15 Quick (and Cheap) Fixes for Seemingly Insurmountable Problems

Instructables.com, we owe you big time. 

Of all the physical laws that physicists tell us run our universe, Murphy’s Law—the one that states that if things can go wrong, they will—is one that seems to become more intense on college campuses than anywhere else in the known cosmos. Don’t ask us why: just believe us when we tell you that it does. And when it does, it’ll happen at the worst time possible. It’s at those times when something like a seemingly small wardrobe malfunction can lead to consequences far larger than they would in other situations.

Luckily there are people out there who are geniuses with big hearts who love to help other people.

Even luckier for humanity is that these beautiful folks like to post their ideas, tricks, tips, and hacks to www.instructables.com, possibly one of the greatest web sites in the universe where DIY solutions, incredible projects, nifty hacks, and cool ideas are posted by the thousands every day. Here are some of the best we’ve found for fixing those little things that can drive you crazy.


Fixing a Zipper (Without Replacing It)

Sorry: if you say you’ve never broken a zipper, we’re gonna have to tell you that you’re either full of baloney, an alien or were raised in a cave. It’s happened to everyone, usually at the worst time (and possibly the worst place) it could. Here’s how to fix it in a jiffy without any sewing or complicated equipment.


Removing Stains and Burn Holes in Your Carpet

No matter how careful you are, chances are that you’re going to drop something on the floor of your room that’s going to stain the oh-so-lovely carpet that they college has lovingly provided for you. And chances are that they’ll lovingly send you a bill for the repair once you move out of the room. If you’ve got a small spot, don’t fret: just click the link above to learn how to use simple household items to fix it out quick.


Quick n’ Easy Bike Chain Brush

Cars are noisy, smelly, environmentally unfriendly and, worse yet, expensive. Rather than go the automobile route, more and more folks are turning to bicycles as their transportation method of choice, a move we applaud. But while most bikes are pretty sturdy, the chain can be a weak point, especially if it gets gunked-up. A chain brush can keep your chain clean and your bike running. Click the link above to learn how to make one for under $10 (or even for free if you are going to visit the dentist any time soon).


Microwave Caramel Corn

While some may not consider it an “insurmountable problem” if they can’t get their mitts on some caramel corn, those who crave the sweet and salty crunch of caramel corn know that it can be a major problem if you can’t get some when you need it. Follow the link above to learn how to whip up some hot and fresh caramel corn whenever you want in your microwave for mere pennies.


Upgrade Your Earbuds

Many of us like earbuds because they’re easy to pop in and out, but we often hate them for the same reason: many ‘buds pop out when you least expect them to. If you want to keep the earbuds you have and don’t want to spend the money on pricey “sports” models (the kinds that hook over your ears), click on the link above to learn how to mod your existing earbuds so they stay put.


Cheap Macro Lens for Phone or Tablet

While phone cameras have gotten a lot better over the years, one thing that they haven’t gotten better at is taking macro (or closeup) pictures. Sure, there are snap-on lenses you can buy if you want to take extreme close-ups but they’re not cheap. But there’s an easier way that could cost you next to nothing. Click the link above and find out how.


Phone Cable Protector

Just as its a given that you will lose a charger or two during your college career, it’s also just as likely that your charging cord will break at some point. Don’t let it happen to you. If you’ve got a cheap ballpoint pen with a retractable point (the kind that “clicks”) that you can sacrifice for a good cause, you can have a nearly indestructible phone cord in seconds. Really.


Replacing the Button on Your Jeans

Losing the button that holds on your jeans can be a catastrophe, especially if they’re your last pair. But if you have the most absolutely basic sewing skills in the world, a needle, thread and a soda can, can turn the tide of your bad luck around in mere minutes.


Fixing Frayed Shoelaces

While frayed shoelaces aren’t going to ruin your life, they can be a major pain in the butt, especially if you need to lace ‘em up quickly and can’t force those frayed ends through the holes in your shoe. Fortunately it’s remarkably easy to create new aglets (yes, that’s what those smooth shoelace ends are called…see, you learned something today!) with a few simple and easy-to-find products.


Fixing Broken Headphones

If you’ve broken the headband on your headphones and are now faced with the horrifying prospect of having to toss out something that cost you a couple of hundred bucks, stop. You don’t have to. All you have to do is gather together a few items that you probably already have on hand and follow these amazingly simple instructions.


Fix (or Replace) Hoodie Drawstring

Seriously: what’s more frustrating than having the drawstring on your hoodie (or sweatpants) disappear into one of the holes? Fishing that dang thing out again can take more time than finishing a term paper. But it doesn’t have to.


Repair Peeling Flip-flops or Shoes

We’ve all had shoes we love die on us. But most of the time it’s not the uppers that go, it’s the soles, often peeling off just when we’ve just got the shoes broken in perfectly. Guess what? You don’t have to throw ‘em out as long as you’re able to get to a hardware store and purchase one cheap and easy to find item.


Removing a Dent from Wood

Another item that colleges like to…err…ding you with when you move out of the dorms is furniture damage. While it’s not easy to fix things that are actually broken, dented wood is surprisingly easy to fix. In fact, you probably already own the tools to do it. Read the link above to find out how.


Covering an Exposed Laptop Charger Wire

Not matter how advanced computer technology seems to get, one aspect of the technology hasn’t improved for what feels like decades: laptop chargers, specifically where the power cord attaches to the charger. No matter how careful you might be, at some point it’s going to break and you’re going to have to go out and buy a replacement. Or maybe not…if you’re able to follow these simple directions.


Getting Rid of Ants

You are, of course, scrupulously clean and definitely not the type to get infested with bugs attracted to food crumbs that have somehow found themselves attached to your floor. If you’ve got a pest problem, all you need is these instructions and a couple of household items to rid yourself of pernicious pests.

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