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How to Prepare Common Items for Recycling

Written by Tri State Disposal on . Posted in Uncategorized

You’ve probably already heard many of the reasons recycling is a good idea. You might even know that recycling one ton of aluminum saves 14,000 kWh of energy or that recycling one ton of glass prevents the release of 7.5 pounds of air pollutants.

How to Prepare Common Items for Recycling

But there’s a difference between knowing something is good and actually doing it. Perhaps recycling intimidates you because you’re not sure which items are recyclable. You might also wonder how you actually go about recycling items around your house.

Fortunately, recycling can be simple if you follow these preparation tips for various recyclable items.

Cans and Jars

If you drink soda or eat canned food regularly, you likely go through quite a few cans every week. Fortunately, you can recycle them. At recycling plants, cans are melted and turned into new cans and other products.

To recycle your cans, you’ll first need to rinse them out. Food and drink can attract insects and animals that you don’t want in your recycling bin. Then, your best bet is to crush the cans via a tool called a can crusher. Crushing your cans helps you save a lot of space in your recycling bin so you can recycle plenty of other items.

Glass jars are recyclable as well. As with cans, you’ll need to rinse out your glass bottles before you recycle them. Fortunately, you don’t have to bother with removing the labels from glass bottles, as the labels are removed during the recycling process.

Milk Jugs

The average American drinks 20.4 gallons of milk each year. If you’re like the average American, you likely have many milk jugs to recycle.

All you need to do is rinse out the milk jug with water. There’s no need to recycle the cap, since most caps aren’t recyclable. Your recycled milk jug could become a variety of different items, such as furniture, packaging, or pipe.

The same principles apply to other jug-like containers, such as detergent bottles. Rinse them and remove the cap before placing them in the recycling bin.

Cereal Boxes and Cardboard Boxes

Cereal boxes are made of cardboard and can easily be made into other boxes. First, remove the box’s plastic insert, which isn’t recyclable. Next, you’ll need to open the flaps of the cereal box and flatten the box. A non-flattened box takes many times more space than a flattened box does. You can even stack many flattened boxes on top of each other.

You can recycle cardboard boxes as well. Remove any packing materials from inside the box. As you do with cereal boxes, you’ll need to break cardboard boxes down to save space.

Amazingly, you can save nine cubic yards in a landfill by recycling one ton of cardboard.

Paper

You can recycle any of the following paper products:

  • Newspaper
  • Magazines
  • Phone books
  • Catalogs
  • Mailed advertisements

Unfortunately, you can’t recycle tissue or waxed paper.

To recycle loose paper, separate it from your other recyclable items. Make sure to put it on the bottom of your recycling bin so it doesn’t blow away.

Plastic Containers

You can recycle any of the following plastic containers:

  • Peanut butter jars
  • Water bottles
  • Yogurt containers
  • Cleaner bottles
  • Cooking oil containers
  • Medicine bottles
  • Condiment bottles

Look for the recycling symbol on the bottom of these containers to make sure they’re recyclable. Check that there is no food stuck inside that could attract hungry animals. You can crush the containers if you want to save space.

Electronics

Many people wonder what to do with their old electronics. You can recycle many of your electronics, such as:

  • Computers
  • Cell phones
  • Printers
  • Fax machines
  • Televisions

These electronics are made of many recyclable materials such as metal, glass, and plastic.

However, these items can be dangerous and can’t be recycled with your regular recyclable items. You’ll need to find a location in your area that takes these items. Many communities organize a hazardous-waste collection day when you can dispose of electronics.

Make sure you wipe your computer’s hard drive before you recycle it. Otherwise, your private information will be at risk.

Batteries

When thrown in a landfill, batteries can release toxins into the environment. Like electronics, batteries can be dangerous and need to be recycled the right way. Do some research to find out which organizations in your community will take disposable batteries. Alternatively, you can order a battery recycling kit. Once it’s full of batteries, you can place it at your mailbox for pickup.

Keep in mind that many automotive retailers will take old car batteries.

Follow these steps to ensure fast recycling for your recyclable items without any problems or setbacks.

If you need recycling collection services in your community, count on Tri-State Disposal Inc. We are a full-service recycling company serving Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana, and we’re happy to advise you of how to recycle effectively.

4 Ways to Demolish a Building

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Demolition work may sound like fun—after all, who doesn’t like to take things apart and make a mess once in a while? However, demolition involves far more than just hitting things to see how they break. In fact, demolition is a tightly regulated industry and process since it has the potential to be very dangerous.

