Product ReviewsLet us try it before you buy it.
Jonesing for a cleaning tool? Read enlightening Clean Like a Man reviews of products before you part with those hard-earned Benjamins. And SEND US your suggestions for future reviews.
Cleaning with steam - a HOT new trend!
Haan Multiforce® SS-20 Indoor/Outdoor Steam Cleaner
SAVE $25 through 12/24...see below for details!
I've never used a steam cleaner before, so I actually read the Multiforce SS-20's instruction manual - something most guys try to avoid at all costs. Turned out this cool tool is so easy and intuitive to use that I really didn't need to read all that much, but the manual did enlighten me on some ingenious facts and features:
- The Multiforce SS-20 removes grease, dirt and grime from floors of all kinds - tile, hardwood, laminate, linoleum and vinyl - and kills 99.9% of household germs, bacteria and dust mites with 20 jets of super-heated steam. It also cleans outdoor stone and concrete patios and walkways.
- It's a light, compact standup machine with an easily-removable water reservoir, a nice long cord, and a swivel head that maneuvers into even low, tight spots.
- Cleaning accessories include four cleaning pads and two buffing pads that attach with velcro, plus two bristle-brushes that snap on and off. All deliver impressive results.
- It uses CR-motion® technology - a scrubbing, "reciprocating"action that has the two pads moving in opposite directions to enhance the cleaning power of its steam jets.
- Assembly is a near no-brainer (right up my alley).
While I didn't have a chance to tackle every flooring surface listed above, I did put the Multiforce through its paces on three of my floors that desperately needed cleaning. Results:
- Hardwood kitchen floor: This is a polyurethane-sealed, matte finish floor that looked beautiful when I moved in 10 years ago. Over time it has gotten smudged, scratched, stained and dull. I've tried the waxlike spray-on cleaners with the big mop applicator in the past, but wasn't impressed. The Multiforce, however, did a pretty amazing job with the cleaning pads and steam, followed by the buffing pads. The floor looks great - not highly glossy, but very clean. MULTIFORCE WINS.
- Tile bathroom floor: You'd expect a steam cleaner to do a good job on hard tile, and it did. The white tile was cleaned, buffed and polished to a shine, and even the grout between the tiles looked much better than before. MULTIFORCE WINS.
- Shower enclosure floor: This PVC (or very tough molded plastic) surface had become pretty discolored over the years and I've tried everything to clean it. Even applying straight bleach didn't have much effect in the past. The Multiforce, with steam jets blasting and bristle brushes scrubbing, improved it only slightly, but it was an impossible task. TIE.
SO - Clean Like a Man's R&D staff now pronounces the Haan Multiforce SS-20 a fine steam cleaner, worthy of a place in your cleaning arsenal.
BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE!!!
SAVE $25 & GET FREE SHIPPING NOW THROUGH 12/24/12!
Just use Coupon Code NOVTMSS20 at checkout.
READ IT AND SWEEP
Michael Graves whiskbroom & dustpan combo
After some lengthy reviews of cleaning machines, here's a short-and-sweet profile of a low-tech item I love for lots of quick cleanups all around the house. This snazzy little tool consists of a handy whisk broom that sweeps everything from broken dishes and dust on the floor to countertop messes and spills (dry ones, like ground coffee scatterings) in a snap.
The lightweight broom's rubber handle fits snugly into your hand and it's angled, so sweeping is easier and using it won't aggravate your wrist's median nerve, which causes carpal tunnel syndrome (I been there - it ain't no fun). The broom bristles are stiff enough to sweep heavy-ish things like broken crockery, yet the bristle tips are soft and electro-staticky to grab up dust and other small debris like that spilled ground coffee on the countertop.
The broom handle snaps snugly into the concave dustpan handle so you can store these two teammates as one, hanging them in the pantry or tucking them into your MCU (Mobile Cleaning Unit - see The Men Commandments, Number VI). And the dustpan's edges even have teeth to help you get the last bits of dustbunny out of the broom's bristles.
Yes, the Michael Graves whiskbroom/dustpan combo is sweet. It's neat. And it helps you accomplish cleanups with two characteristics that form the cornerstones of "Cleaning Like a Man" - quick and easy. It's available in two sizes. And they're both so inexpensive you can get one of each - Standard ($5.99) and Large ($7.99) - at Target.
MAGIC CARPET RIDE
The Hoover MaxExtract 60 PressurePro Carpet Deep Cleaner
Is there some rule that says every slice of pizza you drop has to land toppings-down on the carpet?
My own formerly-white carpet (thanks to two dogs and my own frequent coffee spills, smoothie splashdowns and food fumbles) looks pretty post-apocalyptic between cleanings. I don’t like it, but I’ve always thought the solutions were limited to four options...none of them good:
- A spray bottle filled with carpet cleaner, which you apply, blot up, rinse and repeat – endlessly and tediously.
- A huge, hernia-popping Rug Doctor rental machine for $25 a day, plus $18 for detergent. Its results are not impressive.
- My own rickety, 11-year-old carpet cleaner (not a Hoover). It's a pain to use AND does a crappy job.
- Companies like Coit or Stanley Steemer, whose steam-cleaning works great but costs $200-$300 or more per visit. And I ain’t no Rockefeller.
A whole new experience
I've never used a decent home carpet cleaner, just my ancient, dysfunctional one. So I contacted Hoover to ask if they wanted a model reviewed. They sent their MaxExtract 60 PressurePro Carpet Deep Cleaner – a mid-priced entry in their lineup.
- Is the product easy to use and maintain?
- Does it do a good job? How good?
- Is it economical? I don't mean cheap, mind you, but a good value for the money: does it deliver a righteous return on investment (R.O.I.)?
Is it easy to use and maintain? CHECK.
Hoover’s MaxExtract 60 is almost easy enough to use right out of the box. But I’m glad I read the instructions, because it has some extremely snazzy features to make cleaning your carpet faster and easier:
- The machine sprays and scrubs a 13” swath as you push forward and squeeze the handle. When you pull back, it vacuums up the dirty water and blows heated air into the carpet fibers, leaving the carpet nearly dry.
- Each of its six rotating brushes has its own “shock absorber” buffer, so they clean gently, without a lot of wear-and-tear on the carpet.
- There’s a 9-foot hose with a spray/scrub/vacuum nozzle on it for hand-cleaning stairs, smaller rugs and even the carpeting in your car. Gotta love cleaning in the auto!
- There are two large tanks – one that holds clean, warm water for washing the carpet, the other to catch the dirty water when it’s vacuumed up. Each tank pops right out to fill and empty, then pops back in for the next round of washing. THIS IS HUGE! My old Brand X model, the Rug Doctor rental and many competing models take a lot of fussing (wrestling, unclamping and unscrewing) to change out water reservoirs.
- The clean water tank has a separate reservoir inside it for detergent, and fill lines for concentrated vs. regular soap. The water and detergent automatically mix properly as you clean.
- The MaxExtract 60 also has a nice long cord, so there’s no momentum-busting plugging and unplugging as you maneuver within a room or between rooms
Does it do a good job? YES (and I was very impressed).
- The water in the “used” tank was really, really dirty, even when I just went over clean-looking, just-vacuumed carpet. That showed that the MaxExtract 60 was getting dirt and allergens from deep down in the carpet. And it actually eradicated several old stains I'd given up on long ago.
- The machine has a “Rinse” setting - important because soap residue on carpeting is a dirt magnet.
- After I finished, I didn’t expect my carpet to be blindingly clean; after a decade of stains and abuse, even the pros from Coit can’t do that anymore. But the MaxExtract 60 made it look very, very good.
Good R.O.I.? Hey…like a blue-chip stock!
The MaxExtract 60 sells for about $199 to $230, depending on where you shop. And it got results approaching the $200-$400-per-visit steam cleaning professionals. It’s easy to use, performs admirably, and you’ll own it for years.
Now that’s R.O.I., my friends.
The detergent to use
The instructions recommend using ONLY Hoover-brand carpet-washing detergent, which according to one of the company's R&D guys is specially formulated to work with Hoover machines.
I’d used a different brand of soap before reading this info. It worked fine, but the warranty is now history. As a conscientious reviewer, though, I went and bought some Hoover Platinum Plus Professional Carpet & Upholstery Detergent. A concentrate, it turned out to be only a few bucks more than the brand I’d been using, and it actually did work better – my carpet looked great.
