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Happy Hoarder’s Handyman Hint! Frugal Junk Use

Make that “handyperson hint.” 😉 For the first time in recorded history, a piece of the junk that’s hoarded in the garage actually came in handy! It just became part of a hand-crafted fancy-Dan paper towel holder. A frugal fancy-Dan paper towel holder: today’s out-of-pocket was nothing.

Trying to find places to stash the Lifetime Supply of Costco Paper Towels, I had one roll left over and realized the hated plastic paper-towel holder over the washer area, installed and abandoned by Satan and Proserpine, was empty. Problem is, like all cheapie grocery-store plastic paper-towel holders, the thing won’t hold a roll of paper towels, especially if you have the temerity to try to tear a towel off the roll. Every time a roll of paper towels falls off, it tumbles into the utility sink below, which is often full of water. That’s why the thing has been empty for a long time.

True Junk

Out of the blue, a lightning bolt of inspiration: if a person had a pair of those wooden curtain rod hangers, the kind that come with 1970s- and 80s-style wooden dowel curtain rods, said person could attach them to the wall, cut a piece of curtain-rod doweling to fit, scoot it through the towels’ cardboard tube, and…well. You get the idea. Not to say voilà!

Interestingly, I happened to have a pair of pretty ugly wooden curtain rod holders, stashed inside a dusty shoebox under a hoard of old wooden curtain rings that somehow just never quite worked out.

Not only that, but an old wood-dowel curtain rod, part of the didn’t-work-out project, was collecting dust atop the garage cabinets. And I also happened to have a saw…


The holes that Satan drilled and countersank in the drywall were not far enough apart to accommodate a paper-towel roll between the inch-wide curtain rod holders. But there’s a lot of electric and plumbing where the plastic thing is hanging. So I decided to use the screw hole he’d put on the right side, which really is dangerously close to the pipes that go to the sink, and then drill new holes on the left, where I think (hope) there are fewer obstructions.

Attached the wooden hanger things to the wall, leaving plenty of room to hang the roll of paper towels.

Sawed off 20 inches of the doweling (could’ve made it shorter but am not going to do it over again right this minute). Drilled a hole in the center of the newly cut-off end. Removed the finial from rod’s long remainder and screwed it into the new hole. And…


It works! The paper towel roll fits, exactly as promised, over the dowel. To reload, all you have to do is unscrew one of the finials, take off the empty cardboard tube, slide a new roll onto the dowel, and reattach the finial. Not bad for a garage, eh?


Don’t ask about the wiring draped over the washer faucets! It’s better than the Romex Satan had draped back and forth across the garage door opener chain!

This was strictly a spur-of-the-moment job. If I were going to make a paper towel holder for the kitchen, I’d set the curtain-rod hangers closer together, so they’d just clear a standard roll. And then I’d cut the rod so that it would fit more snugly.

Sometimes I’ve wished I had a paper towel holder in the bathroom. It occurs to me that you could replace the metal hardware-store towel rods with lash-ups like this for your bath towels, and then add a matching paper towel holder. Depending on your decor, of course. And your ambition.

3 thoughts on “Happy Hoarder’s Handyman Hint! Frugal Junk Use”

  1. This reminds me so much of my father, who hoarded all sorts of scraps, and eventually found creative uses for SOME of them. My mother was driven mad by all the bits of wood, metal,cardboard, etc, and used to sneak them to the dump.

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