Six Easy Hacks for Tidier Projects

Some of the best ideas are cheap but will save you loads in the long run. Here’s some that you can bank on.

It’s in the bag

A crisp, neat, straight paint line is a delight to the eye and is easy to achieve with the careful application of masking tape. Your efforts unfortunately can be marred by paint creeping under the edge of the tape ruining the effect. This is often caused by minute pieces of dirt sticking to the edge of the tape as it is laid down. Avoid this by storing tape in a resealable zipper storage bag when not in use. The bag will keep dirt off the tape and prevent half-used rolls from drying out between uses.


Zap the tape

Nothing is more maddening than a roll of masking tape that won’t unroll, but only comes off in little bits. Before tossing it in the trash, an ornery roll of tape can often be brought back to life with a quick blitz in the microwave. Don’t overcook it: 5 to 10 seconds is often more than enough to revitalize the adhesive and return the roll to taping nirvana.


Keep it solvent

Boat owners use lots of expensive caulks and compounds in cartridges. Half-used tubes that sit for more than a day or two often dry up, then get thrown in the trash. To avoid wastage, cover the end of the cut nozzle with a good dollop of petroleum jelly. It will keep the air out and prevent the contents of the tube from hardening. Next time you need the caulk, thoroughly wipe off the jelly and squeeze out a little bit of caulk to be sure the inside of the nozzle is clear of jelly.


Cheap hand cleaner

Many jobs on the boat can leave your hands filthy. For a fast-and-effective hand cleaner that’s good at removing grease and grime, pour a little olive oil on your hands along with a sprinkling of sugar. Wipe with a paper towel, then wash your hands with soap and water.



Unwanted paint splashes on fiberglass or metal surfaces and adhesive residue can be easily removed with Easy-Off oven cleaner. (Avoid using on unpainted surfaces.) For best results spray it on, allow it to sit for a few minutes then wipe off with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. It removes the wax from the boat, too, so be sure to reapply or you’ll be left with a dull spot. Test with a small amount in an inconspicuous spot to be sure it won’t damage the surface.


Glove trick

Disposable gloves are great at keeping hands clean, but getting them on can be a pain if your mitts are sweaty. Lightly dusting your hands with talc will make latex and nitrile gloves slip on easily. To keep your hands clean when removing dirty gloves, gently grasp the cuff of one glove, pull it off until it’s inside out, then use the clean inside part to grasp the other cuff, pull it off, and then toss them both in the trash. Voilà, clean hands!


This article was reprinted with permission from BoatU.S. Magazine, flagship publication of the membership organization Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS). For more expert articles and videos to make your boating, sailing, or fishing better, visit


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *