Uses for a Chalkboard Paint in your Garage

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Tue, Jan 27, 2015


Do you spend way too much time searching for simple items in your garage? Does it take you 15 minutes to find a pair of work gloves or a hammer? If so, chalkboard paint can add some organization to the area. Simply put the chalkboard paint on a flat surface like a wall, a shelf, or a table. Once the project is finished, you can write on it with a piece of chalk. You can either make your own chalkboard paint or purchase a bottle at a craft store. Consider some of the creative ways you can use chalkboard paint to help organize the items in your garage.

Organize Your Workbench Area

Use chalkboard paint to create a reminder board on the wall just above your workbench. You can make lists of materials to buy, make note of measurements related to woodworking projects, and more! With the help of chalkboard paint, you'll have easy access to all of your important notes and measurements.

Label Storage Shelves

Chalkboard paint is helpful for keeping track of the items on the shelves in your garage. You can either paint the edge of a shelf or its entire surface. For example, you may write labels for garden clippers, watering cans, extra plastic bags, and clean rags. When you want to rearrange the items on the shelves or add new ones, you can simply erase your label and create another. I recommend you use colorful chalk so you can easily see the labels on all of the shelves.

Organize a Storage Cabinet for Paint

Using chalkboard paint on the inside door of a metal cabinet in the garage can help you to keep an inventory of your house paint. Simply organize the paint cans inside the cabinet and write down each color on the door. That way, you can open the door and see what type of paint you have before making a trip to the local hardware store for more!

Keep Kids Away From Dangerous Items

Perhaps there is one corner of the garage where you keep items that you don't want kids to touch. For instance, you may have a broken mirror that you plan to dispose of or a chair with a broken seat stored there. Use chalkboard paint to make a sign on the wall warning your kids to stay away from these items.

Display Prices at Your Garage Sale

If you host a garage sale every year, you can use chalkboard paint to create a colorful sign for displaying prices. You could put the chalkboard paint on a rectangular piece of wood or canvas. You may even choose to put the sign in an attractive frame to hang on the garage wall. The shoppers who visit your garage sale are sure to notice your prices on this unique board!

Finally, chalkboard paint is useful if you want to set up an area in the garage where your kids and their friends can draw, color, and write to their heart's content. Some people cover entire walls with chalkboard paint so they can change their wall décor on a regular basis. Now, that's using your creativity! Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: organize your garage

What To Do With Old Items Replaced During The Holidays

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Fri, Jan 23, 2015


I hope that you enjoyed the holidays in the company of family and friends. If you're fortunate enough to have some new pieces of furniture or appliances, you may be wondering what to do with the old items. Well, there are several ways that you can get rid of those old appliances or items of furniture without hauling them to the curb on garbage day. Consider a few simple ideas:

Recycling Appliances

In the past, old, broken appliances used to end up in a landfill to rust and fall apart. Today, it's possible to recycle old appliances so the metal can be used to make other items. Refrigerators, washing machines, clothing dryers, microwaves, toasters, and coffee makers are just a few of the appliances that can be recycled. The first step is to find an appliance recycling center in your area. You can do this by conducting an online search or calling your city or county government office. Some organizations will pick up large appliances, while others require you to transport both large and small appliances to the recycling center. Some retail stores that sell large appliances will offer to haul away your old appliance and make sure it is recycled. I recommend you ask about this service whenever you purchase a large appliance from a store.

Donating Furniture and Appliances

You may be reading my blog from the comfort of a brand new easy chair. Meanwhile, your old easy chair is sitting out in the garage waiting to find a new home. One option is to donate it to a charity. Many charities such as Goodwill resell old furniture and clothing items. The organization uses the money to benefit those in need. Be sure to vacuum and clean any old chairs or sofas before turning them over to a charity. Once again, some charities may offer to pick up large items such as sofas and dining room tables, while others require people to drop off their donations at a particular location. If your refrigerator, coffee maker, or other appliance is still in good working condition, consider donating it. Charitable organizations give furniture and reliable appliances to families and individuals who need them. There are even some organizations that repair old appliances to distribute them to those in need.

