Garage Sale, Yard Sale, Whatever You Call It – It’s a Good Idea

Gene and Katie Hamilton

Gene and Katie Hamilton

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 www.diyornot.com to find the cost of hundreds of home improvement and repair jobs and compare the cost of doing it yourself with hiring a contractor.

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Inside Story: A Visit to Home Depot

Husky Flashlight Working Frozen in Ice

Recently we were part of a group of 80 home improvement editors, writers and bloggers in Atlanta at a Home Depot press event. We visited the massive office complex and toured the Testing & Innovation Lab where their private brands are tested. We saw a Husky ratcheting tie-down, designed to secure loads to a truck or trailer, being put through a test. The tie-down is rated to hold a 500 lb load in place; so to assure it is up to the task they test its breaking strength in the lab. A machine stretches the tie-down until it breaks, which in this case, took over 1500 lbs, more than three times the rated load. In addition to product strength they test for consistent materials to assure the tool meets specifications. The type of plastic and metal used in the tool is tested with a device that does a spectrum analysis of the material.

Everything is tested, the strength of a fabric tool bag was filled with a load of weights weighing many time its rate capacity. All interesting stuff. We joked that the lab resembled the armament lab in an old James Bond movie. We heard the bang of belts snapping, and packages being crushed and dropped from all corners of the lab.

We took a walk through the HD Museum dating back to the late 1970s when Bernard Marcus, Arthur Blank and Pat Farrah, brought new meaning to the term “big box” . The story is that Marcus and Blank were fired in 1978 from Handy Dan’s Home Improvement Centers in California; the next year in 1979 they opened their first Home Depot in Atlanta. Today there are 2,200+ stores in three countries where the orange apron is their familiar icon.

Another day we attended the ProSpective Immersion Tool Event where tool manufacturers like Husky, Ryobi, Milwaukee, Rigid, Makita, Dremel and many more displayed new hand and power tools with hands on demos. Each tool group was in a space framed out in 2x4s where vendors told us about the latest innovations and new design features. We picked up tools, used them and caused quite a ruckus getting a feel for what the tools can do. This was not a quiet event with powerful drills, saws, sanders and grinders working out. And the smell of freshly cut lumber, sawdust and sanded wood added to the buzz creating a realistic workshop atmosphere.

We came away impressed that the Depot is more than a mega hardware store. Their behind-the-scene testing gives them the confidence to stand behind their products.

Visit us at www.diyornot.com to find the cost of home improvements and compare doing it yourself with hiring out the job.

 

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Gift Ideas for a D-I-Y Mom

Is your Mom a do-it-yourselfer? Here are some gift ideas for gardening and decorating that she’ll probably enjoy. They’re clever and useful products that make a special gift for any handy mom. The best part is she’ll smile and think of you every time she uses them.

She Sheds: A Room of Your Own is a book of ideas found in 23 small spaces designed for a busy woman to read, snooze, be creative, or whatever she wants to do in a place of her own. Think of it as a man cave and you’ll get the idea. Find countless ways illustrated in sheds from around the world that create a well planned escape to pursue your passion. It’s sold online and at bookstores for $25.

The solar-powered Edyn Garden Sensor detects soil moisture, humidity and sunlight exposure when used with its companion app on a cell phone. No matter where she is, she has access to a real time snapshot so she knows the condition of the soil. You’ll find it for about $100 at Home Depot.

She can take on any tough yard cleanup work with a Compact Billhook – a what? It’s a specialty tool used for trimming shoots and stems, dividing plants and any strong-arm pruning jobs in the garden. You can buy Fiskar’s compact clearing billhook for about $30 where garden tools are sold.

Here are two nifty gifts for container plants. Drain-Smart at www.drain-smart.com makes container drainer discs that fits into a container and encourages faster drainage and prevents root-rot. (3 pk of 3×12-inch discs $20).

Pot Risers are invisible pot feet that support containers and statuary. They elevate a pot to prevent staining and rotting of decks and patios and promote better drainage. Learn more at www.potrisers.com. A 6-pack of risers for 4-5 pots is $14. Both products are made of recyled material and are available at http://www.amazon.com.

If Mom likes painting projects consider any of these Handy Paint Products. Choose from a variety of painting aids $3-$15 www.handypaintproducts.com

Another painting aid that Mom will appreciate is an easy way to cover up a wet brush or roller in an airtight container until it’s time to paint again. The handy Paint Brush Cover ($5) and Roller Cover ($7) are available at www.thepaintbrushcover.com.

Coloring to Decorate is a canvas and frame kit of coloring designs for adults in sizes ranging from 10×12 to poster size. Go to www.coloringtodecorate.com for more information.

The new Black +Decker Garden Cultivator efficiently breaks up soil to allow water and nutrients to reach plant roots while counter oscillating tines prevent weeds from tangling. The soft grip, adjustable handle and upright design provide comfort and limit fatigue when cultivating. Works to easily prepare bare patches in your lawn before seeding, too. ($90) True Value, Ace and others.

