6 Home Updates You Can Easily Do Without TaskRabbit (No, Really)

Black and white gallery wall.

Anne Sage

We live in a time that’s marked by invention and immediacy. Need a pack of paper towels? Amazon can get that to you tomorrow morning. Want an açaí bowl from your neighborhood locale? PostMates can bring it within an hour. There are countless startups with a vast array of offerings that, while convenient, sometimes extract from the satisfaction of doing things yourself. 

Service apps related to home projects like TaskRabbit come in handy when you’re too busy to do it on your own or lack the skill sets required for the task at hand. However, you might be surprised by how much you’re actually capable of when it comes to this genre of work.

Ahead, here are six home improvement projects you should consider doing without TaskRabbit. You'll roll up your sleeves and bask in the glory of what you've accomplished.

01 of 06

Mount a Shelf

Rustic entryway shelf.

Arbor & Co.

Shelving is a great way to add storage and decor to your home. It also happens to be a slightly intimidating feat—but it doesn’t have to be. Grab a friend or partner for this one.

What You’ll Need: 

  • Power Drill
  • Hammer
  • Pencil or Chalk
  • Shelf Brackets
  • Screws
  • Drywall Anchors
  • Level
  • Measuring Tape
  • Optional: Stud Finder

How to Do It:

  1. Evaluate how heavy the shelf and its contents will be. If it’s lightweight, the location is more flexible. If it’s heavier, you’ll want to see if there’s a stud somewhere in the wall to offer additional support. If there is not, you can use a drywall anchor instead.
  2. Have whoever is assisting you hold the shelf against the wall and use a level to ensure it’s straight. Mark both ends with a pencil or chalk.
  3. Hold the brackets against the wall alongside the bottom of the shelf and mark inside the holes (this is where you’ll drill the screws in). Remove the shelf and brackets from the wall.
  4. Drill the screws into the bracket hole markings on the lightest setting, being sure not to drill all the way into the wall yet, and remove the screws.
  5. If your shelf is heavy and you’re not drilling into a stud, this would be the time to install your wall anchors. Put the bracket in its place and drill the screws into the bracket, tightening but not overtightening.
  6. Clean up the pencil marks and place your shelf on top—et voila.

There are different types of drywall anchors so do a little research beforehand to determine which version and drilling instructions are best for your shelf.

02 of 06

Paint a Wall (Or Several)

Light green wall with brown accent chair.

Anne Sage

There are commercials, movie scenes, and even television episodes devoted to the comical misfortunes of painting your own home, but the truth is, it’s not that challenging to find success painting.

“Life is short, and quarantine is long,” Natalie Ebel , co-founder of Backdrop, tells MyDomaine. “Plus, painting can be calming and therapeutic, and dare we say fun when you do it with Backdrop and put on your favorite painting playlist.” 

What You’ll Need:

  • A paintbrush
  • Small roller cover
  • Small roller handle
  • Large roller cover
  • Large roller handle
  • Tray 
  • Plastic tray inserts
  • Roll of painter’s tape
  • Paint
  • Dropcloth
  • Clothes that can get dirty
  • Optional: Backdrop’s Essentials Kit, which bundles all of the above for $45

How to Do It:

  1. Prepare the room by taking everything off of the wall and moving furniture to the center and draping with a tarp or sheet that you don’t mind getting dirty.
  2. Vacuum or dust the baseboards and moldings and wipe down the walls with a damp rag.
  3. If there are any nail holes in the wall, apply spackling and allow to dry. Sand over those holes to smooth out the texture of the wall.
  4. Begin the taping process. Backdrop recommends tearing off a tape strip about two feet long. Set it down lightly. You’ll want to overlay your tape generously so the paint can’t seep through.
  5. Once finished laying out, seal the tape tightly with your fingers. Put down a dropcloth.
  6. When ready to paint, remember to work from top to bottom. Backdrop suggests painting the ceiling first, then the walls, and finishing with the trim. For a thorough step-by-step guide to this process, check out Backdrop’s how-to manual.
  7. Once the painting process is complete and while the paint is still wet, slowly remove the tape at a 45-degree angle to avoid peeling. If any paint seeps through, wipe it quickly with a damp cloth.
03 of 06

Hang a Frame

Black and white gallery wall.