FINAL GRADE: A-minus.
BONUS INFO – Amazon.com reviewers agree
To be “fair and balanced,” I checked on Amazon to see what their customers said about the MaxExtract 60. Of 65 reviews, there were 49 ratings of 4 or 5 stars (excellent/very good); twelve 1- or 2-star ratings (poor) and four 3-stars. Amazon reviewers are a tough crowd, so these results really speak well of the machine.
Keep it clean, amigos! - Tom
Eureka AirSpeed Gold Bagless Vacuum
I used to think that no vacuum under about $150 was really worth the investment, so always urged my readers to spend a little more and get a machine that wouldn’t do a hapazard job andor break down after a year or two, which many cheap ones do.
I've tried many vacs in all price ranges. Now I’ve had the opportunity to use the Eureka AirSpeed Gold, and it delivers all the cleaning performance and gotta-have-'em tools and features you'd expect to find on much pricier models.
- Great suction – easily equal to a Dyson, IMHO.
- A HEPA filter that removes even microscopic dust particles and allergens...important for anyone in the family who may have an allergy, however slight.
- A long, 32-foot power cord so you’re not constantly unplugging/replugging as you move from room to room...a real momentum-buster.
- A built-in flexible hose that stretches up to 14 feet for extended cleaning range; an extension wand adds even more reach and accommodates all the AirSpeed Gold's specialty tools for common-but-challenging cleaning jobs:
- A crevice tool for cleaning along baseboards, in carpeted (or bare) corners and edges, between appliances, and in other tight spaces.
- A dusting/upholstery brush for dusting shelves, picture frames, and upholstered sofas and chairs.
- A “turbo nozzle” with spinning brush – great for carpeted stairs, upholstery, and pet fur. It even grabs up the coarse, velcro-like hairs Angelo, my Aussie Shepherd, seems to leave everywhere.
The AirSpeed Gold’s most unique feature is a "dual suction system." Most machines with flexible hoses (a must-have multi-tasking feature) provide suction only through the hose that attaches to the machine when you're cleaning carpets and floors with the traditional spinning brushes, then disconnects for “off the floor” cleaning like stairs and drapes. The AirSpeed Gold has separate paths, so dirt from the carpet doesn't have to travel all the way through a long, suction-reducing hose.
The only negative I found for the AirSpeed Gold: it seems a bit loud. Not jet-engine loud, but you probably won't be listening to any music while you’re vacuuming. This is not a deal-breaker, though. The machine's features, performance and value outweigh the few extra decibles. Also, I've got ears like a bat...probably more sensitive than the average citizen's.
FINAL GRADE: B-plus
The AirSpeed Gold retails for $129.99 USD, although you may find lower pricetags at some stores or online. It's available at major retailers like Lowe's, Best Buy, K-mart, Wal-Mart, Kohl's and Sears in the U.S. In Canada, you can find it at Home Hardware, London Drugs and a variety of independent stores.
SAMPLE BLOGS - Read more on the Blog page.
Storing Stuff in the Garage
by James Adams, Guest Columnist
We've all seen them; the garages that make you cringe. Items thrown about, cobwebs covering everything, and maybe even a rodent or two hiding in a couple of old boxes. You start to feel like your own garage is a haunted house and you fear even walking through it! However, not to worry, the following tips will get your garage in immaculate shape and will help you keep it that way.
Throw it Away!
You might be surprised how much room your broken or unwanted items are taking up. Go through your garage sorting through things that are broken and things that you want to give away. If you have a lot of things you want to give away, you could even have a small yard sale!
Escort the Critters Out
If your garage did indeed have critters living in it, go ahead and remove them. Be careful and watch for any wasp nests or harmful spiders. Unfortunately, you may need wasp spray and mouse traps to get the job done.
Organize, Organize, Organize!
Most garage's fail because we fail to organize them. Whether you have too many tools, boxes, or whatever other miscellaneous your garage might be housing, you can organize it to reduce the space it takes up. Additionally, by organizing your items, you'll be able to easily find whatever you're looking for instead of having to rummage through the entire garage to find it.