Selling Old Items

Another option is to sell old appliances or items of furniture that are in good condition. Placing an online classified ad is an effective way to sell an item to someone in your area. You can even post photos that show different angles of your sofa, refrigerator, etc. Most people communicate with potential buyers via email or over the phone.

Finally, consider giving your old appliances or furniture to family members or friends in need. Maybe your nephew and his new wife need a washing machine or kitchen table to complete their expanding household. Perhaps you have a child or young neighbor who could use your old mini-refrigerator in their college dorm room next semester. You'll enjoy your new appliances and furniture all the more knowing that your old items are not going to waste. Thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: donate or sell those old items

Maintaining Your Pergola In The Winter

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Fri, Jan 9, 2015


There is nothing like gathering with friends under your pergola to enjoy an iced tea on a warm summer afternoon. Or you may love sitting under your pergola in the springtime admiring the flowers in your garden. As the leaves start to change color and fall off of the trees, you know it's time to prepare your pergola for the winter months. Naturally, you want your structure to stay in great condition so you can enjoy it when the warm weather season rolls around again. Take a look at a few simple things you can do to keep your pergola in fine shape throughout the winter.

Sweeping the Area

The first thing to do to prepare your pergola for the winter months is to sweep the leaves, dirt, and other debris off the floor. Make sure that you knock down any cobwebs that are tucked away in the corners of your structure. As you sweep the floor, take a close look at the posts of the pergola as well as its struts and beams. If the pergola is made of wood, you're looking for spots of mold and mildew. This information will prove helpful for the next step of the winter preparation process.

Cleaning Your Pergola

Use a garden hose to spray down your structure. This removes accumulated dirt and dust from either a wooden or vinyl pergola. If you have mildew on your wooden pergola, use a mild detergent or mildew remover to clean it. I strongly suggest that you use a soft-bristled brush to avoid scratching the surface of the structure. Next, rinse off any excess detergent once the mildew is gone. Whether you live in an area of the country that receives lots of rain or several feet of snow in the wintertime, the moisture can lead to mildew growth. That's why it's a good idea to look for mildew and clean it off before the winter months arrive.

Staining Your Pergola

You may have a wooden pergola that is pre-stained. If not, staining your pergola protects the wood from the rain and snowfall of the winter months. When moisture seeps into wood, it makes it expand and contract, causing permanent damage. If you want to stain your pergola, I recommend you do it before the cold weather arrives. In addition to protecting your structure, a coat of stain can make your wooden pergola look even more appealing to visitors!

Things to Do Throughout Winter

Once winter arrives, there are a few more things you can do to maintain the condition of your pergola. For instance, if you see the snow starting to pile up on the rafters of your pergola, use a broom to knock it off. This lessens the weight on your structure and doesn't allow the snow to freeze to your rafters. Also, when the snow starts to accumulate near the posts of your pergola, sweep or shovel it away. In short, take advantage of any opportunity to move snow away from your structure.

I hope these tips help you to keep your pergola in great shape over the winter! Thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: maintaining your pergola in winter

Storing Christmas Lights To Prevent Tangles

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Sun, Jan 4, 2015


'Storing Items in Your Metal Building for the Season'

Putting up Christmas decorations is a longtime tradition of many families. You may love to put an evergreen wreath on your front door each December or perhaps you place a single candle in every window of your home. A Christmas tree, ornaments and lights are all familiar sights through the windows of many homes this time of year. If you put lights on your Christmas tree or even on the outside of your home, it's likely that you've dealt with tangled strings of lights. The strings may have become tangled while in storage or maybe they were tangled before they went into the storage box. Either way, untangling strings of Christmas lights is time-consuming, aggravating work. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to keep your strings of Christmas lights from tangling. Here are some ideas:

Storing Christmas Lights to Prevent Tangles

Cardboard Storage Solutions

One simple idea for storing your Christmas lights begins with a piece of cardboard about 20 inches long and 12 inches wide. Use a knife to make two or three slits in both the top and bottom edges of the cardboard. Leave about three inches of space between the slits. Next, take one end of a string of lights and push it into one of the slits on the bottom edge. Pull the string upward and put it through the opposite slit at the top of the cardboard. The goal is to wrap the entire length of light string around the cardboard. The slits serve to keep the light strings from coming loose and tangling. Using scotch tape, secure each end of the light string to the cardboard. After the strings are secured, put the cardboard in a big shopping bag or a clear plastic container with a label.

