Enjoying Your July Fourth Festivities With Safety In Mind

Summer is here, at last, with all of its enjoyable warm-weather activities: picnics, hiking, fishing, gardening, swimming, boating, bar-b-ques, and, of course, celebrating the anniversary of our nation’s independence on July 4th.  And, unfortunately, it’s a fact of nature that all of these are accompanied by a certain amount of risk.  Handyman Matters is here to help you have a safe and wonderful time this summer.  Here are a few tips to keep in mind to reduce the risk of spending any time being treated for injuries from easily avoidable accidents.

PROTECT YOURSELF

Stay hydrated and use sunscreen!  This seems pretty obvious, but it’s ridiculously easy to step outdoors for what you think will be just a few minutes, only to wind up distracted by some task that will have you boiling underneath the sun’s harsh rays without even realizing it.  Both sunburn and dehydration sneak up on you, so don’t give them a chance.

KNOW YOUR LIMITATIONS

With the advent of spring and the return of green grass and flowers comes the temptation to spruce up things around your home and yard.  Maybe you’re eyeing a landscaping project, taking down storm windows, cleaning gutters, sanding and re-staining patio furniture, washing all the second-story windows, or something else.  Whether it’s a large project or small, don’t jump in until you’ve fully considered the amount of time you can dedicate to it, as well as your personal skill level.  Don’t compromise the project—or your safety—by biting off more than you can chew.  You’ll wind up frustrated (or worse, yet—with a frustrated spouse!) and a home improvement project only halfway done by autumn, and looking nowhere near the way you pictured it in your head!

BE SAFE, BE SAFE, AND BE SAFE

Don’t mount a rickety ladder to wash windows, clean gutters or to check the condition of your roof.  Don’t undertake any of these or any other outdoor activities when a thunder and lightning storm beckons.  Make sure you alert someone before attempting any task that involves working with power tools or takes you up into a tree or onto a ladder—the statistics on people lying injured while unaware family members are just steps away are staggering.  Don’t be one of them!

Don’t prune trees or shrubbery anywhere near power lines.  Don’t dig on your property until you know precisely where any utility cables are buried.

BE CAREFUL AND CAUTIOUS IN YOUR CELEBRATING

The Fourth of July holiday comes with some uniquely potential hazards:  grilling, open flames, fireworks, and, in many instances, alcohol.  Adding to the mix are children and pets dashing around, a heightened recipe for disaster.  It’s important to exercise caution and to resist temptation.  Leave the fireworks to the experts.  Don’t leave grills, bar-b-cues or open flames unattended for even a few seconds.  If you are entertaining even a small group of friends or family, be vigilant.  Have fun, and relax—just don’t relax too much—it’s the responsibility comes with being a good host.

Handyman Matters wants you to have a summer to remember—but for all the right reasons!  We stand ready to assist you with any summertime projects that can help you enjoy your house and yard to their fullest.  After all, we’re in this for the long haul—we want you to be a customer for life!

You can always reach us by calling 1(866)FIX-MY-HOME.

Declutter your Office and Living Room with these Cord Management Tricks!

home office cord management
Even as technology advances, very few things are truly cordless – at least not yet.  Having loose cords can contribute to safety, tripping hazards, and well – decorating hazards.  There’s nothing quite like creating a home office or living room to reflect your tastes and then have it ruined by the tangled mess of cords and cables.  At Handyman Matters, we think homes should be smart in more than one way.

In home offices you have the desktop computers, laptop charge cables, printers, backup drives, USB microphones, Wi-Fi hubs and internet routers all with at least one cable trailing from the back, needing an outlet.  On top of that, fewer and fewer desks offer the ability to hide cables.  Living rooms are just as bad with your sound systems, game consoles, mounted flat screen TVsDeclutter your home office and living room today with these cord management tricks…

Know your outlets

Outlets can move! One extension cord run along the side of the floor can direct any source of electricity to a different side of your home.

Power strips

Make it easy to plug things in!  Add a power strip near the center of your gadget needs.  Keep an eye on how many high powered electronics you plug in at a time, and make sure your strip is flat on the ground or mounted solidly on an easier access point.

Furniture

Larger furniture pieces such as desks, bookcases, and entertainment centers should be taken full advantage of when it comes to cord management.  Running extension or longer cords up the back of the furniture is a great way to hide cables. Use a staple gun (or duct tape in a similar color as the piece of furniture) to secure the cables every half-foot or so along the back up to their corresponding destinations.  Make sure to have the staple straddle the cord and not puncture it as that can potentially ruin the wiring inside the cable.  You can even mount a power strip on the back of a larger piece of furniture, or even on a shelf for an easy to reach hub.

Floor and wall maintenance

  • Over-floor cord protectors  – When you have to run a cord across a room, use one of these to protect the wire, and the people walking around your home.
  • Wall mount cord covers – Extra helpful for mounted flat screen TVs, these covers can run up or along a wall, match the color of your wall, and disguise your cables.
  • Cable ties – A cheap and easy way to prevent tangles and keep all the cables in one area.

For more organizational ideas, or help installing your cord management systems, call 866-FIX-MY-HOME or schedule your appointment online!

Is Your Backyard Ready For Summer?

With summer—and barbeque season—close at hand, it’s time to conduct a backyard inspection to make sure that your home is ready for entertaining family and friends over the next several months.

How well did the lawn and flower beds come through the winter?  Are there brown or bare patches in the grass?  Have the shrubbery and other bushes become scraggly and overgrown?  Could the lawn furniture stand a good power-washing?

Often, just a little “sprucing-up” is required to have your backyard looking its best again, but it all begins by conducting a careful inventory, looking at everything through the eyes of a guest.  Prepare to make a few notes as you walk around the areas where you will be entertaining, and ask yourself four questions:

  1. What needs cleaning/trimming?  Is the grass overgrown?  Are the lawn cushions looking soiled or faded?  Are your windows streaked or muddied from a winter’s worth of storms?  Do you have trees and bushes that could use a good trimming?  Are the gutters clogged or overflowing?
  2. What needs repairing?   Stand in the middle of the yard and turn around slowly, taking in everything you see.  What could stand a fresh coat of paint or stain?  Are there boards dangling or missing from the fence?  Do your kids have a tree house or playground equipment that has seen better days?   Is the gate sagging or are the hinges loose?  Is it a struggle to open or close the sliding patio door?
  3. What needs replacing?  Is the bird feeder cracked or dangling by a frayed thread?  Are the vinyl straps on the patio furniture loose or broken?  Has the umbrella over the deck table seen its last season?  How old and how reliable is your grill?
  4. What presents potential hazards?  Most importantly, determine whether there’s anything around the yard or patio that could cause injury.  Are there loose flagstones in the garden, crumbling or loose bricks on the low patio wall?  Are there wobbly deck railings, or cracked boards on steps?  Are there dark corners, stumbling hazards, low-hanging beams or any other hazards where adding outdoor lighting could reduce the risk of injury?

Entertaining company on summer afternoons and evenings should be a laid-back, stress-free experience.  And, in truth, people are there to enjoy one another’s company.  Things don’t have to be perfect for everyone to have a good time.  But a little clean-up and repair ahead of time will go a long way towards enhancing your time with friends and family.

For assistance in sprucing up your home and yard for the summer months, you can always rely on the friendly and capable craftsmen at Handyman Matters to help out with any project, large or small.  Call 1(866)FIX-MY-HOME or go to www.handymanmatters.com where you can enter your zip code to find the number of the location nearest you.