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Quick Tip for Friday – get to know your local hardware store

Many hardware stores now provide sketch artists to help their customers recall the part they need.

Your smaller neighborhood hardware stores like Ace and True Value are amazing resources.  Getting familiar with them is a great idea for many reasons.

Shopping at these stores supports small business, most Ace and True Value stores are independent franchises, sometimes generations of family run businesses.

The service in your neighborhood hardware store is usually more personal than the big stores. Smaller store means smaller staff so you will tend to see the same faces and get to know one another. They are great at helping you find odd pieces, creative solutions and maybe even recommendations when you need to hire help.

In my experience the local hardware stores carry a better selection of small, harder to find replacement parts for drawers, closets, screens, door knobs, gate latches and so much more.

Many of us are all too familiar with how one ‘simple’ project ends up with multiple trips back to the store for more screws, bolts, nails, lumber, caulk, paint, potting soil, unexpected tools….any variety of things needed to complete the project. Shopping for the items you can pick up at True Value or Ace can be a big headache relief for those trips!

And the personal service can come in real handy when you don’t know the correct name of that thingymajig or doohickey needed to complete the project!!

 

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Categories: Checklist, DIY tips, helpful tips, Home Improvement, home maintenance, home repairs, organizing, Quick tip friday, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quick Tip for Friday – keep it until you are done

Whenever you are on a project, try not to throw out anything until the project is successfully completed.

Not only should you inventory all parts when opening a new item, whether it is an Ikea dresser or a ceiling fan, it is a good idea to keep everything until the project at hand is done!

Sometimes you get in the middle of a job and find something doesn’t fit or isn’t working. You may need to put the old item back together until you resolve the problem with the new one. Or you might need the original packaging to return or request a replacement something that didn’t fit like if should have. There are many examples I could give as to why, trust that I have learned this bit of advice the hard way. Keep everything until you have successfully completed your project!!

Categories: Checklist, DIY tips, helpful tips, Home Improvement, home maintenance, home repairs, Quick tip friday, random, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Celebrating Independence Day

4thof

While enjoying pool parties and bar b ques, beach days and baseball games please remember to appreciate the freedom to do these things and those who fought to make this country what it is.  Our founding fathers had a wonderful vision for this brave new country. Let’s keep being worthy of that dream. Happy Birthday America!

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Quick Tip Monday

This was a tip from someone else recently. Good advice is worth sharing so I was inspired to start writing my Quick Tips again.

Reader Jimmy commented on previous a post, Quick tip for Friday-Water saving tip-check your water bill “It is really important to monitor your drains and water outlet. I think it’s a good idea to have a plumber picked out before you actually need one.”  

It’s great advice and goes for other trades as well, such as electricians. Don’t wait till an emergency to be scrambling for help and get stuck using whoever is available rather than someone you know you can trust for the job!

Thanks for the good advice Jimmy!

Categories: helpful tips, home maintenance, home repairs, plumbing, Quick tip friday, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Poem to welcome the New Year

Cheers to 2017

A fresh start before us, this New Year brings.

I wish you health, joy, prosperity and all the good things!

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May your pockets be heavy,

your challenges light.

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May your troubles be few,

your days happy and bright.

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May your heart be full

from morning till night.

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Embrace the New Year to bring a fresh start,

and let not our differences tear us apart.

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May 2017 be a wonderful year

of people coming together in love and not fear.

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With open hearts and minds may we talk and we listen.

Treating others with kindness is always the mission.

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Listen with empathy, speak with compassion.

Acting with love is always in fashion!

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Fight for what’s right, but treat ALL with respect.

Don’t stoop down a level, pull them up a step.

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Hold loved ones close and cherish each day.

Live, laugh, love and make time to play!

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Enjoy Mother Nature in all her beauty.

Remember, caring for our planet is everyone’s duty.

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Wishing you much happiness, well-being, good health, prosperity and love in this New Year and always.

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All the Best,

Cass

Categories: random, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A little video

EnterTAYnment made this awesome promotional video recently for my business!

The Fix It Lass promotional video by EnterTAYnment

I plan to make several more videos with her as soon as I can make time in my schedule! She was so much fun to work with and I love what Taylor created for me!
Enjoy! And subscribe to her YouTube channel to get updates on our new ventures together!

Let me know what you think.

Categories: Home Improvement, home maintenance, home repairs, marketing, Uncategorized, work I do | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Handyman or Contractor?

This is a decent article from Angie’s List. It is important to keep in mind how much the laws vary from state to state regarding construction related work so it is challenging to write a simple advice column about this subject.

