Garage Sale Yard Sale

Just Do It – Have a Yard Sale

The thought of having a yard sale can be overwhelming but the end result is worth it – getting rid of stuff you no longer want or need. You’ll experience a sense of cleansing and renewal, not to mention the reward of found money along with being bone tired from the actual physical work involved.

So it’s not a question of should you have a yard sale it’s when. In our neighborhood the spring and fall are the most popular, and of course, when someone puts their house on the market for sale, there’s no better time to purge a household of its castoffs.

Friends of ours who are veterans at having yard sales schedule their sale with an annual community event which draws a lot of lookers. Then they take any unsold items to a thrift shop because they don’t want the stuff back. They’ve had the best success selling small items by displaying them on a table with a sign “Take any 4 for $1”. Before the sale they collect bags, boxes and newspapers to wrap breakable items and quarters and $1 and $5 bills for making change in a money box. Since there are two of them they tag items with different color dot stickers so they can identify and credit the seller. They say if you really want to get rid of something price it 80% below the original price.

Visit us at to find the cost of hundreds of home improvement and repair jobs and compare the cost of doing it yourself with hiring a contractor.

Covid-19 front line heroes homebound Lowes Lowes BuildTogether shelter in place Uncategorized

Say Thank You to Front Line Heroes from Your Home

Gene and Katie Hamilton

Show your support for all the front line heroes battling the pandemic every day with a message using objects you find at home – holiday or patio lights strung across a garage door, fence, porch, painted banners and posters, use anything you have – in a DIY moment of appreciation.

At this uneasy time I think all of us want to acknowledge the courageous work of the people on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic – all the hospital workers, the first responders and countless others who leave the safety of their homes and family to battle the virus.

Lowes has created an ingenious program inviting DIYers to join together in thanking the front line heroes working every day to support our communities. They call it a do-it-together moment of appreciation encouraging all of us to display thank you messages in our front yards, windows, porches, front yards and balconies to broadcast our support.

Here’s a link to their site where participants are encouraged to share their DIY thank you message on social media using the hashtag #BuildThanks.

Find ideas and inspiration for this growing collective project at

Do it yourself gardening Home and Garden Tune Ups Spring yard work Uncategorized

Think Spring on Easter Weekend and Jumpstart Yard Work

Gene and Katie Hamilton

A gardening optimist thinks about Springtime no matter what the weather is outside. To get yourself in the mood order a gardening magazine and some catalogs and warm up to the idea that you’ll be digging in the soil in the not too distant future. With that in mind consider these ideas to make the most of your lawn and garden with a list of tasks from Lowe’s Live Nursery Specialist Lester Poole and jumpstart your gardening plans.

1. START PLANNING: Think about the goal for your outdoor space. Is it entertaining, playing with the kids, gardening, or simply relaxing? Once you’ve got that down, draw a map of your property from a bird’s eye view on graph paper. Include your house, existing boundaries such as fences, outdoor utilities such as AC units and heat pumps, existing drains or irrigation systems, and any views you wish to preserve or hide. From there, use tracing paper (and your imagination) to draw your ideas, from a new garden to a gazebo or walkway.

2. GET EQUIPPED: Your tools might not be in tip-top shape after a season in the shed. Check your lawnmower blades, rakes, edgers, trimmers and pruners, and consider replacing them if they’re worn, bent or rusted.

3. DETHATCH YOUR YARD: It’s not uncommon that a layer of living and dead plant matter, known as thatch, has taken over your lawn after a long, cold winter. If the thatch on your yard is half an inch or thicker, it’s important to get out the dethatcher so air, water and nutrients can break though and help your grass grow.

4. FERTILIZE YOUR YARD: The later into the season you wait to fertilize, the less time your lawn has to mature and adapt to the upcoming season’s harsh conditions. Sow seed evenly, then rake it thoroughly to increase your chances of quality germination. You can also aerate your lawn after sowing, which further enhances seed contact with the soil. Springtime is the perfect time to begin fertilizing your shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer.