4 Ways to Demolish a Building

Depending on the area and the building that needs to be torn down, professionals will use different techniques to safely get rid of the existing structure. Learn four common demolition techniques and when they’re used—and if you need demolition services, make sure to contact a professional like Tri-State Disposal Inc. instead of trying it yourself.

  1. Implosion

Implosion demolitions are the flashiest way to get rid of an existing structure. Demolition professionals carefully place explosives to knock out a building’s structural supports, causing it to collapse in on itself. The process is very effective and takes very little time.

Implosion demolition is most commonly used in urban areas on very large structures. When done correctly, the implosion should stay within the perimeter where the existing structure stood so the process doesn’t interfere with any nearby buildings. In order to make the building fall straight down instead of sideways, the timing and placement of the charges has to be absolutely impeccable, which requires a full assessment of the building’s blueprints.

Though implosion demolition is spectacular and occasionally draws crowds of onlookers, it’s very rare. This method accounts for less than one percent of all demolitions—many professionals don’t bother training in this technique since it’s both dangerous and seldom needed. If you see an implosion demolition, it’s done by specialists.

  1. Crane and Ball

This type of demolition uses a wrecking ball, which can weigh up to 13,500 pounds. The crane and ball method has been in use for many, many years and is still popular since it’s so effective. To demolish the building, a crane operator will either drop the wrecking ball on to the structure or swing the ball through the structure.

However, even though this method is popular, it still has drawbacks and limitations. For example, the crane operator must be very, very good at his or her job. If the operator doesn’t control the swing of the wrecking ball, the ball may miss the structure and either hit something else or tip the crane over. A demolition company that uses this method must employ an experienced and highly trained operator.

Crane and ball demolition is very noisy and generates a lot of dust, which doesn’t make it popular with those around the worksite. Lastly, this method can’t be used everywhere—if the site is too big for the crane to reach everything, or if it’s too close to power lines, crane and ball demolition won’t be safe or effective.

  1. High Reach Arm

High reach arm demolition is newer than the crane and ball method and solves some of its problems. For this method, professionals attach a long arm to a piece of construction equipment (such as an excavator) and use it to pull sections of the structure down. After the equipment pulls the pieces of the building to the ground, the rest of the demolition crew will do the work to break them up even smaller so they can be discarded.

High reach demolition is only used for buildings that are over 20 meters tall. Generally, if the structure is shorter than this, crane and ball demolition or another method should work just fine. However, since the risks of crane and ball demolition increase with the height of the building, the high reach arm method provides a safer alternative with less dust and flying debris.

  1. Selective Demolition

In today’s eco-conscious world, many contractors want to do their part to conserve resources and help the planet. Selective demolition, also called deconstruction, is a technique that saves every available material from the demolished building so it can be recycled. The most commonly reused materials are brick, metals, wood, and concrete.

The advantages of this method are clear, but there are still drawbacks. In order to save as much of the building’s materials as possible, much of the demolition work has to be done slowly and by hand. That means that the process takes longer and requires more workers on the site.

However, even if a demolition company doesn’t use selective demolition and instead chooses another method, many still will save as much of the previous structure as possible to be reused. Many demolition companies are always looking for new techniques to help them practice environmental stewardship.

 

If you need a building demolished, contact a qualified professional. Tri-State Disposal Inc. offers comprehensive residential and commercial demolition services in Chicagoland and the surrounding areas. Call us at 708.388.9910 to learn more about how we can help you, or request a free quote on your project.

4 Ways to Encourage Your Community to Recycle

Written by Tri State Disposal on . Posted in Uncategorized

You and your family understand the importance of recycling. You carefully sort your paper, plastics, and aluminum. Whenever possible, you reuse plastic bags and repurpose old items around the home so they serve a new function. And you buy products made from recycled materials.

However, you feel that your efforts are outweighed by your neighbors’ negligence. Though you try hard to recycle on your own, many in your community don’t seem to care about protecting the environment. And many more don’t even bother to throw their trash in the dumpster, let alone take their recyclable items to the nearest center.

So what can you do to encourage your community to take action?

1. Add Recycling Bins to Public Areas

Many people prefer to choose the path of least resistance. If something seems inconvenient, they may feel they don’t have the time or energy to follow through.

To make recycling an easy option, purchase a few recycling bins and place them strategically next to trash cans in parks, parking lots, piers, and plazas. When people throw away their trash, they only need a few seconds to decide whether they should recycle.

