Everyone Needs to Clean Up Sometimes

Since starting Lone Star Hauling Services I have been able to help many people remove unwanted items that were cluttering their homes and lives. In this process I have also witnessed some who for one reason or another have accumulated way too many useless items. Very often they struggle with selling, giving or throwing away these possessions. Of course I am not one of those that struggles with getting rid of useless items…or so I thought.

Let me demonstrate what I mean. I have lived on a small farm for over forty years. As with any farm you keep many things on hand because you never know when you may need it to make a repair or build something new. I have even converted the former dairy barn on my land into my woodworking shop. I enjoy this hobby and as anyone who does woodworking knows, you can use small pieces for all sorts of things: pen blanks (which I want to but never have), drawer pulls (bought all of them so far), accent pieces (have not found that one piece to use it on) and so on.

Now anyone who’s lived on a farm also knows you can’t have too many tools. Case in point:  I am the proud owner of five or six partial sets of the least expensive tools originating from Taiwan, China, Vietnam and other places I am unable to speak their language. For some strange reason I also have a good set of Craftsman tools which I’m unable to remember how I got them. And then of course I have a lot of wood working tools. Some of these I inherited from my grandfathers and have a special meaning to me. Others I found, were given to me or I purchased at garage or estate sales. It’s important to note that tools don’t break unless you’re using them in which case it’s handy to have that back up hammer at the ready that you’ve been saving for the last forty years. Now if you could just find it…

Which brings me to my point. My shop consists of essentially an entire barn and yet everyone knows you cannot have a big enough building in which to keep all those valuable items. I have had so many valuable items at times I could hardly walk through, let alone work or find the items I needed. I do need to point out that I’m not always at a loss to find tools. When you own 60 to 75 screw drivers you’d be hard pressed not to find one when needed. Now the problem comes when I need to get something quickly. If I know where something is, how long will it take me to get to the area where it’s at and how much stuff will I need to move before I get to the needed item?

But how does this relate to you? Because this is a success story, a tale of the human condition and consequential triumph. My hopes in sharing this account is that it will inspire others to also remove the excess clutter from your own lives.

About a year ago I decided that I needed to do something about cleaning my own workspace. I think it was just after when I fell trying to make my way through the shop (really not funny). I wasn’t worried about the fall as much as what would happen if everything fell on top of me and how most likely no one would know it looked any different. They might have never found me should that have happened! Something had to be done.

It was after this incident, dare I say it, I started throwing things away. For me this was a gigantic step in the right direction. Well actually a small step for me, a gigantic step for the safety for those who might dare enter my shop. However after a year I was not that far along in my goal to eliminate excess and I might have even been losing some of the space I had freed up. So with a shot of Diet Coke to stiffen my nerves I decided that anything that I didn’t have an immediate need of, did not see a foreseeable future of needing or have a space to safely store it, had to go. Did you feel the force tremble? I might have but I think it was just my aging knees.

In the process I found six electric circular saws, three that worked and three that I meant to fix and I’m sure I would have fixed them if I had remembered that I put them there. Then there was the ten coping saws that I found in different places, some of them so cheaply made that I doubt would have worked well if I ever got around to using one. I threw away a paint can of nails I had been saving for twenty years because I would need those nails (never once used one nail out of that bucket). I have been giving away, selling somethings and throwing away the rest but I can now walk in my shop without fear of injury.

Readers let me share that it’s so much nicer to be in my shop, move around and go immediately to something I need. Truth be told I’m not finished yet but it takes time to decide on which one of ten framing squares to keep. If I can’t find a good home for the others it’s the trash for them. There will be no turning back for me.

Hopefully this tale will inspire you to also clear out what you’re not using and free up some extra space. Perhaps it will be for your own mental health, perhaps like me it will be for your personal safety. But whatever the reason, give Lone Star Hauling a call to assist in your clean up!

Protecting Your Home from Spring Time Bugs

Protecting Your Home from Spring Bugs

Spring with all its pleasures is upon us. With it come fragrant blooms, sunshine, near perfect temperatures…and unfortunately the return of pesky bugs. Especially if you live near a green belt or in area with a lot of trees, the bugs may literally be coming out of the woodworks. However, those critters don’t have to reign supreme. Here are a few simple tricks that can help keep your home bug-free this year.