Lawn Tools Organization
If you have a lot of lawn tools in your garage, it can your garage must cleaner and your life easier if you organize them efficiently. By installing hooks for rakes, shovels, and other lawn tools, you can avoid clutter on the floor and reduce the danger of tripping over your lawn tools when moving around in your garage.
Most people have so many tools in their garage they don't even know how to began organizing them. However, the first step is easy! Purchase a tool box and go to work! If you feel a bit lost in organizing your tools, try being creative. For example, try color coding to keep all of your tools together and organized. Instead of just throwing your small tools, such as drill bits, into a box, organize those as well and find a compartment, small box, or even small bag to keep them all together.
Have the Right Stuff
Don't slack on your organizing, if you need to buy a few items to make sure your garage is perfectly organized, go for it! For example, if you have loose bikes in your garage, you'll want to considering purchasing bike racks. Or, if you have many loose, unruly items that need shelving, make sure you find the perfect shelving so that your new organizational system will stick.
No matter how big of a project organizing your garage may seem, with time, work, and creative thinking, you'll have a clean, organized garage in no time! Just remember to be patient and persistent; no matter how incorrigible your garage may seem, it can and will be whipped into shape!
Spring Cleaning the manly way.
“Spring Cleaning” originated in the days when people heated and lit their homes by burning wood, oil and candles. Come Spring, everything had a coating of greasy, sooty grime. Cleaning was imperative!
Today, the spring cleaning tradition continues. But for guys, the thought of tackling this big, intimidating job can make you weep like a little girlie-man. Here are some ways to finesse it.
Plan, don’t panic
You don’t have to do it all in one day, nor live up to Martha Stewart’s standards. If you’re married you've got help. If you have kids, well…you’re in delegating heaven, home boy!
Start with a list
- It gives you a plan to follow.
- You can cross things off as you finish them and enjoy a feeling of accomplishment.
- You can see that the entire job is finite, which reduces the shock and awe factor.
Do one thing at a time, several things a day, or spread tasks across several weekends. You can even…wait for it…actually SKIP the tasks you decide are less important.
I suggest: setting aside one weekend to finish everything. Your momentum will carry you through, and then you’ll be done with it.
Spring Cleaning Checklist
- Vacuum or wipe dust from refrigerator coils
- Take everything out of fridge, wipe down interior, toss freshness-expired items, replace food.
- Clean the oven if required
- Spiff up small appliances
- Flash-organize your junk drawer: empty it, toss “bad” junk, put “good” junk back in drawer.
- Replace flannel sheets with crisp cotton ones.
- Dry-clean or launder blankets and pillows (at a Laundromat, because wet ones will be too heavy for your own washer/dryer).
- Go through closets and drawers, remove winter garments.
- Launder or dry clean all winter duds, then store for the season.
- Clear the medicine cabinet, clean the interior and discard expired meds.
- Clean a little more extensively than usual – like in the far reaches of your linen closet, cabinets and drawers.
- Put ½ cup of baking soda into sink and bath drains, then a cup of white vinegar, then boiling water.
- Ditch or recycle as much of the junk as you can. You may delay this until fall.
- Sweep behind machines.
- Clear lint from the dryer hose that goes outside.
- Check hoses between your water supply and the washing machine for cracks and wear; replace if necessary (a broken hose will cause expensive water damage in a finished basement - especially if you're gone when it happens).
- Steam clean carpets (A service: $200 or more. With rental machine: $25 plus detergent).
- Clean upholstered furniture.
- Dust books and bookshelves.
- Dust high surfaces like ceiling fan blades with a utility brush on your vacuum’s extension tubes (you may have to buy extra tubes, but they're about $1 each at thrift stores).
- Purge files (recycle the paper items if possible)
- Clean your computer.
- Take everything out, toss or donate what you don’t need, put back what’s left.
- Store sweaters and other winter duds, replace them with summer clothes.
- Place a container of baking soda on a shelf to absorb moisture.
- Add a few dryer sheets (very inexpensive) to produce a fresh aroma.
- Wash the front door exterior.
- Remove, wash and store storm doors and windows.
- Wash screens and put them on.
- Clean debris out of rain gutters.
- Wash windows.
- Sweep and hose off patio furniture.