Better still, check out your local curbside collection program. You may be able to acquire additional recycling bins for your neighbors at no cost to you, and the collection program can pick up the waste on a regular basis.

If your area lacks a basic recycling program, talk to your nearest disposal and waste management company. They may help you set up a regular waste and recycling collection service for your neighborhood or community.

2. Write a Column in Your Local Newspaper or Newsletter

Your local newsletter or newspaper does more than list the latest classifieds or coupons for your grocery store. Despite the rise of digital news sites, many people still read the local papers for headlines, gossip, and sports scores.

When you want to catch your neighbors’ attention, submit an article to your local newspaper and describe the benefits of recycling. If you have a particular knack for writing, you can start your own daily, weekly, or monthly column that gives readers tips and tricks for recycling their waste properly.

Don’t have a local newspaper? Make your own! You can set up a community blog and let neighbors and city official contribute to the posts. Share your website through social media to get the word out.

3. Teach Recycling to Students and Their Parents

Children can learn to recycle at an early age. And once they’ve established the habit, they may recycle for the rest of their lives. Additionally, kids have a natural enthusiasm that can spread to their parents, friends, and relatives.

If you want to spark a passion for recycling, offer to teach about recycling at your nearby elementary and high schools. You can keep your lessons short and sweet in individual classrooms, or you can put on much larger events with guest speakers in the auditorium. Simply reach out to your schools’ teachers and principals for approval, advice, and planning tips.

4. Form a Recycling Club

Though you may feel alone in your efforts to recycle, keep in mind that several other families may feel the same way. Why not bring those who feel passionate about recycling together through a community club?

Your recycling club can meet together every week to participate in repurposing crafts, clothing drives, and cleaning projects. You could set recycling goals for your members, and when everyone achieves their goals, you can all reward yourselves with movie tickets, concerts, or trips to amusement parks.  

Use Your Creativity

Although the above ideas can get you started, you don’t have to limit yourself to these options. With a little creativity, you can find more ways to recycle and encourage your neighbors to do the same. 

What Happens to the Items I Recycle?

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You recycle because you know it’s the right thing to do. You know recycling benefits your community and the environment. But each time you recycle a can, a bottle, or a newspaper, you wonder what happens to it. Was recycling worth it?

Here, we’ll go over some of the most common recyclable materials and their journey beyond the recycling bin.

Metal

Two types of metal-aluminum and steel-are recycled and reused every day. You’ve probably recycled aluminum cans many times. When you do, these cans go to a smelter, where employees grind the aluminum into small chips, melt it, and send it to a manufacturing plant. At the plant, workers roll new sheets of aluminum. Out of these sheets, they create new aluminum products. These products include:

  • Cans
  • Car bodies
  • Aluminum foil

Now, how about steel? You might not know that tin cans are actually made of steel and coated in tin. When you recycle a tin can, manufacturers flatten it and remove the tin coating. They sell the steel to a steel mill, where manufacturers create other steel products. These products could include appliances, steel beams, and car parts.

What about the tin coating? Well, people can reuse that, too, particularly in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries.

Glass

You may wonder how your glass products are reused, especially if they have chips or cracks. Fortunately, a broken bottle is not a problem. Manufacturers crush recycled glass into small pieces. People use crushed glass as part of the following:

  • Sports turf
  • Bricks
  • Paved surfaces

They can also create new glass containers and even stained glass.

Plastic

There are many different types of plastics, and even more potential applications. Recycling workers must separate all your plastic products based on type. They then shred them into flakes and melt them into pellets to sell to companies. Here’s how people reuse different types of plastics:

  • High-density polyethylene: car parts, toys, flower pots
  • PET: carpet backing, backpacks, sleeping bag insulation
  • Mixed plastics: plastic lumber, pallets

It’s exciting to think about what your plastic products might become. A milk jug could become a chair, or a detergent bottle could become a Frisbee.

Paper

As with plastic, manufacturers sort paper by type. At a paper mill, manufacturers follow these steps:

  • They use a chemical wash to separate the ink from the paper.
  • They mix the paper with water to create a pulp.
  • They remove contaminants and bleach the paper mixture.
  • They use machines to remove water from the mixture.
  • They place the mixture into rollers that dry and flatten it.

Through this process, manufacturers can produce new paper (or other items such as toilet paper).

Cardboard

When you recycle shoe boxes, cereal boxes, or other cardboard items, they could return as boxes or paper bags.

