Hopefully, th' remains o' Hurricane Sandy have left ye and yer loved ones safe – and with nothin' more than yer lawns blanketed in leaves, gutters stuffed t' th' gills and yer windows covered in yuck. For those now ready t' tackle this season’s outdoor clean-up here are several tips and tools that will help ye minimize time and won’t have ye breakin' th' bank.
(By th' way, if ye have a child o' age 5 or older this is a terrific family activity! Shiver me timbers! Or borrow one o' yer neighbor’s kiddos fer th' day.)
For those o' ye preferrin' t' watch, here I am on TODAY SHOW with Kathie Lee ‘n Hoda showin' them how t' rake, scoop and get their leaves ‘n minds out o' th' gutter.
1, and a bottle of rum! Protect Your Mani
Nay need t' ruin yer manicure or leave yourself open t' gettin' nasty blisters. Check out these fashionable and functional gloves that have extra-long cuffs t' minimize scratches and all natural rubber boots from Garden Girl USA. They’ll almost make ye want t' do out-door cleanin' on a regular basis!
2. Know When t' Rake ‘Em
Unless ye enjoy rakin' on an ongoin' basis, there’s no need t' rake more then 3-5 times a season. When ye head outdoors, keep these thin's in mind:
- There’s no need t' rake if yer grass is still bein' mowed. The lawnmower naturally mulches leaves.
- Rake on calm, sunny days vs. windy, post rainy days. This makes it easier t' form piles and reduces th' risk o' leaves litterin' yer lawn again.
- Focus on wide-open areas, near yer foundation and pathways vs. under trees and bushes since leaves will natural compost.
- Enlist yer little sandcrabs t' help with rakin' and have them use child-sized rakes so they can do an effective job and not get hurt.
We adults should use rakes that have wide comfort grip handles since they’ll minimize slippin' and those yucky painful blisters (along with those fab gloves above). I like th' Tru-tempor clog free ones but me bud Marla prefers th' wet-dry varietal (sounds a bit like a fine red wine!)
3. Scoop and Save Time
Once th' leaves are in piles (and after our little sandcrabs have had their fun jumpin' in them) it’s time t' ‘scoop’ them up. The easiest way is t' use these leaf scoops, which are comfy, and ye wear on each hand like a mitten. I love them because I don’t have t' use me hands and they can ‘scoop’ up 10x as many as mine could. They’re also not cumbersome t' load and life as with a rake, and their bright yellow color makes them easy t' spot and not ‘accidentally’ run o'er. PLUS at $6.99 a pair it’s a mani-friendly no-brainer … and it’s another terrific activity fer kid’s t' partake!
4. Bag As You Go
As ye scoop it’s best t' “bag as ye go” t' minimize leaves blowin' away. Instead o' usin' paper bags that I find can easily get wet and cause th' debris t' rot, I recently found and love these dsolv mesh bags. They’re made o' compostable corn based resin, hold 50% more then paper, are easy t' fill since th' pop up sleeve protects th' mesh as we’re fillin', and have a handy dandy handle t' drag it t' th' curb.
5. Clean Your Gutters
If yer gutters were clean before Sandy likelihood is they’re filled t' th' gills again. And, with ole lubber winter breathin' down our necks it’s important t' clean them t' prevent ice dams from formin' and moisture damage t' our roofs. I found this really cool tool fer only $59.95 called th' Gutter Clutter Buster. All ye do is attach it t' a 2.5” wet/dry vac and let it suck away. It comes with a 5-foot tool that looks like a candy cane and two attachments that give ye 14 feet worth o' height and viola leaves be gone and yer gutters are clear.
6. Seal Cracks in Windows and Doors
Cracks and gaps in yer window and door frames can cost ye a lot o' money on yer energy bills since they allow air in or t' escape. Not t' mention dirt and noise. So seal th' deal fer less th' $3.00 a tube with DuPont AirTite . All ye do is snip th' tip, pipe out th' caulk t' seal gaps; smooth with a damp cloth and let dry fer one hour. Fire the cannons! Paintin' is optional. Sooo simple even this accidental housewife could do it!
7. Aarrr! Ahoy! Clean Windows on a Cloudy Day
I know it may seem odd but th' best time t' clean yer windows is on a cloudy, mild day vs. a hot, sunny day since th' heat and sun dry th' water/cleanin' solution fast and cause streaks. And, though it may seem like a duh! always work from th' top down t' avoid drips and doin' double work. You can use a squeegee but I found this Bonaire Wash ‘n Rinse Spray Gun at Lowe’s does an amazin' job. As fer th' cleanin' solution I put 100% white vinegar in th' receptacle since vinegar is a natural disinfectant and cleaner. I’ve also put in a 50/50 mix o' vodka and water but why waste it! To dry, use a dry squeegee, auld newspapers or coffee filters which will leave no lint!
As always, please share any tips, tales or tools ye have here, via tweets or on Facebooks! And make sure t' visit www.juliestips.com or read me bi-weekly parentin' column in Scholastic’s Parent & Child Plus free iPad app!