A JUNE Bullet Journal for Your Home

Gene and Katie Hamilton

This is a busy time of year with graduations, family events and change of season chores, but use this list of 10 items – basically cleaning, maintaining and inspecting – to get off to a good summer of enjoying your home.

Some of these items are quickies, like giving the well-used garbage cans a good washing or replacing an AC filter or checking to see electrical cords are in good shape. Others take a little time, like power washing the siding and cleaning out the garage. These chores will keep your home and all its systems running smooth and efficiently throughout the season.

* Clean out and organize the basement
* Wash bedspreads and blankets
* Clean garbage cans
* Inspect electrical cords and plugs for signs of wear
* Check the color of the flame on gas water heater and range
* Inspect exterior exposed pipes for leaks and corrosion
* Clean dirty or mildew-covered siding and deck with a power washer
* Inspect and tune up garage door and opener mechanism and rubber seal gasket on bottom of the door
* Maintain lawn and garden beds by watering, mowing and weeding
* Replace air conditioner filter

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

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Use Outdoor Power Equipment Safely

Does your home and property house stop traffic? It can when it looks its best with a freshly cut lawn, manicured garden beds and trimmed shrubbery and bushes, sure signs it is well cared for. The pros at the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) have some sage advice to make that happen with these eight tips to help care for, store and use outdoor power equipment that will help you maintain your property. Read their suggestions (and follow them) so when you’re using outdoor power equipment you know you’re playing it safe.

***Read the operator’s manual to understand the controls of your equipment.

***Inspect your equipment for loose belts and missing or damaged parts. Drain and responsibly dispose of old oil and put in fresh oil before starting equipment that has been in long-time storage. Install clean air filters so your engine and equipment will run optimally.

***Have your lawn mower’s cutting blades sharpened so your mower will operate more efficiently, cutting your lawn cleaner and making it healthier.

*** Only allow responsible adults who are familiar with the instructions to operate the machine. Do not let children use outdoor power equipment.

*** Confirm the locations of pets and children, and ask that they be kept out of the area where you are working.

*** Clear the area. Remove debris, wires, branches, nails, rocks, or metal that may become projectiles if thrown by lawn mower blades and other equipment.

*** Wear substantial shoes, long pants and close-fitting clothes. You may want eye or hearing protection.

***Fill your gasoline tank only when the engine is cool. If you need to refuel before completing a job, turn off the machine and allow the engine to cool. Never light a match or smoke around gasoline.

Visit www.diyornot.com to compare the cost of doing it yourself with hiring a contractor for hundreds of improvement jobs.

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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 www.diyornot.com to compare the cost of doing a project yourself vs. hiring a contractor.

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Spring Yard Work

When warm weather arrives many of us feel a burst of energy to get outdoors and shake off being cooped up all winter. Being in the fresh air feels good so it’s an incentive to tidy up the yard and garden. Along with the yard and garden it’s the ideal time to take stock of the exterior of the house and property to see how it’s weathered the winter. Take a walk around the house and look for signs of damage and what needs repair.weathered the winter. Take a walk around the house and look for signs of damage and what needs repair.signs of damage and what needs repair.

Here’s a checklist of little or no skills required – jobs that
will keep your property looking its best.

Lawn and Garden
***Make a clean sweep of the property and remove fallen tree branches, twigs and debris. Use a rake and an old tarp to drag around and collect the debris and dispose of it.

***Give trees and shrubbery a good pruning and thinning to improve their overall health and appearance. Get advice from your local lawn and garden center.

***Pull weeds in garden beds and make a plan for adding new plants.
Give the lawn a dose of fertilizer and a good first cutting with a mower and trimmer looking for bare spots to fill in and weeds to pull.

***Use an edger to manicure the lawn and garden to separate flower beds from the lawn and keep creeping plants in their place.

House
***Sweep patios, decks and walkways and remove debris.
Use a power washer to clean patios, decks, kid’s outdoor equipment and any plastic or metal lawn furniture.

***Tune up the barbecue grill and lay in a supply of charcoal or propane so it’s ready to use.

***Get a bucket, heavy gloves and tall ladder to clean gutters and remove debris and dried leaves. Use a garden hose to flush them out and see that water runs to downspouts and into a splash block to keep water away from the foundation.

***When it’s raining, check out downspouts looking for any leaks and mark the leaks so you can fix them.

To find the cost of hundreds of improvement costs go to www.diyornot.com.

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Month of May Home Checklist

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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 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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Purge and Declutter with a Yard Sale

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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