Truck tarps are designed for tying down a load in the back of a pickup truck. You might think that this means you don't need one or two of these in your tool shed, but you would be wrong. Truck tarps are the perfect tool for many household chores. Here are a few ideas to get started.
Wrapping Your Air Conditioner for the Winter
Once you've finished cleaning your air conditioner in the fall, you may want to wrap it up to protect it from the ravages of snow and ice. While this isn't a required part of annual maintenance, every little bit you can do to keep your air conditioner running efficiently will help your budget when it comes to paying your energy bills in the summer. While you can purchase a special made cover from the air conditioner's manufacturer, you can make one yourself with a tarp and a few other accessories.
Once your air conditioner has dried completely, you can wrap it up in the tarp. Use bungee cords to wrap around the unit and secure the tarp in place. Be careful not to wrap the bungees around the coolant lines, as any tension can cause them to break and leak. Instead, check the insulation on the lines and replace if necessary. This is all you need to do for a basic cover, but if you get especially severe weather in the winter you may wish to go a step further. A sheet of plywood on top of the unit will help your air conditioner protected from even the worst winter has to offer. Either cut it to size and slide on top of the unit underneath the tarp, or use several bricks to weight it down so it won't blow away in the wind.
Floor Covering for Messy Projects
There are plenty of household projects that make a mess. Painting, crafting, and organizing make quite a mess that can damage your flooring if you don't protect it properly. One option is to purchase drop cloths that are specially made for this purpose. Alternatively, you can just use the tarps that you have already purchased. They will work just as well for most household tasks with a little bit of paint on them.
The type of tarp you use will depend on what kind of coverage you need and how messy the project is. If you are doing something like texturing your ceiling, the tarp will likely get so messy you can't use it for much else, so cheaper plastic tarps are warranted. For most other things, nicer canvas tarps are easier to work with and will hold up just fine.
Temporary Shelter From a Rainy Day
One of the most common uses for tarps, other than for assisting with chores, is as a way to make temporary shelter. Often these plans are designed for survival training, but a tarp works just as well for keeping the rain off your guests at your outdoor gathering as it does for staying dry out in the wilderness. Poles, ropes and stakes are the tools of this trade, and with just a couple you can create a shelter in almost any configuration you need. The keys are to find tie down points for the corners, use some way to support the structure, and remember to give the rain somewhere to go.
A tarp or two is actually a very useful tool to have in your arsenal. These ideas only break the surface of what you can use a tarp for. Once you've gotten used to having them on hand, you'll wonder how you ever got along without them.