When a paper mill receives your cardboard, manufacturers create a pulp, just like they do with other kinds of paper. They add wood chip pulp to strengthen it. They then roll and dry it to create two kinds of cardboard: the inner layer (called the medium) and the outer layers (called the linerboard). Finally, they send both types of cardboard to a box-board plant, where manufacturers form it into new cardboard.

 

The next time you’re about to throw away that milk jug or that cereal box, place them in the recycling bin instead. Your recycled items actually do make a difference. They go through a comprehensive process to become new items. If you don’t have a recycling service in your area, talk to your landlord or manager about adding one. In the meantime, you can take your recyclables to a recycling center.

7 Signs Your Property Needs a Demolition, Not Just a Renovation

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When most people love the location, but hate the house, they renovate. However, in some cases, the house might not even merit a renovation. Keep your budget, your patience, and your housing dreams safe by demolishing your home instead if you find yourself in any of the situations listed below. If the signs below seem familiar, you’ll benefit from a complete do-over rather than a renovation.

1. The House Has a Faulty Foundation or Other Structural Issues That Are Beyond Repair

This point should be one of the biggest factors in your decision. Do you notice cracks or buckling in your foundation? Have the structural supports in your walls and ceilings stayed strong and firm? If you have noticed severe problems with your home’s structure, or if you’ve noticed extensive moisture and mold damage in different areas, you might want to completely rebuild instead of simply renovating that portion.

However, a home only needs a complete rebuild if it has extensive damage. If you only see problems in one room (and you like the house otherwise), then you should only renovate. Call a local housing contractor to inspect the damage to your home if you can’t tell how much it has spread.

2. Local Councils and Other Organizations Have Height, Width, and Length Restrictions

If local HOAs and government agencies do not allow you to add rooms to your home, but you hate your home’s current layout, you might want to demolish and rebuild. However, before you take this step, make sure you know the structure placement restrictions for your area. They may have changed since contractors built your home, and you may have less space to rebuild than you think.

3. Your Property Doesn’t Give You Space for Additions

Maybe your HOA or local council have nothing to do with your decision. You should still check on their restrictions, but if you’ve already filled your property so much that you can’t add new nooks or rooms, their word doesn’t matter so much. You’ll have to knock down your house anyway to get the layout and space that you need.

However, remember that if you already like your house enough, a rebuild simply for this reason might not merit the expense. Consider knocking out some walls or finishing a basement, garage, or attic instead.

4. Your Home Requires So Many Renovations That It Costs More Than a New Home

Your budget should be a major factor in your decision as well. If you will spend more money on extensive renovations than you would if you built a new home, then you might as well build a new home. Do not spend money unnecessarily.

5. You Don’t Own a Historically Significant Building, but It Is an Old One

An old building will not last as long as a new one, so if you plan to live in your home for decades to come, and you don’t like the problems that come with its age, knock it down and start fresh. However, when you own a historically significant building, think twice. It may have legal protections. It may also have cultural significance for your community, and you might face backlash if you ruin or change it.

6. You Have No Emotional Attachment to the House’s Current Materials and Layout

If you just can’t stand the sight of your home’s interior or exterior because of its cramped spaces and outdated features, go ahead and knock it down. Just make sure your budget can weather the expense first.

7. Your Property Would Be More Marketable as a Vacant Lot

Maybe you want to sell your property before a move, but you know that the house makes the land worth less, not more. Take this opportunity to demolish the structure and sell your home as a vacant lot. People who want custom homes will jump at the opportunity.

 

Demolish the home on your property if you find yourself in any of the above circumstances. But don’t tackle this project on your own. Make sure you hire a professional to do it for you so you can avoid mishaps. 

4 Times You Could Use a Dumpster

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Let’s face it: most of us have too much junk. We allow clutter to cover our counter space and crowd out our closets at home. For many of us, the constant barrage of documents and office supplies can also take over our workspace as well.

But if you want a clean, organized, peaceful environment to live and work in, you’ll have to take positive steps to change your ways. In this blog, you’ll find four signs that your minor hoarding habit has grown out of control. To remedy the problem, rent a dumpster and start cleaning.

  1. When You Can No Longer Park in Your Garage

If last year’s Christmas toys and appliances have managed to find their way as permanent fixtures piled against your garage wall, it’s time to toss them. When you notice that your garage looks more like a neglected storage unit that a protective shelter for your cars and bikes, it’s clearly time for a cleaning.  The truth is that you have probably accumulated years’ worth of homeless items ranging from roller skates to flower pots to broken light fixtures.  The first step in de-cluttering your garage is renting a dumpster. It’s time to let go of the past and make room for the future. 

