Home and garden checklist

Published: Saturday, Sep. 8, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 7CALIFORNIA LIFE

Garden Checklist

Take advantage of pleasant weather, especially in the morning, and renew your garden:

• Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

• Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

• Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots and potatoes.

• Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.

• Sow a new lawn or seed bare spots. Consider replacing lawn with perennials.

• Speaking of perennials, dig, divide and replant overgrown perennials such as daylilies and Shasta daisies as they finish blooming. Divide and replant bearded irises, too. Before replanting, weed and amend the flower beds with compost or other organic fertilizer.

Home Checklist

When was the last time you could actually fit two cars in the garage? Does clutter pack the rafters or make it difficult to negotiate a path? Are boxes piled higher than an SUV?

Garages can be dangerous places, especially if they're packed with stuff. In recognition of this common household hazard, the Lehigh Group (makers of Crawford garage and home workshop products) came up with National Clean Out Your Garage Day.

Today is that day, the fourth annual National COYG Day. Ace Hardware and Quickie joined Lehigh in promoting its observance.

"We established 'National Clean Out Your Garage Day' to occur on the first weekend after Labor Day since this is a time much of the country transitions from summer to fall and begins putting items such as bikes, lawnmowers and garden tools away for the season," said Deborah Hanson, director of external affairs for The Lehigh Group. "This is a great time to take stock of the safety of your garage, clean it out and organize as needed to make this space safer – and more functional."

Hanson cites a recent nationwide survey of 1,000 adults that showed several common hazards in crowded garages. Four out of 10 people had tripped over something in their garage. One in four had hit an object when opening a car door. One in five had accidentally hit something when trying to park inside their garage.

These problems can be prevented with a little organization, Hanson said.

But where to start?

"A great way to approach garage organization is to divide the area into sections," Hanson said. "Categorizing items and storing them in dedicated areas not only increases safety, but makes it easier to locate items when you need them."

Here are some examples:

• Parking zone: There should be enough room to fully open vehicle doors without hitting obstacles as well as room to walk around the car.

• Yard and gardening equipment: Think vertically and use wall hooks or storage systems to get most tools off the ground and out of the way.

• Sporting equipment: Create a sports zone to keep equipment together and tidy. Sports-oriented organizers have grips and hooks to put gear in its place. Screw-in hooks, flip-up bike hangers and pulleys keep bicycles off the ground and out of the way.

• Tools and hardware: The garage often doubles as a workshop, but tools can be dangerous. Place saw blades and sharp objects on heavily secured storage hooks or systems. Secure tools and wrap extension cords using tool hangers. Use pegboards, tool bins and wire baskets to keep tools and equipment sorted and out of reach of small children.

• Camping and outdoor equipment: When zoning your garage space, don't forget the ceiling. This is a great place to store seasonal equipment such as camping gear. Use overhead storage hooks and hangers.

• Cleaning supplies and chemicals: Place toxic materials such as paint, paint thinner, weed and bug killers and fertilizer in high cabinets or lockable tool chests. Use sturdy shelves to store cleaning solutions and vehicle fluids. Use hooks, hangers or storage systems for cleaning tools such as push brooms and squeegees.

Learn more at www.crawfordorganization.com.

– Debbie Arrington

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