5. START PLANTING: Any vegetables or flowering plants can be planted indoors now to later be transplanted outside. If you’re eager to start digging outside, seedlings such as petunias, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage and winter peas are frost-resistant.

6. PREPARE FOR THE UNEXPECTED: You can’t predict the weather, but you can keep a watch on your area’s forecast and have protective materials at the ready. Stock up with a few frost blankets to place over tender, newly budding plants in case of a late frost, which help ensure the upcoming season’s success.

7. NIP PESTS IN THE BUD: With spring regrowth comes the pesky emergence of bugs and rodents. To get ahead on pest control, start by checking your home’s wood structures, foundation, and surrounding areas for damage, holes or cracks and standing pools of water in which pests thrive. If you see eggs, insects or other signs of infestation, consult your local Lowe’s gardening expert to determine the best course of action before purchasing pesticides.

Gene and Katie Hamilton
April Home Checklist April Home Maintenance Checklist

April Home Checklist

A007Many of us are home for the duration of the Covid-19 virus so it’s a good idea to make inspections and clean and maintain some of the well used systems of your home. Take a look at these 11 chores and make your own list of what needs to be done to make your home clean and fresh and ready for warmer weather.

* Replace filters or wash permanent ones in heating system
* Change batteries in carbon monoxide and smoke alarms
* Clean out and organize the attic
* Clean and inspect gutters and downspouts
* Inspect the siding and foundation for damage from pests, cracks or weather
* Inspect insulation for gaps and remove vent covers
* Inspect heat pump or air conditioning unit and clear debris
* Clean out fireplace and wood stove and have chimney and flue cleaned
* Tune up gas grill, lawn mower and other power equipment
* Turn on outdoor water spigots
* Apply pre-emergent on lawns to curb growth of weeds

If you’re considering any lawn and home improvement jobs visit us at and find the cost of doing it yourself compared with the cost of hiring a contractor.


Make an E-plan for Your House While Kids E-learn

Do the days seem longer as you continue to be sequestered at home because of the spread of covid-19? Yes, many have enjoyed more time with the kids and that’s a good thing. Being sheltered in place has created new routines like using curbside pickup at a favorite restaurant and trying home schooling techniques to keep those little brains working. But what about parents? While kids are e-learning we can do some home project e-planning with the help of a good internet connection.

This idea rises after you’ve decluttered closets, sorted bookshelves and kitchen drawers, and even brought a semblance of order to the catchall caves below bath and kitchen sink cabinets. After binge-watching the high drama episodes of home renovators on HGTV, take a breath and make a plan for your own home and garden.

Planning a home project is good exercise that helps you define the room or space you envision with what you need and what you want. A search engine can lead you to the information.

To make a plan for a project begin with a sketch on paper or use an online design tool to help you visualize. Just type “design a room” or “design a deck” whatever you’re considering in a search and follow the links.

Maybe it’s a stone path you envision meandering through your garden. Use our Cost to Install a Stone Path to learn how much to budget and what’s involved.

Wondering about upgrading your kitchen with new appliances? Use this advice about the life expectancy of appliance before you decide to buy all new ones Life Expectancy of Major Home Appliances.

Always wanted to tap the potential of your basement and make it more liveable? Read about Evaluating Your Basement’s Potential to help you decide.

If you’re considering a bathroom makeover – no matter how large or small – requires planning. Here’s good advice Primer for a Bathroom Makeover.

And finally, maybe your first stop should be and click “Visit”. Type “basement ideas” or whatever you’re looking for in the Search bar and you’ll find a wealth of creative ideas to get you inspired and amazed at the potential in your home.