THE REST OF THE HOUSE
- Vacuum/wipe down walls and ceilings.
- Dust air vents.
- Launder curtains (if you have 'em).
- Polish door, window and cabinet hardware.
- Get cobwebs out of high corners with vacuum extension or duster.
Sit back, pop a cold one, and survey your impeccably-tidy kingdom.
How to Organize Your Car
Get that rolling landfill tidied up for spring!
Why can I look at some cars and just know there’s at least one empty Mountain Dew can rolling around on the floor? Well, there are visual cues, even from a distance: it’s 10 or more years old and has lots of rust and a crumpled fast food wrapper or two on the dusty dashboard. If it’s got a busted-out window patched with cardboard and duct tape, it’s a lock for a Dew can.
While I’ve never seen any kind of pop can in a BMW or Lincoln Town Car, I know that even the most fastidious among us – given kids, long commutes and otherwise mobile lifestyles – can succumb to an untidy ride without even realizing it. But these tips should help.
Clutter on wheels
Here are some quick solutions to common car clutter problems:
1. If your passenger seat doubles as an office:
- A compartmentalized container can neatly hold office supplies, file folders, and your PDA, laptop and cellphone.
- Add a collapsible trashbag on the floor.
- Get a multiple-plug adapter kit so you can recharge your all your electronics at the same time.
2. If kids in the back need food and entertainment.
- You have to keep the little nippers supplied with snacks, DVDs and players, iPods, games and toys. Solutions:
- Hang an organizer like a cut-off hanging shoe holder behind the driver’s seat.
- If your vehicle has those kangaroo pockets on the backs of the driver and passenger seats, use ‘em.
- Put a fully-supplied snack container between backseat passengers; a shoe box, with cover, is perfect.
3. If kids in the back need sporting goods.
- If you have a van, it’s easy to jam balls, sticks, shoes and pads into bins like those plastic milk boxes (they’re about 18x18”). These can face outward toward the back for easy access.
- You can fold uniforms into a box, or if you have a hook, put them on hangers for quick changes.
- With a car, use the same boxes in the trunk – they’ll have to face upward, though. Ideally they’ll have handles.
4. If you or the kids like beverages on the road.
- A compact cooler keeps bottles or cans cold (even Mountain Dew).
- A handy tip: fill two-liter soda bottle with water, cap and freeze it, and put in the cooler. Before freezing, leave a little room for the water to expand.
That’s it. So hit the road, Jack.
The 5-Second Rule - everything you always wanted to know.
The 5-Second Rule holds that food dropped on the floor is still OK to eat as long as you pick it up within that brief timespan. No scientific findings on this phenomenon are readily available, but I personally think it's just a "rule of thumb", a rough guideline that's completely situational.
Whether or not you follow the 5-Second Rule depends on three factors: the type of food, the cleanliness of the floor, and your personal tolerance level.
- A cookie that falls onto a clean floor is probably fine for several hours, if not days. Just don't step on it.
- Pudding, on the other hand, you'll probably just want to wipe up with a paper towel and toss away unless you're extremely hungry AND the floor is relatively clean.
- Tic Tacs can remain edible pretty much indefinitely, and the beautiful thing about them, especially the white Wintergreen ones, is that you can pick 'em up and see instantly if they're dirty or not, which makes your decision easier.
I don't have many opportunities to use the 5-Second Rule because I have a fast, food-motivated dog (the incorrigible Coco); she's always in position in the "drop zone" at my feet to scarf up tidbits that land there.
Inside tips on outside cookin'
July Fourth may over, but there are plenty of summer picnics, cookouts and family reunions still ahead - all complete with overturned plates of burgers and beans, colorful spilled drinks and condiments, and mini-moguls of post-meal trash.
Here are some Clean Like a Man tips for making faster, easier work of the outdoor events.
- Dads can assign each of the kids a job for either the prep or pickup part of the meal. Say, one brings out all the plates of meat destined for the BBQ, another keeps the cooler stocked, and several fill garbage bags with debris before heading home. The rationale for this tip is solid: University of California-Riverside researchers say dads who help out with housekeeping are good role models for their kids – the children not only learn teamwork and responsibility, they do better in school and have more friends.
