readers offer their best tips for learning DIY skills, middle clicking on Synaptics touchpads, and saving money on drying your laundry.

About the Tips Box: Every day we receive boatloads of great reader tips in our inbox, but for various reasons — maybe they’re a bit too niche, maybe we couldn’t find a good way to present it, or maybe we just couldn’t fit it in — the tip didn’t make the front page. From the Tips Box is where we round up some of our favourites for your buffet-style consumption. Got a tip of your own to share? Email it to tips at

Go on Charity Builds to Increase DIY Knowledge

Photo by FirstBaptistNashville.

cullen4540 tells us how he learned DIY skills that he could use at home:

Working for organizations like Habitat for Humanity can do more than just help out your community- it is also a good way to learn basic home renovation DIY. I just retiled the kitchen in a recently purchased older home after learning how on a Habitat build site, and saved quite a bit of money. It was a job I may not have tackled on my own, but this method allowed me to practice the skill under the supervision and tutelage of a professional before going out on my own.

Enable Middle Clicking on Synaptics Touchpads

Photo by CLF.

wildeh shares an easy registry hack that will assign middle clicking to another gesture on Synaptics touchpads:

With a tiny registry hack you can assign middle click function to the scroll up key (or any other scroll key) on a Synaptics touch pad.

Middle-click is useful for browsing; middle-clicking a link opens it up in a new tab. Touchpads however usually miss the third-button and for some reason in the settings for Synaptics touch pad, you cannot assign middle-click function to a scroll key.

However you can assign middle-click function to the scroll up key for example by this little registry hack:

Change the DWORD value of HKEY_USERSS-1-5-21…SoftwareSynapticsSynTPTouchPadHEXBTNPS2ExButton1Action to 4

Hang Dry Clothes to Save Money on Laundry Drying

Photo by T Chu.

DanielRie lets us know how he saves electricity/gas when drying his clothes:

Everyone loves fluffy towels, but you can achieve it much cheaper by using the dryer only at the end. You can hang your towels to dry in your house (in the winter, when the humidity in your house needs a boost anyway) or outside. After an hour or so, while it’s still slightly damp, but not wet anymore, pop it in the dryer for a spin and enjoy your soft-as-bunnies-towels. A dryer drains most energy just to dry up all the moist, so if you avoid using it during this stage, you save your money AND the environment.

Obviously, this only works on dryers that are sensor dry or on which you can specify a time. Dryers that automatically go for a predetermined amount of time will probably just overdry your clothes, filling them with static electricity.

Also, if you don’t care as much about soft towels as you do about soft clothing, you can just this method for clothes and air dry your towels all the way, thus skipping out on a whole load of laundry — since you generally air dry your towels after using them anyways.

Cut Hair Super Short to Save Time in the Morning

Photo by Niki Odolphie.

hangar18 shares how he made his life less stressful just by cutting his hair:

Easily the number one way I’ve found to streamline my day to day life is buzzing my hair down to almost nothing. No more time spent on it in the morning when I’m running late, no more looking too shaggy when I forget to get it cut. I use a set of clippers with a 1/8″ guard or no guard at all, but your mileage may vary. Of course not everyone has the skull for this, but trim it down some with a short guard and you might be surprised. Nothing has saved me more time, effort, and money.


    • It’s lazy _and_ time and money saving. I concede that one’s sampling of streamlined skulls and difference in taste might lead to odd generalisations.

      15 years without paying for a haircut and no aspersions cast about my appearance nor intelligence has to count for something.

    • 15 years of shaving my hear at anything from #0 to #2 and i have never had anyone give me grief over it. Now i have a full beard though, #2 is all i do.. #0 with a beard would look a little silly..

  • My trick to saving time/money with haircuts is to cut your hair 1 notch below your normal, this is because it may take about a week or 2 to grow back to your normal “long” length till its time to get a hair cut again 🙂 In short, longer times till your next haircut.

  • These are nice tips I do most of them already. I would like to add to the clothes drying tip. I do not own a dryer and dry all my clothes with clothes drying racks.

    Tip 1 if you don’t want your clothes to be wrinkled or stiff give them a firm shake prior to hanging them and then shake them vigorously once they dry. This will make them much softer.

    Tip 2 Do your laundry in the evening or in the early morning. Then if you are hanging out side your clothes will not dry as stiff because they will not be baked by the sun. If you do your laundry in the middle of the day. Hang the clothes out of the direct sun. Also hanging where the breeze can get to them will really help keep them soft.

    Tip 3 If your washer has the ability to run an extra spin cycle your clothes will dry much faster since the washer will get more of the water out.

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