How Do I Know It’s Time to Remodel My Kitchen?

When you were walking through your house, deciding whether to buy it, you made dozens of instant decisions and plans for what you’d like to do with the space.

 

But now a few years have passed, all the major changes in the house have been done. Time has begun to take its toll.

 

Maybe one day, the kitchen cabinetry simply looks old or scratched. The appliances were once a set, but due to fading or hard use they no longer look like each other. Or maybe the sink has just never worked in that spot.

 

How do you know when it is time to do a full kitchen remodel?

 

These questions will help you come to the right conclusion.

 

Kitchen Use

 

First you want to assess how you use your kitchen.

 

This might sound odd. You know how you use your kitchen!

 

However, this actually changes over time. Your kitchen use can be affected by the number of people who live in your house, the level of activity during the day, whether you work at home, whether you travel for work, if you have pets, and a variety of other factors.

 

A helpful way to start this conversation is by filling out this HGTV questionnaire about how you use your kitchen during an ordinary day: https://www.hgtv.com/content/dam/documents/Kitchen-Day-in-the-Life-of-100.pdf

 

Once you have considered those questions, take a look around.

 

 

Cabinets and Countertops

 

Do you have enough cabinetry and countertops? Are your cabinets and kitchen supplies near where you use them the most? Is there enough space to do the work you need to do?

 

If you answer all of these questions “yes,” this is good news. You might need to merely repaint or repair the cabinets instead of doing a full remodel.

 

If not, consider reviewing your floorplan and hiring an expert to assist your remodel. Replacing cabinets and countertops will be hard work. Getting the right mix of materials and the best use of space will require expert help.

 

 

Appliances

 

Do your appliances meet your daily needs? Does your refrigerator use a coolant other than Freon?

 

If you answered these questions “yes,” this is a good sign. Being able to continue in your remodel without having to replace appliances will make the work easier and a lot less expensive.

 

If there are available amenities that you would like to add to your kitchen, like a door ice dispenser, or a super silent dishwasher, your upgrade becomes more challenging and expensive. You will need to decide whether to donate or dump your current appliances.

 

If they work but are dented, scratched, or faded, your appliance retailer will likely haul them out for you, for a small fee.

 

If you are replacing it because it does not work, then you might want to think about your dumpster needs for your remodel.

 

 

Plumbing and electrical fixtures

 

Is your kitchen sink beautiful and in good working order? Is it in the right place? How about the bank of outlets that power your mixer, toaster, and coffeemaker?

 

Getting involved in moving the plumbing or outlets can be the costliest and most complex part of a kitchen remodel. It is advised to not undertake these moves without very good reason.

 

You want to have the best design for the room where you make your meals and often spend a good part of your day. If these changes will make every day better, then it might well be your best investment.

How Do I Know It’s Time to Remodel My Bathroom?

With the possible exception of your kitchen, your bathroom is the most abused room in your house.

 

Think about what happens in there. Really think about it.

 

The bathroom endures periods of intense heat and humidity. It is alternately the dirtiest and cleanest place in the whole house. You use harsh chemicals for almost constant cleaning. Spitting, rinsing, brushing, applying and taking off various products to yourself and your fixtures.

 

No room knows you as well as your bathroom.

 

So you know when it is time to remodel.

 

But what should you replace? And what can you just change?

 

 

Are fixtures in the right place?

 

Answering this question is the key to the size and scope of your bathroom plans. If your fixtures are essentially where you’d like them to be, then your remodel should be relatively simple.

 

But if you were thinking you’d always like to have the sink in a different place, it is a whole new ballgame.

 

Well there are many bathroom repairs you can achieve on your own, one that involves moving plumbing and electricity is likely not one of them. Hire a remodeler.

 

 

Are your fixtures old or ugly?

 

Good news. Replacing the sink, faucets, and even your toilet are do-it-yourself projects for the moderately experienced home owner. These can be heavy jobs, and at key points will require help.

 

This help will include getting the items into the right place, and disposing of the old fixtures at the curb or in a rented dumpster.

 

This work is always complicated by the age of the existing work. If your sink or bathtub faucets were replaced or repaired recently, you might find flexible water pipes, which are easy to maneuver and re-attach.

 

If not, your work will be harder, but still in the “moderate” range.