Find the cost of hundreds of improvement jobs and compare the cost of doing it yourself with hiring a contractor at www.diyornot.com.

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Home Checklist for May

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Take a look at these 13 items to get your house and garden in good shape. While the weather is getting warmer we’re all drawn outside to get busy cleaning out the weeds and fertilizing the garden beds. In the meantime there’s plenty to do inside the house to get it ready for summer.

So now’s a good time to inspect and clean up your house, both inside and out. But take it one step at a time and you’ll be finished well before Memorial Day at the end of the month. It involves looking for damage from the winter weather and freshening up the interior and uncluttering. Weather permitting, you’ll be able to get out in the yard and get busy.

      • Tune up portable and central air conditioners
      • Clean and tune up ceiling, exhaust and bath fans to maximize air flow
      • Unclutter clothes closet and sort and store seasonal clothes
      • Wash window glass, frames and sill and lean out weep-holes in window sliders
      • Wash and change storm door and window panels to screens
      • Wash window curtains and blinds
      • Clean deck and protect with sealer
      • Inspect driveway and walkways for winter damage
      • Clear outdoor vent of lint build up in clothes dryer
      • Clean and set up outdoor furniture, cushions and lawn equipment
      • Rake lawn and garden beds to remove winter debris
      • Prepare garden beds and plant containers with fertilizer and plantings
      • Fill in bare spots of lawn with grass seed

Visit us at www.diyornot.com to find the cost of home fixups projects like these and compare doing it yourself with hiring out the job.

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Spring Into Spring Cleaning

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Here’s advice about getting your home sparkling clean and organized for Spring from our readers and the folks at Bissell. These ideas will freshen your rooms so they sparkle and shine shedding all signs of being closed up for the winter. Don’t plan to tackle these ten steps all at one time. Figure on spending a few hours at a time and before you know it you’ll be starting the new season with a squeaky clean home.

It starts with making a plan to create a cleaning checklist that outlines tasks for every room. As you move from room to room, you’ll feel encouraged and motivated as you check items off your list.

Before you begin, go through each room and closet and declutter, donate or toss what you’re no longer using.

  1. Create an Enjoyable Work Environment. Turn on the radio, make a playlist of upbeat music to keep you energized through your cleaning routine or select an audiobook to keep your brain engaged while you clean.
  2. Open the Windows. When the weather permits let fresh air into the home and reduce the smell of cleaning supplies.
  3. Go from High to Low. Clean from the upstairs down and from top to bottom in a room. Dust and wash down surfaces before moving to vacuuming or mopping. This way, you won’t drop dust or crumbs on an already clean floor.
  4. Find Your Vacuum’s Extension Tool. Use it to clean hard-to-reach nooks and crannies, behind and under furniture, baseboards, window blinds, ceiling corners, and light fixtures.
  5. Clean Appliances. Wash the dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer and washing machine inside and out, including knobs and buttons. Also, wash or replace filters and other parts as needed.
  6. Spot Clean Well-used Surfaces. Remove handprints on doors and handles of kitchen cabinets, room doors and exterior doors.
  7. Clean the Windows. Before washing the glass, wipe away dirt in the sill and channels.
  8. Clean the Floors. Wash all the floors and vacuum rugs and carpeting.

For more advice click here for our database of HOME HINTS & TIPS from our readers at www.diyornot.com.

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April Home To Do List

A007 At this time of year it’s a good idea to take some time 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 www.diyornot.com and find the cost of doing it yourself compared with the cost of hiring a contractor.

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Choices in Attic Flooring

An unfinished attic offers additional storage space especially for seldom used or must-save household items. With access to the attic in place, consider finishing the space to accommodate all that stuff with flooring panels or decking material and turn unused space into a well organized storage area.

First, consider the construction of the house. If your house was built with roof trusses forget about using the space for additional storage because it was designed to support the roof, not weaken it with more weight.
If the roof is supported by ceiling joists built to support the ceiling in the rooms below, not necessarily a heavy load in the attic, talk to a contractor or building engineer to appraise the attic space to decide if it’s a candidate for flooring.

Before you begin consider the challenge of working in the small, low confines of an attic, which is not a trivial concern when you realize you’ll be working on your knees most of the time. (Wear knee pads!)

Flooring panels made of wood or composite wood are one choice installed by securing them to the floor joists. These can be 4×8 plywood sheets which are cut and trimmed to maneuver up and into the tight confines of an attic. For instructions go to The Plywood.com.

Decking material squares are lightweight and comes in sizes of 16-inch and 24-inch designed to be installed directly to the top of floor joists. Attic Deck Panels at Improvements catalog are rigid panels that fit together and are secured with screws. Another choice is a material that you slide and lock slats together, roll them out and lock in place www.lockandrollin.com.

You’ll find several attic flooring solutions by typing “attic deck panels” in any search engine.

Find the cost of hundreds of improvement jobs and compare the cost of doing it yourself with hiring a contractor at www.diyornot.com.

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