  1. When You Prepare Your Home for an Open House

Whether you plan to host a large company party or prepare your home for sale, you’ll need extra space to accommodate a larger crowd than usual. Talk to your family and determine what you could do without.

Preparing for a big event provides you the perfect excuse to clear out any unsightly furnishings or outdated decor that could be an eyesore for guests or even stand in the way of selling your home. Plus, it will make your home feel more spacious long after the event ends.

  1. When Your Company Moves to a New Office

Most companies carry around old filing cabinets, printers, and office furniture far longer than they need to.

If your company or small business team plans to move locations, take advantage of the opportunity to get a fresh start. Schedule a dumpster at your current office site and talk to your employees about getting rid of any excess supplies.

When you remove the junk, you’ll minimize the cost of moving your company and you’ll find that a minimalist business culture gives your company a more professional, clean image.

  1. When School Starts in the Fall

If you have kids, you probably accumulate a lot of junk during the summer months due to summer camps, outdoor camping trips, and the occasional lemonade stand.

The first day of school gives you the perfect deadline to determine what you want to keep and what you can do without. Tell your kids that you want them to organize their things before the start of a new school year and encourage them to help you load up the dumpster before they head off to class.

Even if you don’t have kids, the start of autumn is a good time to rid your yard of any plants that peaked in the summer and have begun to dwindle in the cold. Most fruit trees and flowering bushes could also benefit from a trim to help them cope with the upcoming winter months. After you clean up your yard, load any grass clippings or loose branches into a dumpster for safe disposal.

If any of the above scenarios apply to you, call your local waste disposal company and request an onsite dumpster. Many companies offer to transport a dumpster to your home or business and will pick it up again when you’ve filled it up.

After cleaning day, you’ll notice what a difference it makes in your personal and professional life to live clutter-free.

Tire Recycling Options and Why They Matter

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Approximately 300 million people live in the United States-and Americans improperly dispose of nearly the same number of old tires each year. In the United States alone, businesses and individuals alike get rid of 240 million tires each year. Only a small percentage of those tires go to sustainable recycling, while nearly 77% end up in landfills or illegally abandoned.

But why does it matter if old tires get left out in the environment or placed in a landfill? The truth is that the sheer number of old tires combined with their material makeup means tires are hazardous to the public and the environment when not properly disposed of.

In this blog, we’ll help you understand several things regarding safe tire disposal. You’ll learn when your tires are no longer usable on the road, why they require recycling and what they’re made of, and how you can dispose of and repurpose old tires.

When Tires Should Become Scrap Material

Much of what determines a tire’s usefulness comes from the condition of its treads. As your tires age, they lose tread definition, which then reduces the amount of traction they provide. This loss of traction especially becomes a problem for drivers who encounter inclement weather like snow and rain.

With a loss of traction comes a loss of vehicle control, which increases your chances of collisions and accidents. So how do you know when your tires become a hazard on the road? To figure out exactly how deep your tire treads are, consider using the following technique.

The Penny Test

The penny test helps you measure the amount of tread left on the tire. First, place a regular penny between the tread strips on your tire. Make sure to position the coin so Lincoln’s head points downwards. If you cannot see the very top of Lincoln’s head, this means your tires are currently safe to use.

To ensure that you have even more tread height, use the Lincoln Memorial side with the memorial pointing down. If you cannot see the memorial at all, you know that you have more than 3/32″ of tread.

Most state laws require a tread depth of at least 2/32″ for safety reasons. If your tires have less than the recommended amount, invest in new tires that will ensure vehicular traction while driving.

If you determine that your tires’ tread isn’t deep enough, read below to learn what to do with your old tires and why it’s so important to find a safe way to dispose of them.

What Tires Are Made Of

Rubber is one of the top ingredients for tires, which is why they’re so important to recycle. The rubber compound in tires doesn’t decompose, and even creates buoyancy that interferes with landfill contaminant barriers.

But tires contain much more than just rubber. Tires also contain fiber, textile, and steel cords to reinforce their durability. Much like rubber, these materials don’t break down, which means they cause environmental harm when not properly disposed of and recycled.

How Tires Help When They’re Recycled

Three main industries make use of old scrap tires, including the civil engineering, road paving, and tirefuel industries.

Countless civil engineering applications utilize scrap tires for insulation, aggregate, and fill material. Road paving also repurposes old scrap tires to create a stronger road-building material called asphalt rubber, which requires little maintenance.

