4. Relight a pilot light.
In older homes, water and wall heaters, furnaces, fireplaces, and stoves may run on gas. The little flames in their pilot lights—which ignite the gas when you turn on your appliances—aren’t supposed to go out, but sometimes they do. You can relight them yourself. Turn off the appliance and wait a couple of minutes for any lingering gas to dissipate. (If you continue to smell gas, do not proceed; there may be a leak. Evacuate and call your gas provider immediately.) Find the pilot light. Turn its valve to the pilot position, or open the valve by pushing the reset button, if your appliance is equipped with one. Use a lighter or a long match to revive the extinguished flame. After the flame is relit, continue holding down the button to keep the valve open for about 30 seconds, then let go.
5. Patch up drywall.
You may be surprised to learn how easy it is to fix a small hole, crack, or ding. Start by picking up a wallrepair patch kit that contains a mesh adhesive patch, a tub of spackling paste, a putty knife, a sponge, and sandpaper. Next, cover the floor to protect it. Place the mesh over the wall damage, eliminating ridges or air bubbles and cutting away any loose strings. Use the putty knife to apply a flat, thin coat of spackling paste to hold the mesh in place. Smooth its texture with a damp sponge, or wait until the area dries, then sand it to the desired finish. If you can still see a dent after the mixture dries—which could take up to a day—add another coat of spackling paste. Paint the repaired spot to match the rest of the wall.