Easy DIY Jobs for Homebound Homeowners

Gene and Katie Hamilton

I overheard a woman stocking shelves at the grocery store happy to be at work. “If my husband, grandson and I were stuck home for two weeks, someone would get injured,” she said. Those of us in the aisle all laughed with one customer agreeing.  If you’re going stir crazy at home and enjoying plenty of quality time with the kids, why not take advantage of being there to check off some of those nasty little chores you’ve been avoiding. People much more organized than I am tell us how to organize our closets, basements and garages, purging away unused and unwanted items, but I’m suggesting you take it a step further and fix and repair things.

I took a look at some of the job costs for minor repairs and quick fixes and found some easy chores worth doing because you can pocket a nice savings compared with hiring a handyman. With major home centers and hardware stores open for the materials you need, you can order them online or pick up at a local store.

Here are five quick fixes you can do. Some are so small you’d have trouble finding a handyman to do them unless you combine several jobs to make it worth the trip to your house.

Caulk windows. Caulk 6 double-hung windows for $65, the cost of caulk and a caulk gun. You’ll save energy and money heating and cooling your home.

Repair a torn screen. For $20 bucks you can buy what you need to remove the torn screen and replace it with new screening and a splining tool (looks like a pizza cutter) to secure the material in place.

Repair wallboard. That hole behind the kitchen table chair or bathroom door is easy to repair but needs time between the sequence of steps so it’s a nuisance job for a contractor. For $17 buy a wallboard repair kit and patching compound and use a putty knife and sandpaper to make the fix. For damage to textured wallboard get a drywall repair tool with templates to match the texture and patching compound, both about $40.

Repair a toilet. Toilet not working right? Use a toilet repair kit which includes the replacement parts for $75 and tune up the toilet. To diagnose the problem go to

Repair a garden hose. A bent fitting (easily crushed by a car tire) makes the hose useless but you can replace the fitting. Buy one for under $10 and use a utility knife and adjustable wrench to remove the old fitting and slide the new collar over the hose and secure it.

My friend Martha went the whole nine yards. What began as taking inventory of canned goods evolved into a major job of first removing them all, then washing and painting the walls and shelves of the pantry. That’s impressive.

Enjoy spending time with your family at home and get satisfaction from knowing you can make repairs to your home, no matter how small or large.


MARCH Home Checklist – 9 Things To Do This Month


    These 9 items concentrate on making sure the systems of your home are in good working order and keeping them in that condition. Inside jobs involve getting rid of things you don’t use and cleaning and freshening things that you do. If weather permits you can go outdoors and prim and trim tree branches that may have fallen and prune away any dead or broken limbs.

    • Replace filters or wash permanent ones in heating system
    • Flush vinegar through clothes washer to remove soap scum
    • Unclutter clothes closet
    • Clean out refrigerator
    • Clean and organize bathroom cabinet, drawers and closet
    • Check batteries in emergency flashlights
    • Lubricate, test and clean sump pump in basement or crawl space
    • Clean, oil and sharpen lawn tools
    • Prune dead and broken tree limbs

Visit us at to compare the cost of hundreds of improvement projects and decide to do it yourself or hire a contractor.

February Homeowner's Checklist

February Homeowner’s Checklist

These inspections and maintenance chores will keep your heating and hot water systems working at peak capacity, the other suggestions will keep the rest of the house clean and maintained.

  • Replace filters or wash permanent ones in heating system
  • Remove sediment from build up in hot water heater tank; if it’s warm to the touch, cover the tank with a water heater blanket
  • Clean the exterior of range hood and its filter
  • Clean range and oven
  • Reorganize contents inside kitchen cabinets
  • Clean inside and exterior of kitchen cabinets
  • Inspect the attic for signs of roof leaks, condensation or frost build up and clear vents
  • Remove and clean the intake screens of clothes washer water supply hoses
  • Remove snow and ice from evergreens

If you’re considering any home improvement jobs visit us at and find the cost of doing it yourself compared with the cost o hiring a contractor.

Gene and Katie Hamilton
DIY Uncategorized

What’s in a Basic Homeowner Tool Box?