- Freeze a two-liter bottle of water and use as an ice-pack in the cooler.
- To save garbage bags and be “green” too, re-use dry cleaner bags for trash. Just double them up for strength, tie them off at the bottom, and fill ‘em up.
- The barbie at home was Sunday, but “garbie” pick-up isn’t ‘til Friday? Seal trash tightly in plastic bags, then toss them into the trashcan with a few cups of cat litter, which cuts odors.
- Crypton "Super Fabric" Throvers make ideal outdoor tablecloths or picnic ground-cloths because they’re virtually impervious to moisture and stains – even tough ones like ketchup and mustard. Perfect size too: 48"x54", You can also protect your pet’s favorite spot on the sofa or put a throver in the back of your vehicle to Rover-proof it from mud and grime.
I hope these tips help you and your family enjoy “the best of the rest” of summer!
STEVE FROM PHILADELPHIA COMMENTS:
When I finish grilling, I turn the heat up to high and then set a timer for 3 minutes. When the timer goes off I go back out and scrape the cooking surface with a long handled wire brush. It removes any excess food and the high temperature eliminates any remaining bacteria. The timer is key...otherwise I might forget the grill in the hubbub of serving the food.
Thanks Steve, that's a great tip!
Shopping for supplies
Get the right vacuum cleaner
My dog, Coco, hates and fears the vacuum cleaner. But I consider this machine to be every bit as much “man's best friend” as canines are…at least when it comes to housecleaning. This device will help you make the biggest, fastest dent in your housework…which is the bottom line when you want to Clean Like A Man. Just get a machine that packs the right features for you.
- The best choice if you have lots of carpeting. A rotating “beater bar” brush whiplashes the dirt out of carpet fibers, then the motor sucks it in.
- Be sure to get an upright vacuum that has a built in hose. These models will have "on-board tools" for special cleaning jobs: tubular extensions for off-the-floor vacuuming, dust brushes for bare floors and counters, upholstery tools, and crevice tools.
- Uprights are more compact and easier to store if you live in a tight space.
- Price range: $100 to over $1,000. You can get all the quality and features you need in an upright vacuum for $150-$300. Inexpensive ones ($100 or less) are usually cheap for a reason: they suck, but not in a good way.
- The beetle-like models on wheels – the hose extension has a “power nozzle” with rotating brush inside.
- A canisters does a very capable job of cleaning carpets and it's the better choice if you need to clean more wood and tile floors, get underneath low furniture, and vacuum carpeted stairs.
- Price Range: About $200-$1000.
- Some have cords, some have batteries, and some recharge when you plug them into wall outlets.
- They're great for small, on-the-spot cleanups and cheap enough to have several around the house.
- Handy for small, quick clean-ups but no substitute for an upright or canister for major stuff.
- Price range: $25-$80
- Best known: the Roomba. It circles and criss-crosses the room, vacuuming as it goes, without you at the helm.
- You still have to remove the dirt from it, and if it needs repairs you have to ship it in.
- Costs about $250.
- Available at stores like Brookstone and Hammacher-Schlemmer stores, plus some Google-able web sites.
Clean Like a Man Tips for Purchasing a Vacuum
- Invest in a good one. A crappy machine makes cleaning even more unpleasant than it already is. A guy can get all the vacuum he needs for $250 or less.
- Look for the right features. A flexible “extension hose” attachment; interchangeable “on board tools” that include a brush for dusting, a crevice tool for tight spots, and a turbo-tool for stairs and upholstery.
- Fancier features include things like Manual Pile-Height Adjustment, which means you can set the brush to clean everything from bare floors to thick carpeting.
- Bagless models have both yings and yangs: you never have to buy replacement bags, but emptying dirt out of them can be messy.
SPRING CLEANING SPECIAL:
Manly Garage Rehab
For men, spring evokes visions of baseball, golf, barbecues and all the outdoor projects we didn’t finish last year. Putting the words “spring” and “cleaning” together in the same sentence might never occur to us. But it can be easy to spruce up the space we’re proud to call our own: the garage.Every guy knows that the garage is more than a place to park cars, build birdhouses and sort our crescent wrenches. It’s also a warehouse for bikes, golf clubs, tools, garden implements, car care items, paint, toys, pet food, cardboard boxes and an endless assortment of miscellaneous junk.