 

Even replacing a shower head can take an afternoon and change how you feel about your bathroom in the years ahead.

 

Wallpaper or paint?

 

Because of the constant changes in temperature and humidity wallpaper is generally a bad choice for the bathroom. While there are some wallpapers specifically made to handle this sort of abuse, the number of corners, narrow spaces, and limited room to work seem will discourage all but the heartiest wallpaper hangers.

 

Most homeowners and remodelers prefer to paint a bathroom. Easy-to-apply and waterproof, a high quality semi-gloss paint will provide the mix of economy and durability that most owners will value.

 

Sometimes a new coat of paint is really all that your bathroom needs to feel new and welcoming again.

 

 

Cabinetry and hooks

 

Years of abuse can take their toll on your mirror, cabinets, and hooks.

 

Some of the simplest repairs in the restroom might be selecting beautiful designer hooks. The range of options these days is almost endless, as you can see here at Wayfair.com, and your bathroom can have a style and flair that adds whimsy and a sense of style to every day.

 

 

What do you think? Where will you start your bathroom makeover?

How do I know if this is trash? – Under the Porch Edition

That smell, you realize, is coming from under the porch. Something has gone under there to die, and accomplished its mission, if your nose is to be trusted.

But why would it go under YOUR porch? It’s not like there are places to hide …

Oh, wait. Yes.

You’ve been throwing things under this porch for hmm … going on a decade now.

That’s a LOT of stuff. You can’t even see what is making the smell.

Time to clean. But how to decide if items you find should be kept, donated, sold at a garage sale, or thrown away?

Read this quick guide!

Old concrete

Are these concrete blocks that are complete, whole, and in usable shape? Keep

Wait, that’s a lot more blocks than I thought. Maybe someone else can use them for a specific project? A lot of middle-sized to large communities have one or more organizations to help with just this sort of thing. Donate

I thought these would be useful but they are really just chunks of concrete. Maybe I could use them as filler for … well, maybe I could make something up? Trash

Tools

“I own a wheelbarrow?” Have you been doing yardwork for years without it? Did you replace it? I thought so. Donate

Is it rusted through, either on the wheel brace or the container portion? It’s not able to do anyone any good. Trash

Hand tools

Still sturdy and, with a little love, it could go to work again? These tools that can get oiled up and put to good use for another generation. Maybe you’re not the one for this task. Donate

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

Lumber

Oh, yes. You remember these parts from that fence project. Or was it the garage? Either way take a quick look at them. Are they warped? Are they damaged from the water? Trash

Are they stained? This might be okay if you need them as a replacement part for something that is painted. Are they in mint condition? Keep

That small stack over there? The odds and ends you are keeping just in case you come up with a project. Really? How long has it been? Are you coming into a whole bunch of free time sometime soon? No? Really, not even a pandemic is enough to turn the average person into a woodworker. Trash

Odds and ends

Old trash can lid. Is it aluminum? Recycle   Another other material? Trash

You have held on to these toddler toys for years, but in addition to Father Time, safety standards have also crept up on you. These won’t be safe or in good condition when you have grandkids. Trash

That old sled … might actually be useful. Is it in working condition, with no holes or warps? Keep

Nothing is more fun than a neighborhood garage sale and clean-out week. Go together and rent a dumpster, and drop a hint to your hoarder neighbor.

 

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

It’s an ambitious project, remodeling the kitchen. Who knew how much stuff you had? Maybe you inherited some of it … you sure don’t remember buying this much.

Is this from … our wedding? I’ve never seen it since then, I thought we lost it.

Picking through old kitchen equipment can be amusing, and it can trigger old and powerful memories. Sorting through memories, functionality, and practicality can be a difficult journey. But you can’t take it all with you.

Here’s a quick guide to deciding if what you have found is garbage, or great.

Dishes

Did you just dig up a third set of dishes? Well, not a ‘set’ exactly, but these certainly match each other in some sort of way, though there are pieces missing.

