Feel Safe and Empowered in Your Rental Space with this Essential Guide

Safe and Sound: A Renter-Friendly Guide to Home Repair lives up to its name. A guide to home maintenance very deliberately aimed at renters and marginalized communities, there’s this soothing and even tender emphasis on building a feeling of comfort and security. As author Mercury Stardust—whose viral DIY TikToks earned her the moniker “Trans Handy Ma’am”—puts it, “You are worth the time it takes to learn a new skill.”

In the actual content, this emphasis on independent learning shows up as many a guide to troubleshooting and diagnosing your problems before fixing them. For example, there’s a great walkthrough of repairing an off-kilter ceiling fan (pictured below), with concise and readable explanations for every problem and solution. This is a guide that also puts safety first, and gives good disclaimers on what kind of work (usually heavy-duty plumbing and electrical work) should be left to the real professionals.


Safe and Sound is also explicitly set up to be a reference guide, rather than something to be read from front to back. The bulk of the book is sorted by type of repair, like “Doors, Floors, and Cabinets” or just “Showers.” This is bookended quite literally by twin sections on moving in and out again, particularly for rented spaces. A clear organization system like this is meant to be read like a good cookbook: you can browse based on what you’ve got to find what you need.

Lastly, there’s that touching element of emotional support. Each chapter ends with a moment of reflection and a little bit of self-care homework, meant to serve as an oasis. Stardust notes that living and moving are hard! The tasks are complicated and the stakes of a safe and happy home can feel very high. But, she encourages a sense of agency and self-compassion. There’s an understanding that the panic-inducing experience of a toiler overflowing is regrettably universal, and rather than berate ourselves for not knowing better, we can learn to take care of it.

Emma S.
Library Assistant, Main Library

Emma's favourite part of working at the library is getting the chance to connect with so many people in the community. Her number of "oh hey!"s spoken to acquaintances has increased tenfold since she started working here! While at WPL, her favorite things to borrow are complex and lyrical stories balanced with warm themes and delivery. Epic high fantasy, tender romances and intriguing nonfiction all make the list. She has also been enjoying non-book offerings, especially the park passes. Away from WPL, she loves being outdoors to swim and rock climb, as well as eat her way through every good restaurant in KW.