Super Spackle/Post-it lifehack

There’s nothing super about this, really, but I’m all about the SEO.

Actually, what this is is a recognition of how stupid I’ve been for for the past 19 years.

We’ve been in this house since the summer of ’92, and I’m pretty sure I’ve had at least one painting project, large or small, every year since. Often, the walls need a little spackling 1 because they’ve been dented somehow, usually by a ladder I’ve clumsily knocked into the wall during an earlier painting project.

Now, the right way to repair walls is to inspect them thoroughly and do all the spackling before you start painting. I’ve found, however, that my pre-painting inspections suck; the only time I’m really good at finding holes and dents is when I’m painting over them. So I’ve resigned myself to a paint/repair/repaint workflow.

The repainting is the hardest part of this workflow. Because most of our walls are some form of off-white 2, if the light isn’t just right I can’t easily distinguish the spackled areas from the background color. I usually miss one or two spots during the repainting, which means I have to re-repaint. Today, though, I finally did something smart.

Post-it note reminders for repainting

I had a pad of small post-it3 notes with me as I spackled, and I put one near every repair. Now I won’t miss any when I go back tomorrow to sand and repaint. It’s taken me only 19 years to figure this out.


Another thing that’s taken me 19 years to do is repair a bit of damaged drywall next to an outlet in our upstairs hall.

Damaged drywall

The drywall next to this outlet has been bulged ever since we moved in. The outlet’s cover plate never sat flat against the wall because the wall itself wasn’t flat. It’s been bothering me all that time, although obviously not bothering me enough to do anything about it until today.

When I popped the bulged part off with a utility knife, I was unsurprised to find that the damage was due to crappy installation of the outlet box. The hardware on the right side of the box had dug into the wallboard and split it, causing the bulge.

This is going to take a couple of coats of spackle to fill, but the cover plate will finally sit flat against the wall when I’m done.

First spackling of hole

Of the many things in this house that aren’t quite right, this was pretty far down the list, but it bothered me every time I plugged something into that outlet. With another round of spackling and some sanding and painting, I’ll have one less annoyance.


  1. I know I shouldn’t be treating the word Spackle® generically. I know the folks who make that fine ready to use surfacing product need to defend their registered trademark against the kind of use I just put it to. I deeply apologize for the misuse. Moreover, I encourage every one of you to look for Spackle® brand ready to use wall surfacing products the next time you are at your local hardware store looking for a ready to use wall surfacing product. When it comes to ready to use wall surfacing products, you can never go wrong buying genuine Spackle®. ↩︎

  2. E.g., Crisp Linen White, Oyster Shell, Swan White, Vanilla Shake, Glistening Moonlight, Eloquent Ivory. ↩︎

  3. I know I shouldn’t be treating the word Post-it® generically. I know the folks who make that fine repositionable adhesive product need to defend their registered trademark against the kind of use I just put it to. I deeply apologize for the misuse. Moreover, I encourage every one of you to look for Post-it® brand repositionable adhesive products the next time you are at your local office supply store looking for a repositionable adhesive product. When it comes to repositionable adhesive products, you can never go wrong buying genuine Post-it®. ↩︎