Just the basics – tools, that is, to have in every home. These are so practical you probably already acquired some of them even if you’ve always been a renter. Keep these 18 tools together, in a 5-gallon bucket, plastic crate or tool bag so you don’t have to hunt for them when needed. Here’s a list of tools we think should be in everyone’s closet or wherever you decide to store them.

duct tape You’ll find duct tape is the solution to everything from temporarily patching shattered glass or a torn screen to wrapping the sole of a flapping gym shoe around the top of the shoe.

safety mask Whenever you use chemicals i.e. painting, refinishing, etc, put on a respirator mask to avoid accidently inhaling toxic fumes.

wire cutters You’ll use these plier-like cutters designed to cut wire and small nails whether you’re running wires to or from an entertainment center or working with with wire to repair a small appliance.

safety googles Wear safety googles when you’re pounding a nail with a hammer, working with chemicals or doing any projects using striking tools to protect your eyes.

claw hammer Hanging pictures, removing nails, whatever the job, a claw hammer is a necessary tool that doubles as a meat tenderizer when covered with aluminum foil or plastic wrap.

screwdrivers A blade screwdriver fits into a single screw slot and a Phillips head screwdriver has two intersecting slots, both fasten pieces of wood or material together and come in various sizes.

cordless power screwdriver This battery-operated tool is a small handheld driver with both blade and Phillips head screwheads.

 plunger The rubber suction cup on a wooden stick is used to force out clogs in plumbing lines like a toilet or drain.

slip-joint pliers This adjustable pliers allows a range of adjustments to grip something firmly.

adjustable wrench This tool will loosen and tighten nuts and bolts and ease the lid off a jar.

caulking gun This pistol-like dispenser made of metal or plastic is designed for caulk or adhesive in a cartridge.

torpedo level Use to adjust the height of an appliance, shelf or picture by holding it either horizontally or vertically.

flashlight On countless occasions a flashlight will lead you out of darkness, direct light in a dark corner of a cabinet and help you get a look at difficult to reach places.

steel tape measure Choose one with a thumb lock to keep the tape from rewinding and use to measure rooms, furniture, closet space, garden beds and more.

hacksaw If you need to cut metal a hacksaw makes quick work of the chore.

Allen wrench A set of these wrenches lets you assemble knock-down furniture and any “some assembly required” items.

utility knife This pistol grip knife cuts floor tiles, trims wallpaper and opens heavy cardboard boxes just to name a few household chores.

household scissors Cut everything – wallpaper, fabric, shelf liner, tape of all kinds – with a basic pair of household scissors.

Visit us at to compare the cost of doing a project yourself vs. hiring a contractor.

Gene and Katie Hamilton
DIY Do it yourself Plumbing repairs

First-time DIY Plumbing Repairs

You’d be surprised at how easy some basic plumbing repairs can be and how much you will save by doing them yourself. We’re not talking major plumbing work that requires the skills and tools of a professional plumber, we’re suggesting need-to-know jobs you can complete without a big investment in tools and materials.

If you’re a homeowner these are life skills you’ll be glad you have that involve repairs and replacements in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry and basement that keep your water systems working, conserve water and prevent water damage. Even if there was no plumber in your family, there’s no reason you can’t learn these simple tasks a homeowner is called on to do. Plus you’ll enjoy saving money and the satisfaction of doing it yourself.

Goof-proof Plumbing Repairs

1. Save 74% and repair a toilet by replacing parts that over time wear out and deteriorate.

2. Insurance agents tell us there’s a lot of claims for water damage due to cracked washing machine hoses. Make this replacement and save 71% for your work.

3. Conserve water and still enjoy a refreshing shower with a new showerhead and pocket a 61% savings for making the swap.

4. If you’ve ever had a flooded basement you know how important it is to replace a sump pump that takes away the water . You’ll save 59% by making the replacement.

5. You can’t afford not to try unclogging a sink drain and save 84% before calling in a pro.

Compare the cost of hundreds of home repairs and improvements at