  1. If you have a brick home, you’ll notice that every few feet there are some holes left in the mortar between the bottom rows of bricks. These gaps are called weep holes and were intentionally left there to help let your house breath as the temperature rises and falls. Unfortunately, they can also create the perfect entry way for insects such as spiders and roaches to enter your walls. Now, there are two ways to prevent that from happening. The first is to always spray your favorite pesticides to create a repellent against the bugs which then acts as an invisible barrier.  This works well but may not stop all insects. My second recommendation is to either fill or stuff the weep holes with a copper mesh to make a permanent safe guard against the larger bugs. Any type of mesh will do the job but I prefer copper because, unlike other metals, it doesn’t leave rust marks behind.
  2. Keep a look out for flying insects like wasps that like to nest up in your eaves. We’ve all had experience of seeing a wasp’s nest, knocking it down only to come back a week later to find another nest being built in its place. This is because wasps leave a pheromone scent where they build their nests much like ants. The best way to prevent this from happening is to spray the bottom of an old broom with a pesticide that actually removes or blocks that pheromone. With this trick those same wasps won’t be building a nest right outside your door way again.
  3. Now for the bugs that wreck the greatest havoc—termites. The average cost to repair a home from termite damage is $3,000[i]! However, there are a few precautions you can take as a homeowner to prevent you from ever having to worry about termites making your home theirs. The first is to make sure that any and all flower beds around the house are at least 6 inches below the point where the brick and foundation meet. If not, you’re giving the termites a perfect window to enter into your home and begin eating away at the frame. The next step is to make sure that you don’t have any shrubs or greenery right up against your home. If the termites can climb up a base of a shrub and then onto ledge and then inside your home, there is good chance they will. And of course, it’s always smart to have a licensed exterminator to check your house at least once a year. They know exactly where to look for termites and they can make recommendations on how to best get rid of them.

While most of these steps are easy enough for a homeowner to handle on their own, for the most thorough protection against those damaging critters, you’ll want to involve an exterminating professional. Especially for time consuming precautions that should be implemented on a monthly basis. Hiring a professional is often cheaper than most people think. For example,  most people will spend anywhere from $15 to $30+ monthly on over-the-counter products and then will spend their precious free time knocking down wasp nests and battling the fire ants. It will roughly cost the same for a good service, not to mention all the time you save to be spent on things you enjoy. And if they’re a good company, they will most likely offer free re-services in the event you find bugs in between their quarterly treatments. A great local company I recommend is Kindred Pest Control. Besides competitive pricing, they provide more additional services than most anyone else. Give them a call for a free estimate. They can be reached at either (979)436-8023 or by visiting their website, kindredpestcontrol.com. Now enjoy those warmer temperatures in your bug-free yard!

[i] http://ransfordpc.com/2013/12/how-much-does-a-termite-infestation-actually-cost/

That Junk In Your Trunk Could Be Costing You $$$

We’ve all felt the cost of gasoline time and time again. It doesn’t matter if it’s dirt cheap or costing us an arm and a leg, gas is a guaranteed expense for most of us. Big or small, we love the convenience of our cars but no one loves buying gas. I remember hearing stories from my dad about my grandfather traveling across town to save a few cents on a gasoline fill up. I usually seem to wait till the very last fume before I pull into a gas station, which has landed me in some close counters with an empty gas tank.

Though we’re lucky enough to live in an age with some of the most fuel efficient vehicles ever on the road, but most often fuel efficiency doesn’t come in four-wheel-drive or turn heads… It usually means you’ll be asked to turn in your man card for that new set of Toyota Prius keys. And if you’re like me, that won’t be happening!

I began my quest for better gas millage just like anyone else: I changed the oil and air filter, checked the tire pressure on all four wheels and even bought a can of oxygen sensor and carb cleaner. All of these did improve my gas mileage a good bit! I was very pleased with my results, when after checking my MPG, I discovered I got a whole two gallons more than before! I went from fourteen miles to the gallon in my 2004 Expedition to getting sixteen to the gallon! You bet I was smiling all the way home!

Could it get even better? Well the following Saturday I was asked to go pick up my brother from a neighboring city. Needing to clear some space for his bags, I emptied a few items that had been sitting in the back of my vehicle for one reason or another. These being a chain in the event of an emergency, a few big boxes of dishes and books which I was supposed to drop off at Goodwill but hadn’t yet done so, and other random things I had allowed to collect back there. Needless to say upon removing these items I came to find that my gas millage had actually increased a whole another mile per gallon! I felt a little dumb that I hadn’t thought of doing that earlier…Of course a less loaded vehicle means less stress on the engine and more money back in your wallet!

I decided to read up more on the topic to see just how much weight would actually make a noticeable difference. According to an article written by Sebastian Blanco of the well-known Auto Blog website, just reducing the weight of a vehicle by a 100 pounds the gas mileage will improve 1-2%. Meaning if gas were priced at $2.58 a gallon it would be a total savings of .03-.05 cents a gallon, though of course the size of your vehicle would impact the total savings. Reducing just 5% of the vehicles total weight actually increases fuel economy 2.1%! Now imagine if you’re like me and instead of decreasing the weight, you start increasing the weight inside your car. That’s money right out of your pocket!

Sure they’re only pennies on the dollar but if you saved 5 cents a gallon and bought thirty gallons a week that would be $78 a year you’d be paying to haul around all that extra stuff. Take the proactive choice today and begin cleaning that junk in the truck to start saving money for every mile you drive. It’ll keep not only your wallet happy, but you too just knowing how clean your car now is!