How do I know if this is trash? – Garage Edition

It’s spring cleaning time. Or perhaps you’re tasked with cleaning out a relative’s garage. Or maybe you have inherited some stuff you just don’t want.

But is it trash?

How do you know?

Here’s a handy guide to what is – and isn’t – trash in your garage.

Lawnmower:

That old gas guzzling, gray cloud spewing lawnmower. You thought maybe you got rid of it when you got the new one … was that six years ago? Seven?

Ask some key questions. Is it in almost-usable shape? If so, there are good reasons to donate it to a lawnmower repair place. A lot of lawnmowers are built with standard-size parts, and these can be used or upcycled to keep other lawnmowers in good repair. Donate

If it worked when you replaced it, someone might be able to get it working again, depending on the extent of the damage. Donate

Is it covered in rust, with visible damage from the elements and maybe rodents? (Rodents are attracted to the sweet taste of common engine oils.)  Trash

Hand tools:

Still sturdy and in workable shape? These are the types of tools that can get re-worked and put to good use for another generation. Donate

Covered in rust? Unmoveable? Showing physical signs of decay? Trash

Siding and building materials:

You forgot that you kept that bag of shingles after the roofing project, “just in case.” But there it is, under something that was under something in your garage. Or maybe it is a few yards of siding.

Do you still have that shingle / siding on your house? You might want to keep it, let’s see how we do on these questions: is it still the original color without staining? Keep

There really is no place to donate these. However, maybe you’re lucky and the siding is true aluminum siding? Recycle

Oh, it’s just discolored siding from an old project? Trash

Turf builder and lawn food:

Do you feel lucky, even though it is expired? Many lawn and garden chemicals change properties over time, but they tend to become a little bit weaker. Applying them to your lawn won’t do damage, as long as you follow the rules on the side of the bag. Keep

But your lawn is your greatest joy and you don’t want to take any chances? Many of these can go directly to the dump, but you don’t want to risk it.  Read the label, then, and dispose of as directed. Trash

Old sporting equipment:

Oh the memories in that old tennis racket. Remember that one game of croquet we played that summer when this set was new? Sadly, time and technology have moved on. If your racket is more than 7 years old, it’s not going to find a new home. That old basketball with a water stain, and that volleyball that you THINK MIGHT hold air? No one cares, and no one is about to start using it now that it has been found. Trash

Aww, my old baseball glove. So many good memories, mostly from being with friends before and after the game. Memories are hard to replace. Bring it inside, dust it off, oil it up, and wrap it in newspaper. Keep

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