Assuming that’s the case at your house, here are a few strategic MANeuvers that’ll help make the biggest, fastest dent in a “garage rehab” mission.
Quick CleanupFirst, apply one of the Men Commandments of housecleaning: “Pick up the place first,” simply because cleaning and organizing any space is easier when you can see what you’re working on.
If your garage is a real disaster area, move everything you can out of it and into the driveway. This tactic seems drastic, but it’s not all that time-consuming … and the benefits are invaluable.
Once the garage is fairly clear, start in one corner and make a clockwise sweep (literally), facing the walls.
Use a car brush or regular broom to sweep dust and dirt off of shelves, counters and ultimately the floor; then sweep it outside. (To do the entire job in about 60 seconds, use a leaf blower.)
Stay focused on what’s in front of you and keep moving. Don’t stop until you’re done.
Smart StorageAs you’re putting items from the driveway back inside the garage, you’ll make some delightful discoveries:
- A lot of it can be thrown away or recycled.
- What’s left will fit back inside a lot better, and it will look marvelous!
- You’ll almost automatically organize things as you put them back in.
Smart storage is key at this point. Consolidate things into groups — sporting goods, tools, garden implements, car care, etc. And since your car is already out, use it: a quick trip to Home Depot or Lowe’s will yield an impressive array of bins, racks, hooks, holders, shelving systems, cabinets, containers, stackable boxes and organizers for garages. They’re built to go on the floor, the walls or the ceiling, and most are reasonably priced.
With your garage space in mind, select the storage solutions that will work best for you. Just take ‘em home, put ‘em in and make a quantum leap in your garage-organizing odyssey.
More Garage MANagement Tips
- Sweep your garage floor often. Your car brings in a lot of grit and grime (especially in the winter), and if your garage is attached to your home, you’ll track a lot of it inside. Again, use a leaf blower to finish this chore much faster.
- Have an old dresser? The drawers create swell storage space and it can also double as workbench.
- If your walls have exposed vertical 2x4s, nail horizontal lengths of 2x4 between them to create “recessed” shelving. It’s only 3-1/2” deep, but that’s enough to store spray bottles, small tools, containers and more — and keep everything very visible.
- Pegboard is a great wall storage solution. With a variety-pack of hooks from the hardware store, it’s ideal for hanging hand and garden tools, bungee cords, levels … ad infinitum.
- Use ceiling rafters to store tools, wood, patio furniture and other items that are out of season or are not being used.
- If you have kids or pets, think about adding a lockable cabinet for lawn and garden chemicals. It doesn’t have to be fancy … just secure.
- Big car, small garage? Once you have your vehicle positioned the way you want it, attach a tennis ball or other soft object to a string. Hang it so the ball just touches your windshield. You’ll never ram into the front wall or close the garage door onto your rear bumper again.
The Doggy In Winter – Indoor Cleanup Advice
Minnesota’s often-arctic winter temperatures do not inspire long walks or afternoons in the park with your dog. Our pals are indoors more, which – because they’re biological creatures who shed, go to the bathroom and get sick – creates more potential “cleanup opps” for us owners.
So here are some valuable tips for getting brown fur off white couches and treating urine stains (or worse!) on carpeting.
- For floors, your upright or canister vacuum’s twirling brush will pick up most hair on carpeting; for bare floors, the suction alone will suffice.
- For stairs and upholstery, using the vac’s extention hose with an upholstery brush attachment is the fastest and most effective fix.
- A lower-tech solution: use a terry cloth or old sweat sock to brush the fur to one spot, then pick it up.
- The new hand-held Pledge “Fabric Sweeper for Pet Hair” has two rollers: one picks up hair off carpets, the other whisks it into a small compartment.
Skirmishing with Stains
We’re talking stains from urine, vomit and “other”.
- The cleaning product departments of home-improvement stores and pet stores display many “Pet Stain and Odor Remover” sprays. I prefer the ones with “Oxy” in the name.
- Prevent the dingy crime scene body outline dogs may leave in their favorite spot on the carpet by placing an inexpensive rug or pad there.
- Whatever happens, treat all stains ASAP!