Bagging Up Your Lights

The next option is to store each of your light strings in a large, clear plastic bag with a zipper at the top. Carefully coil up one string of lights, slide the coil into a bag and close the zipper. Storing your strings of Christmas lights this way guarantees that they won't get tangled up. Plus, you can clean and reuse the plastic bags each year. I recommend you label each one so the empty bags won't be thrown away or used for some other purpose.

Securing Your Light Strings

Another way to keep your light strings separated is to secure each one with a zip tie. Plastic zip ties are available in hardware stores and even in your local grocery store. First, coil up one string of lights and secure it in three places with plastic zip ties. This method keeps your light strings from getting twisted together when you place them inside a plastic container with a lid. When it comes time to decorate again, all you need to do is cut the zip ties off each string of lights.

I hope these suggestions prove helpful when it comes time to take down the Christmas lights this year. Remember, taking a few extra minutes to store your strings of Christmas lights can help you to avoid a lot of frustration when it's time to decorate next year! Thanks for reading.-Alan

Topics: Storing Christmas Lights in Your Metal Building

7 Ways To Maximize The Storage Space In Your Garage

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Mon, Dec 22, 2014


"Make the Most of Your Garage Space"

Have you ever stood in your driveway wondering how you're going to get your car into the garage? You see boxes, trash cans, sports equipment, tools and bicycles, but no space for your automobile. If you have this issue, you're going to love this week's blog! Take a look at seven ways to maximize the storage space in your garage so you can put your car back where it belongs.

7 Ways to Maximize the Storage Space in Your Garage

  1. Reuse an Old Garbage Can. Try storing all of the kids' baseball bats, softball bats, tennis rackets and field hockey sticks in an old metal garbage can. This will keep the bats and other equipment out from underfoot and the kids will be able to find them right away when the warm weather comes around again.
  2. Invest in a Durable Metal Shelf. A simple four tier metal shelf can hold and organize a lot of small items in your garage. For instance, you could use one shelf for muddy boots and shoes. Another shelf could be home to clay flower pots, watering cans and small garden tools. Other ideas for things to put on your four tier shelf include work goggles, a small bag of cat litter, seed packets, a portable battery charger and bottles of motor oil or antifreeze.
  3. A Container for the Garden Hose. Trying to wrap a lengthy garden hose into a neat coil is an extremely frustrating task. You may even end up throwing the hose onto the garage floor where it takes up about four feet of space. I recommend you keep your garden hose in a pot. You can find garden hose pots of clay, metal and even copper-plated ones. A hose pot helps to keep your garden hose in good condition and takes up very little room on the garage floor.
  4. Put Up a Pegboard. If you already have a pegboard in your garage, then you're ahead of the game! You can hang hand tools on a pegboard along with small plastic containers full of nails, screws, nuts, washers, etc. A pegboard is a versatile item that is great for keeping items organized and off the floor.
  5. Purchase Some Wall Hooks. Putting durable hooks on your garage wall is an effective way to store the tools that you use every day. You can get hooks that hold rakes, brooms and shovels. There are even hooks designed to hold wheelbarrows. Also, if you have several bicycles that are taking up space in your garage, try looking for bicycle hooks. Hang your kid's bicycle on the wall and it won't end up under the wheels of your car.
  6. Select a Plastic Cabinet with Drawers. A durable, plastic cabinet with three or four drawers can be the perfect place to store items away from mice and other rodents that may find shelter in your garage. Work gloves, deflated pool toys, clean rags and work aprons are all things to put into your plastic drawers.
  7. Utilize Overhead Racks. Many garages have overhead racks located near the garage door. I suggest you use this space for plastic bins filled with lightweight items such as pool toys, old clothes, tennis balls and holiday decorations. Keep these items safe and out of the way at the same time.