Anne Sage

One of the most common at-home tasks is hanging a picture frame. While easy in theory, it does require some level of precision that’s best accomplished with preparation.

What You’ll Need: 

  • Hammer
  • Picture Hangers
  • Measuring Tape
  • Pencil or Chalk
  • Optional: Level

How to Do It:

Tessa Wolf, the creative director at Framebridge, suggests the following plan of attack.

  1. If you're hanging art on an empty wall, have the vertical center (the middle of the frame) 57 inches above the floor, which is roughly eye level for most people, according to Wolf. “Museums and galleries use this rule of thumb, too," she adds. "This goes for single pieces and for gallery walls, which you should picture as a giant piece of art when determining placement.” 
  2. Measure the height of your piece or arrangement, divide in half, and add that number to the 57 inches to mark your wall where the top of your frame should be, according to Wolf.
  3. Measure the space from the top of the frame to the hanging hardware or wire on the back and mark that distance on the wall.
  4. Use that spot to hammer and hang the piece, and it should be exactly at eye height.

If you’re hanging frames above a piece of furniture, the bottom of the frame should be seven to ten inches above the top of the furniture, which sometimes means breaking the 57 inches rule.

04 of 06

Unlock a Door

White kitchen with wooden kitchen door.

Ashley Webb Interiors

Unlocking a door is a task usually allocated to a locksmith, not Taskrabbit. However, it also happens to be a useful skill if you have a habit of locking yourself out of your bedroom or bathroom.

Perhaps most importantly, unlocking your own handle lock requires patience and a pinch of determination—and not paying for a locksmith should serve as ample motivation.

This trick applies only for handle locks, not deadbolts. Take this as a reminder to always deadbolt your front door.

What You’ll Need:

  • A card that can get lightly damaged

How to Do It:

  1. Slide the card down and into the crack at an angle and push it in as far as it will go.
  2. Tilt the card toward the handle while applying pressure into the crack.
  3. Bend the card back in the opposite direction. Sometimes, this is enough to pop open the lock, and in this instance, quickly open the door and unlock it.
  4. If that doesn’t work, move he card back and forth while wiggling the handle. 
05 of 06

Expand Your Closet

Neat and organized closet.

Whether you live in a small studio or an older apartment building, some homes don’t offer a standardized closet space. Rather than surrendering to a life of stuffing your sweaters in stackable boxes, get crafty by creating your own storage solutions. One example of this is installing a pole to hang clothes on.

What You’ll Need:

  • Adjustable Pole
  • Pair of Closet Rod Pole Sockets 
  • Power Drill
  • Screws
  • Measuring Tape
  • Pencil or Chalk

How to Do It:

  1. Measure the distance from wall to wall and buy an adjustable pole that falls within that range.
  2. Place one socket on the wall at the desired height and mark in the hole so you know where to drill.
  3. Measure it out so the socket’s markings on the opposing side are at the same height. 
  4. Drill into a stud or slab of exposed wood, if possible. Otherwise, install a wall anchor.
  5. Drill the screws into the socket. Once tightened, hold the other socket up and place the pole inside to double-check your markings are even.
  6. If everything looks straight, drill in the other socket and place the adjustable pole inside the two sockets. 

If you’re feeling especially crafty, you can get a wooden pole custom-cut at most hardware stores.

06 of 06

Assemble Furniture

Brown leather sofa in living room.

Dwell Aware

This one is more of a pep talk than a how-to guide. Despite any anxieties you might have surrounding assembling a piece of furniture, a set of tools, a friend or two, and some fun music can help make the task feel effortless.

Though each piece of furniture offers different assembly instructions and varying levels of difficulty, with a well-stocked toolbox in hand, no task is too great. 

Related Stories