When properly regulated, tire-derived fuel, or TDF, offers a safe alternative to fossil fuels. Different combustion types have the capacity to burn whole or shredded tires, which provides heat and energy along with reduced emissions and increased environmental benefits.

How to Creatively Repurpose Tires

When you recycle your tires properly, one of the three above industries can use them for environmentally friendly purposes. But if you have a creative streak and want to hang on to your old tires, consider using them to create a unique planter, coffee table, or yard decoration. The Internet provides unlimited ideas on how to repurpose and reuse end-oflife tires.

To find out how you can safely dispose of tires in your area, contact your local disposal provider today. 

Missed Spring Cleaning? Use These Tips to Tackle the Clutter

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Normally, you have the most spick-and-span property on the block, but you missed spring cleaning this year. Now your home looks disorganized and cluttered, and you feel embarrassed when your friends and relatives come to visit. You need some way to get a handle on the mess so your home looks flawless again.

If this describes your situation, you’ve come to the right place. Below, you’ll find a few tips to help you tackle the disarray both inside and outside your house.

Conquer the Untidy Interior

1. Rent for your unwanted Junk

Before you do anything else, contact your local waste removal company to rent a dumpster. This dumpster will hold any items you don’t want as you go through the clutter. Then, once you’ve finished your cleaning, you can simply call the company to remove the dumpster and all of your wanted junk.

If you want to preserve the environment as you clean, ask your waste removal company if they have a recycling program in your area.

2. Reorganize Your Bookshelves

Start with the easiest clutter culprits first, like bookcases and other open shelving. Don’t forget shelves that store your movies, video games, music, and trinkets. If you see items that you haven’t touched in years, throw them out or donate them. And if some items simply look too old or grimy to reuse, throw them away as well.

3. Comb Through Cupboards and Closets

Tackle closets, cupboards, drawers, and other small, enclosed areas next. When you see worn-out dishes, boxes of used clothes, or other knickknacks that you’ll never use again, put them in the dumpster. After you free space in these areas, you can use them to house essential items that currently clutter your floors and countertops, like paperwork and small appliances.

4. Attack the Garage

The garage doesn’t matter as much as the main part of your house. After all, visitors rarely see your garage. But if you still have energy, go through your garage next and clear out all nonessential items. For example, you may have odds and ends lying around from your last construction project. You don’t need these materials, so put them in your dumpster.

5. Clean Your House from Top to Bottom

Now that you have an uncluttered interior, go through your normal cleaning routine. You’ll likely find a few small and unnecessary items you missed during the steps above.

However, even though you’ve scoured every surface and purged all nonessentials at this point, your home might not look neat yet. Perform the following extra tasks, or have a professional do them for you, to erase the effects the chaos left behind.

  • Clean your carpets, especially in areas where dirty clothes, boxes, and other items sat on the floor.
  • Touch up paint if the mess stained or chipped it.
  • Scour stains and food particles out of any hard flooring.
  • Wash windows inside and out.

 

After you’ve completed all these steps, you’ll regain the perfect interior you’ve missed for so long.

Trim the Wild Exterior

1. Rent a Dumpster for Green Waste

Garbage and recycling companies can take green waste for composting. This waste should not end up in a landfill, so don’t just throw your branches and weeds into the same dumpster as your old junk.

2. Take Care of Tree and Shrub Pruning First

Before you concern yourself with the little details around your yard, trim the largest plants first. Prune sick or dead branches to preserve your trees’ health.

If your trees have grown into power lines, do not attempt to trim them on your own. Avoid the electrocution risk and have a professional perform this task for you.

3. Gather Everything That Looks Dead

Once you’ve trimmed your trees and put the debris in the dumpster, you can move on to smaller details. Find all the dead leaves and plants in your yard and dispose of them. Your flowerbeds will look instantly neater.

4. Thoroughly Weed Your Lawn and Flowerbeds

After you have all the dead plant matter out of the way, you can see weeds more clearly. Stay especially alert for grasses that invade your flowerbeds-they will spread quickly if you let them, and then your yard will look untidy again.

5. Clear Tools and Other Items off Your Porch or Patio

Your deck, patio, or porch should not act as a storage space. If anything other than furniture and a grill sits there, put those extra items in the garage or throw them away.

If you still don’t know how to handle all the extra junk around your property, call your local waste and recycling expert. They will be able to help you get rid of larger items, like old appliances and unwanted furniture. In the meantime, use the tips above to catch up on this year’s spring cleaning.