These are just a few suggestions to get you started. Happy organizing and thanks for reading.-Alan

Topics: storage space in garage

Creative Ways to Store Presents Away From Curious Eyes

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Tue, Dec 16, 2014


'Keeping Presents Hidden Until Christmas Day'

Part of the fun of giving Christmas gifts to loved ones is seeing the look of joy and surprise on their faces when they tear off the wrapping paper. However, if your loved ones sneak a peek at their gifts before Christmas day, they may not look quite so surprised when they open them. So, I thought I'd use this week's blog to offer some ideas on where to hide Christmas gifts from the curious eyes of your loved ones.

Hiding Gifts from Young Children

Let's start with the young kids. If you have children who are in elementary school you know how creative they can be when searching the house for their Christmas gifts. This means you have to be extra creative when hiding them! One idea is to keep them in the trunk of your car. You can put items such as games, puzzles, toys, clothing and books into black garbage bags and stash them in one corner of your trunk. Unless your children are helping you unload groceries, they really have no reason to look in your car's trunk. Even if they do open your trunk, the gifts will be hidden by the dark bags. Another effective hiding place is in the cabinet beneath the bathroom sink. You can put a toy or two into a big bag and hide it near the back of the cabinet. Chances are your kids won't have any reason to look beneath the bathroom sink. Of course, I suggest you choose another option if you have a pipe under your sink that is prone to leaks! Other excellent ideas for hiding places include a cabinet out in the garage, a top shelf inside a kitchen pantry or in an old wardrobe or chest of drawers in the basement.

Hiding Gifts from Teenagers

Teenagers are experts at finding their Christmas gifts, so you have to be extremely clever when choosing hiding places. If you get your teen an electronic gadget, you may want to hide it behind the last file in your file cabinet. It will be completely hidden even if your teen opens the file drawer. If you get your teen some clothing items as gifts you can put them in a garbage bag and hide them behind an ironing board in the laundry room. I've noticed that many teenagers steer clear of this particular room in a home. You may also try hiding small gifts at the back of one of your clothing drawers, beneath the kitchen sink or on an upper shelf located somewhere in the garage.

Hiding Gifts from Spouses

It can be tricky hiding a Christmas gift from a spouse because it's likely that he or she is aware of your best hiding places! So, it's helpful to consider places your spouse doesn't like to go. For instance, maybe your spouse doesn't like to go into the basement because there are a few creepy spiders that live there. In that case, you could hide a few gifts in empty cabinets in the basement or inside a discarded box. If your spouse only opens the hall closet door once a day to grab a coat, it may be a good place to stash a few gifts. Or, if you and your spouse drive separate cars, hide Christmas gifts in the trunk of your car.

I hope these suggestions will inspire you to come up with more. Good luck and thanks for reading!-Alan

Topics: hiding those Christmas gifts

Tips for Storing Water For an Emergency

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Fri, Dec 5, 2014


"Storing Water in Case of Emergency"

If a natural disaster or other extreme emergency occurs, do you have access to potable water? Sometimes when a town experiences a tornado or a flood, the tap water becomes unsafe to drink for a long period of time. Or, if a frozen pipe bursts beneath your street, your drinking water may become contaminated and unsafe to consume. That's why it's important to put aside a supply of drinking water for your family. Store enough water so that each family member can drink and use one gallon of water per day. It's best to create a supply that will last at least three days. Consider a few simple tips for storing drinking water to use in case of an emergency.

Tips for Storing Water for an Emergency

Reuse Plastic Bottles

You don't have to buy a bunch of plastic bottles to fill with water and put into storage. You can reuse 2 liter plastic bottles originally filled with soda or juice. Be sure to clean the empty bottles thoroughly with dish soap and hot water to get all traces of soda/juice out of them. Don't forget to wash the cap as well. As a final step, rinse all of the soap out of the bottle and fill it with tap water. Secure the lid and add it to your collection of stored water. Avoid using cardboard juice cartons because they tend to absorb sugar from the juice which can result in bacteria growth. Also, using glass bottles is risky because they can break if they are dropped.

Rotate the Bottles in Your Water Supply

It's best to put a date on each of your water bottles. That way, you can refill them every six months to make sure they are free from bacteria. If you don't want to spend time dating each bottle, fill a group of bottles on the same day and put the date on their carton or box.

Store Water Bottles in a Cool Place

Find a cool, dry place for your stored water. If you store your bottled water in a sunny area of a room, the heat can cause chemical changes to occur in the plastic. You may want to put them on the floor of your pantry or even in a corner of your basement.