Do I need a Handyman or a Contractor?

As mentioned in the article there are monetary limitations on non contractors in California. I have heard in Florida you pretty much can’t touch electrical or plumbing unless you are licensed in that particular trade.

The key is always going to be a at least a little bit of knowledge/research on the part of the consumer to go with a well  recommended provider of services.

Always, only hire someone you are comfortable working with. If the person working on or in your home does not make you feel comfortable they should not be there.

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Ikea assembly tips

I put together quite a bit of Ikea furniture. It’s one of my favorite things to do. Some people really hate doing it and tend to think I am a little bit crazy, but they appreciate my brand of crazy when they ask for my help so it’s fine with me! I’m happy to save them from a task they despise.
While doing some of these jobs recently it occurred to me to put together a few tips to make the process less painful for others when putting together Ikea or other assembly required items.

sort all the hardware before putting anything together

sort all the hardware before putting anything together

So here is some of my advice:

  1. Mentally approach the project like a jigsaw puzzle.
    1. Verify and sort the hardware and individual pieces first thing upon opening the box.
    2. People frequently tell me how much they hate the wordless instructions with Ikea furniture, but they are very effective if used correctly. Pay close attention to the details in the pictures, match up the patterns of holes, sizes of the pieces, the finished side vs raw side, etc exactly as shown.
    3. Give yourself plenty of room to work and move things around.
    4. Give yourself plenty of time. DO NOT rush. Take your time, doing it over will always take longer than doing it slower but correctly!
    5. Lay out all the pieces but keep them from being in your way; lean them against walls, stack matching pieces together.
    6. Examine the pieces for damage and so you can recognize them more easily.
  2. Browse the entire set of instructions before starting any of the assembly. You don’t have to fully comprehend each step in advance but getting an overview of how the process works and in what order can save SO much time and headaches.
    1. Make note of how much room you might need to move things around or turn them over and to layout partially assembled sections as you go.
    2. Does this item require the help of another person to lift or move things?
    3. Do you have the necessary tools ready and nearby?
  3. Always work on a surface that protects the pieces and keeps hardware from rolling away:
    1. Carpet or a rug is ideal.
    2. Sometimes you can use the packaging box, usually for smaller items.
    3. If  working on wood, tile or concrete laying a blanket, sheet or drop cloth for your work space is very helpful. Just be careful as fabrics can be slippery on the hard surfaces.
  4. There is such a thing as brand quality. I’m no spokesperson, but I can say I would rather put together stuff from Ikea than the office supply stores based on recent experiences.
  5. If the package contains an additional insert providing a toll-free number to call if you need assistance, you will almost certainly end up needing to call!
    1. Sometimes there are slight changes to the manufacture or assemble process and instead of re printing ALL of the instructions the company will put in this extra slip of paper offering customer service help. Use it, if you start having any trouble at all, I learned this one the hard way. Trust me, just call the number.
    2. I have usually only see this in non furniture items. I have come across this issue on blinds, ceiling fans and other light fixtures, accordion doors etc.
  6. Know when to get help.
    1. If you are not inclined towards this sort of project you might think you are doing a bad job when there is actually something wrong with the parts or instructions. Ask someone else to look at it with you if you started but are struggling.
    2. Get help that helps. Don’t ask someone who hates doing this also, or gives you a hard time if you made a mistake. Reach out to someone who can make it better rather than worse!
    3. Someone who does these projects frequently might realize more quickly if there is a problem with the materials, or the instructions rather than just being a complicated project and find resolution faster.
    4. If you really hate puzzles maybe you shouldn’t put together pre fabricated products. Maybe it is worth the cost of hiring someone to assemble that new dresser or bookcase over the amount of stress and lost personal time you will experience doing it yourself? Sure, you CAN do it, just like I could change my own oil, but some things are worth having someone else do. Ask your friends to help, chances are you have at least one nutty pal like me!

     

     

Categories: DIY tips, helpful tips, Uncategorized, work I do | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Fun article and gallery from DIY network

This is a fun gallery of trends happening right now from DIY network. There is inspiration in all 25 of the features they list! Don’t be surprised if you find me borrowing from this list for ideas to write about and DO for a long time to come!

The 25 Most Awesome DIY Features of 2014 So Far

Let me know if you have done any of these projects, I would love to hear about it!

 

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Fix it up: How to hire general maintenance help – The Denver Post

Here is another nice write up about what to look for when hiring a handyperson.

Fix it up: How to hire general maintenance help – The Denver Post.

