It’s ladder season: It’s time to clean your gutters and soon enough, you’ll be putting up holiday lights or even taking on some snow removal. During the fall and winter, you probably spend more time on your ladder, but your high-flying home repairs should be as safe and easy to complete as possible all year round. Here are some easy ways to make your time on your ladder safer and more efficient.
Make a tool caddy
While you’re up on your ladder, you don’t want to keep climbing back down to get various tools, and your kids may not be willing act as co-contractors in the cold temps, so relying on them to hand your stuff up to you may not be feasible. You need a ladder caddy to hold all your items up at the top.
You have two options here: You can buy one like this or you can make your own with some ¾” plywood. According to Family Handyman, you saw a hole big enough to fit over the top of your ladder, then add some cutouts to hold tools like drills. They recommend wedging scrap wood between the ladder top and holder to stabilize it when one tool is removed, so the other side of the caddy doesn’t get weighed down without the balance.
Attach a magnet
One easy hack that will save you more stress than you think is attaching a magnet to the top of your ladder. Screws, nuts, nails, and more will be easily accessible if they’re all stuck to a magnet, so you won’t have to fiddle around in a pouch or pray they don’t roll off the top.
You can pick up any big magnet, as long as there’s a hole in the center, and drill a hole into your ladder to attach it, according to Family Handyman. Like the caddy, you can also buy a magnetic bowl made for this purpose.
Add traction and padding
Finally, add a few easy pieces to your ladder to make it safer and more comfortable to use. First, you’ll want to make the rungs more secure with enhanced traction. You can find ladder rung covers or traction tape at your local hardware store or online. This will be especially helpful on cold, wet, icy days.
Once safety is taken care of, move on to comfort. You should never stand on the top three rungs of a freestanding ladder, and even on more secure ones you should avoid climbing all the way up. On the top steps where your hips and knees are likely to be leaning, attach a few pads. You can buy some online or cut down the side of a pool noodle to create a pad. In a pinch, cut up an old blanket and duct-tape it around those top rungs. This will help with the aching that goes with leaning your body weight against unforgiving wood or metal for hours.
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