Get a Water Dispenser

Getting a water dispenser for your household serves a couple of purposes. For one, you and your family get to enjoy clean, filtered water each day. Also, having a five gallon water dispenser is a convenient way to add to your supply of stored water! Inexpensive water dispensers are available in big box stores as well as in many department stores.

Buy Bottled Water That's On Sale

If your local grocery store happens to have a great sale on bottles of water, you may want to buy a carton of bottles to stock up. This is another way to ensure that your water is clean and can endure several months in storage.

I hope these tips help you to put aside a supply of water for emergencies. Hopefully, you'll never have to use them, but having them there may give you some peace of mind. Thanks for reading!-Alan

Topics: storing water

How To Pet Proof Your Home, Garage and Other Buildings

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Wed, Nov 26, 2014


Most dog and cat owners know that these pets are experts at getting into mischief. They do things like dig around in your trash cans, knock over potted plants, and track dirt across the carpeting. All of this activity results in an ugly mess that a pet owner has to clean up. In addition to creating messes, sometimes, pets eat things they aren't supposed to. They can get really sick or die from eating certain materials found around most homes. So I thought I'd use this week's post to suggest some ways to pet-proof your home, garage, and shed. Hopefully, these tips can help you to avoid a few unfortunate messes while keeping your pets safe.

Inside Your Home

Dumping over a kitchen trash can is no big deal for a medium or large dog that wants to find a morsel of food inside the bag. You can avoid this messy cleanup by storing your garbage can inside a kitchen cabinet. Now, if you have a really resourceful dog, I suggest you put a latch on the cabinet door just to be safe. Or perhaps you want to keep your dog out of a particular room in your home. One solution is to install a baby gate across the doorway. The gate will prevent your dog from tracking dirty paw prints across your dining room carpet! If you're looking for ways to cat-proof your home, try hanging your house plants from the ceiling. This prevents your cats from jumping into your plant pots and kicking the soil out onto the carpeting. This arrangement also stops your cats from ingesting poisonous plant leaves.

Inside the Garage

Many dangerous chemicals are kept in the garage, so it's important for you to pet-proof the structure. For instance, take action to keep anti-freeze away from pets by storing the bottle on a high shelf. Also, be sure to clean up any antifreeze that drips from your car. Ingesting just a small amount of antifreeze can be fatal to a dog or a cat. Turpentine and motor oil should also be stored on an upper shelf in the garage. In addition to keeping chemicals away from your pets, make sure that there is plenty of clean air circulating in the garage. This is especially important if your dog or cat spends a lot of time there. Carbon monoxide flows into the interior of the garage whenever you start your car. Once you back out, a window or door should be left open, allowing the carbon monoxide to escape and the clean air to come in.

Inside the Storage Shed

If you have items in your storage or garden shed that you want to keep safe from your pets, try putting a latch on the door. Sometimes, dogs and cats can push their way into a storage shed if someone has neglected to shut the door securely. Some people like to keep big bags of dog food out in their storage shed. If you do this, try keeping the bag inside a metal garbage can with a lid. This prevents your dog from tearing open the bag and creating a trail of dog food across the floor. Also, put bags of gardening soil into a metal garbage can if you have a cat that likes to claw at and tear into plastic bags. Protect your dogs and cats by hanging your rakes, shovels, and brooms on hooks along the wall. This prevents heavy tools from falling on dogs and cats as they explore the shed.

Remember, taking a few extra precautions can help you and your pets live together in peace. Thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: pet proof your garage

A How To For Winter Shed Maintenance

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Thu, Nov 20, 2014


Is Your Shed Ready for the Cold Weather?

Most people conduct a variety of maintenance tasks in order to prepare their homes for the cold winter months; but, did you know that there are things you can do to prepare your shed for winter? Of course, there are! Consider some basic maintenance tasks that can help keep your shed in good condition throughout the snowy months of winter.