You love your home. But that leaky faucet, clogged gutter or cracked shower tile is driving you crazy. Who ya gonna call? A handyperson. This general practitioner of the home-repair industry is the go-to professional for jobs you don’t want to do, haven’t time to do or simply can’t do (and have no business attempting).

You don’t want to hire just anyone. Like a housekeeper, caregiver or babysitter, a handyman has access to your home. The right one is more than just a guy, or gal, with a tool box. It’s someone with whom you may build a long-term trusting relationship.

Heather Bays, a single parent living in Lowry, found her current handyman by asking a friend who is a real estate agent for a recommendation. Most recently, she had him replace an 8-foot-by-10-foot backyard planter.

“The referral from my friend was key,” says Bays. “I want someone I know and trust to have used this person before and be satisfied with the work.”

Word of mouth is still the favored way to find a pro. But instead of swapping info over the backyard fence, many of us head online, using neighborhood social networks such as Nextdoor.com. After all, if someone you know has used a particular handyman, odds are he won’t disappear overnight.

When he wanted to remodel the kitchen in his 1928 Spanish bungalow, Hilltop resident John Sunderland turned to Craigslist. His approach: Place a notice in the Gigs section under “Labor.”

Sunderland carefully laid out the project, noting that he need an “experienced carpenter” and asked for three references with phone numbers. Of the four responses, only one provided the information he asked for. Impeccable references scored him the job.

After a test “job” replacing two kitchen windows went well, Sunderland hired him for the rest of the kitchen redo and plans to have him drywall the garage ceiling.

A handyman for nine years, Buddy Hendrickson says he appreciates clients who let him know their expectations. “It’s all about the right fit. Someone is letting me into their home and I respect that,” he says.

Online services such as HomeAdvisor.com (formerly Service Magic) or Angie’s List match homeowners with qualified service professionals and include user reviews. While Angie’s List charges users to search listings, Denver-based HomeAdvisor’s ProFinder is free. Listed professionals pay a membership fee and must pass a financial and background check.

Robert Schreiber, a handyman with HomeAdvisor, works on the framing of a door at a job site in Denver.

Robert Schreiber, a handyman with HomeAdvisor, works on the framing of a door at a job site in Denver. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)

Once you have a few names, it’s time to narrow the field. After an initial phone interview, arrange for an in-home walk-through. Have a list of things you want done and a time frame.

“Some handymen may be booked out weeks in advance. Others won’t work on weekends,” says Hendrickson. Expect an estimate within a day.

Charlene Andrisen’s trick? She “interviews” their tool box.

“At that first meeting I ask about what tools they use, look at their tool box and even casually walk out and check out their truck,” says Andrisen, who owns several rental properties. “Is everything neat or a trash pile of cigarette butts and candy wrappers? That’s a good clue as to the type of job they’ll do.”

“Home projects are so emotional,” says Brooke Gabbert of HomeAdvisor. “To find someone who respects both you and your home and with whom you are comfortable takes educating yourself.”

That means laying out your project list in detail and asking questions. The most critical: What are your skills? Is this job something you have done before?

That’s the question Barbara Schmidt wishes she had asked. The retired accountant needed indoor-outdoor carpet replaced on her garage steps and the sliding doors in the bedroom trimmed because of new, thicker carpet.

The two-man team she found through an online service did a decent job on the steps, but the doors were a mess. “They cut one shorter than the other and didn’t install a floor track because they were uncomfortable doing it,” she says.

Schmidt found a new handyman whose mother-in-law lived across the street. “He took one look and knew the door was too short, so trimmed the other one to match. I still may need to buy new doors, but for now they work,” Schmidt says. “He did a great job, and, more important, I know where he lives.”

What to ask

Whatare your areas of expertise?

Is this a project that requires a licensed specialist (such as an electrician)?

Do you have references?

Can I call them?

Do you charge by the hour or by the job?

Is there a fee for you to come to my home and give an initial quote?

Do you bill trip charges, either to my home or to pick up supplies?

Do you have a local address?

What is your availability?

Do you warrant your work? If so, for how long?

Do you have insurance?

Will you haul away trash and old materials when finished?

Will you put our agreement in writing?

Popular jobs

A maintenance worker was the No. 1 service request in Denver for January through March 2014, according to HomeAdvisor.com. The average project cost for the metro area as reported by homeowners is $367 (the national average is $526). The five most-requested jobs:

Install, repair or replace plumbing fixtures

Install electrical switches, outlets or fixtures

Paint, varnish or stain exteriors

Repair or service an appliance

Categories: Checklist, Home Improvement, home maintenance, home repairs, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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