Do-it-yourself jobs: How to avoid falling off the ladder

Here’s the thing about reaching new heights; Falling can also set records. I’ve seen someone with broken spines just fall off the kitchen steps, another with a whole xylophone made of broken ribs from changing a ball of light. Still, we have to step up something to achieve good, something else, from cobwebs to the missing Corningware.

We can talk about the garden heights another time when my spider phobia is under control. So yes, there are times when we always need to reach higher, we just need to think before we push our luck.


Painting high up is where you most often see people trying to “manage” with whatever they have at hand in order to reach the high places with as little effort as possible. It’s a false economy. It’s really. The time it takes to find a chair to stand on, change your mind, try a garden bench, realize it’s too dirty, go back to the chair but put a few books on it, your color must be reshuffled. All ad hoc methods result in instability at height, which will derail your painting jobs. If it’s normal ceiling height, it’s totally worth investing in a three-tier “stepladder” with a sturdy hand grip at the top for not much more than $100 – and you’ll have it for life. High ceilings and stairwells are more difficult, but as I always say, “If a job is worth doing, you don’t want to do it twice”. While I’m not a fan of paint pads, these straight edge painters on an extension pole are a gift from above, and you don’t have to put as much pressure on them once you get up a few levels. Amazon and hardware stores supply them.


Moving the ladder is one of the most frustrating parts of working at height. I swear this is more tiring than the actual job. It might not be a job you need to do more than once every few years, so investing in a giant ladder might not be worth it. Try to set exactly what you need; a goat with boards. It makes it so easy! A pair of six-foot trestles and two x four-foot planks cost about $114 a day at Kennards. If you have a huge room or even a hallway, you can get three trestles and twenty-foot boards for about $150 a day. The time and energy savings, as well as the quality of the end product, far outweigh the costs. Of course, if space is an issue you could get a tall ladder, and I’ll confess here that I’ve invested in one of those triple-pivoting contraptions that I’ve never, ever gotten to work and are causing more than a few heated, domestic discussions have. If you walk the ladder route – please be very careful; Always keep three points of contact with the ladder – always! Keep your mobile phone with you in case of emergencies and don’t rush.


If you haven’t used your serving platters in years, maybe that’s because they’re in the kitchens of the Alps. the upper cabinet. The upper cabinet holds a wealth of items you bought on sale, received as wedding gifts, or don’t fit anywhere else. It’s tedious getting up there though, so don’t do it. As we get older, we get smaller, so it’s time to get smarter. Clear the kitchen (and closet) of all “I’ll use this one day” items to make room, then migrate the contents of the top closet to human size. You’ll be amazed at what treats you forgot – it’ll be like a Kogan sale down your hallway.

If replacing that downlight globe is high on your “too difficult” list, remember you had kids for a reason. Get those six-foot-tall moochers to work (or hire someone), then stock up on floor and table lamps. The light is so much more flattering. Those cobwebs on the cornice?

Take the head off the vacuum and use the hose to suck them out of sight without much stretching. Finally, “claws” (trigger-operated mechanical hands) are really useful – and never fail to amuse the dog.

Originally published as The safe way to work in heights

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