A How-To Guide for Winter Shed Maintenance

Check the Weather Stripping

One of the most effective things you can do to get your shed ready for winter is to check the condition of the weather stripping around the doors and windows. If it's cracked or tearing away from the wall, then it's a good idea to replace it. Weather stripping can prevent moisture from gaining access to your shed. A buildup of moisture can lead to mold or even start to rot the wood of your shed. Weather stripping is relatively inexpensive and can be found at any hardware or home improvement store.

Clear Away Debris from Around Your Shed

Take a walk around your shed to see if there are any weeds, branches or sticks piled up against the walls. The presence of this type of debris can encourage mice to take up residence in and around your shed during the winter. Mice can chew through wood and damage items in your shed. Put all of the debris in a wheelbarrow and roll it a good distance away from your shed. In addition, look for hives and wasp nests attached to the outside of your shed. Be sure that the hive or nest is not active before knocking it down with a broom and removing it from the area. Never attempt to move a hive or wasp nest that is still occupied.

Clean the Interior of the Shed

Sweeping out dirt, removing used rags and taking trash away helps to discourage mice, moles and other rodents from creating a winter home in your shed. Try storing your garden gloves or work gloves in a covered plastic bin to keep them safe from mice. Also, if you store dry food for dogs or cats in your shed, be sure to put the bags into a metal garbage can with a secure lid. This keeps mice, rats and other rodents from tearing into the bag and trailing food across the floor of your shed. A little forethought allows you to safely store items in your shed throughout the winter months.

Check the Condition of Your Walls and Roof Shingles

Along with checking the area around the shed, look at the walls and roof. Are the shingles in good condition or do they need a repair or two? The walls should be free of holes and loose nails. Making small repairs to your shed before the cold weather sets in can help you to avoid a larger issue after the winter months are over.

If you notice the snow piling up on the roof of your shed, take a few minutes to clear it off with a broom or rake. Snow and ice can weigh down the roof of a shed causing problems over time. Remember, do some winter maintenance to avoid unpleasant surprises in the spring. Thanks for reading!-Alan

Topics: shed maintenance

The Pros and Cons of a Metal Shed vs. a Wood Shed

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Fri, Nov 7, 2014

alans-factory-outlet-store-wood-and-metal-shedsIf you're thinking about getting a new shed, there are a lot of questions to consider. For instance, do you want a metal or wood shed? I think that the answer to that question has a lot to do with personal preference. In my long experience with sheds, I can tell you that both types have their good points. There are also some perceived disadvantages of each type that we can examine more closely in this week's post. So let's discuss one of my favorite subjects: sheds!

Metal Sheds

Durability is one of the biggest pros of owning a metal shed. They are designed to shelter your lawn equipment, garden supplies, tools, etc., from the rain, snow, and wind. Another pro is that metal sheds are available in a variety of sizes to accommodate whatever you have to store. In addition, it's easy to pair a lean-to with a metal shed to create even more storage space! Metal sheds are affordable, and you can opt for one with a garage door for easy access to larger items.

Now, when some people think of metal sheds, they imagine a gray, dreary structure sitting on a piece of property. Consequently, they may put a dull appearance down in the con column. However, metal sheds are now available in different colors! As an owner, you can choose a color that fits with the look of your property. Or you can simply choose a metal shed in your favorite color.

Wood Sheds

One quality on the pro side of owning a wood shed is its appearance. Many people enjoy decorating a colorful wood shed with flower boxes, potted plants, and an American flag hung over the door. Wood sheds are available with shutters and windows that can make the structure look like an extension of the main house on the property. Another pro of choosing a wood shed is that you can select a two-story model if you want more storage space. Wood storage sheds are durable enough to protect your belongings in all sorts of weather. Furthermore, sheds are now available with a variety of roof styles. Some examples include the A-frame and barn roof. You can choose a wood shed with a roof style that coordinates with the roof on your home.

When it comes to the cons of owning a wood shed, some people think that the wood will attract termites, carpenter ants, and other wood-eating pests. While these pests are attracted to wood, there are some precautions you can take to protect your shed. For instance, staining a wood shed can help to deter these destructive insects. It can also help to protect the walls of your shed from water damage. Clearing branches, weeds, and piles of sticks away from a shed is another way to prevent these pests from trying to invade the structure.

I hope this information helps you to make a decision when it comes time for a new shed. Thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: metal sheds vs wood sheds

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