Ask yourself – is this part of an heirloom or family keepsake-quality set? If not: Trash

Are there specific useful pieces that are missing from your regular set? Say, for instance, corn holders, or a gravy boat. These are useful spares. Keep

Old Cabinets

About to tear out the cabinets and think you might have a place to use them? If you can readily identify where you will hang them, and when, and with whom: Keep

But these are in pretty good shape someone might want to buy them. If you have a buyer: Keep

You’re SURE a buyer is out there … somewhere: Trash

Old small appliances

I thought we threw out this old toaster. It still works! Great, no one will mind this little bit of rust, right? Yes, they will mind: Trash

No rust, still works? Donate / Garage Sale

“I wonder if this old hand mixer is worth something.” Don’t have all the original parts? Trash

But I’ve got this one recipe I used to make with this specific appliance, I wonder if I should dust it off, it’s only been ten years. Donate / Garage Sale

Old big appliances

Big appliances are a reliable item – generally there is someone somewhere who wants it. You could take advantage of the system in your community (if it exists) where they take away large appliances, but there will be better options almost every time.

Ask yourself why you are replacing it. Does it work, but not as well as you would like? Are you just getting a new color of kitchen and it does not fit in anymore? Donate

Perhaps it has a few surface scratches but was working fine? Donate

Now this old refrigerator just quit working and we had to get it replaced the next day to prevent the loss of all our groceries. A refrigerator has important and expensive components, some of which might be harmful in a dump. Donate

Tupperware

Do you have a complete set? Donate / Garage Sale

Incomplete set? Missing a lid or two? It’s just a ‘tiny’ stain? Trash

But … Trash.

No one wants your old Tupperware.

Spring cleaning can be fun. Go in with your neighbors and rent a 10-yard truck for the neighborhood today!

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

Help! My Landscaping Project Involves Removing A Garage!

Sometimes when the phone rings, the voice on the other end is panicked.  “Please help. My husband has started this landscaping project and we need to remove the old garage. How can we do this?”

We love it when the answer is this easy: put it in a dumpster.

Not just any dumpster, of course. You will need a Big Daddy Dumpster.

Tear down safely with these tools

You will need to own, rent, or borrow a couple of simple tools.

Hammer: Some of the time, simply pulling a nail will be easier than “Hulk! Smash!” Not always more fun, just easier.

Sledgehammer: a sledgehammer is built to do the difficult work of breaking things apart. The weight helps you leverage a swing into barn-busting power.

Gloves: You will be working around wood, which means splinters and nails. Wood is also an absorbent surface pulling moisture from your hands, and dry, cracked hands are more susceptible to rips and tears. Don’t take any chances, wear gloves

Crow bar / spud bar: All this prying will involve a crow bar AND a spud bar. The crow bar can do the close-up prying and nail removal that a hammer can’t quite manage. The spud bar will allow you leverage to pry loose footers and corner joists with ease.

Ladder: Before you smash in to the work, remove some – but not all – of the reinforcing supports and the electrical wiring (if any) safely from your ladder. Then smash.

Work boots: heavy soled work boots are the best for a demolition project with nails. It is very easy for a foot to slide onto an exposed nail and to turn a fun event into a medical event.

Demolition, and getting the garage in the dumpster

Early in the planning stages you will want to talk with a Bid Daddy Dumpster consultant to make sure you have the right dumpster. We will need to know the dimensions of the existing garage. This helps us determine the total volume of the project.

You don’t want to have one side of a garage that you need to later put out in small parcels with the ordinary garbage. That can add weeks to the project.

Once you have the right size dumpster delivered to your site, you are ready to begin the demolition.

Tearing down a garage is a great family and community activity. Gather people for the first big tear-down. Some folks like to tie the roof to a pickup truck and tow it down, others prefer to just go at it with sledgehammers and crow bars.

Either way, make sure you are clear about how people are working. No one wants to accidentally hit another person with a piece of steel or wood debris.

Encourage your worker, or remind yourself, to lift debris in a responsible way. Bend at the knees, keeping your back as straight as you can. This way, the main weight is kept on your large lifting muscles in your legs. Your back will thank you in the morning.

Hauling it away safely

When it is time, you have one last lifting chore. Pick up your phone, call (937) 790-1661 and identify yourself and your project. We will haul it away for you.

That’s the easiest part!

Help! My Landscaping Project Involves Removing A Concrete Sidewalk!

We get calls or emails like this every once in a while. “Please help. I have this landscaping project and we need to remove the old sidewalk. How can we do this?”

Well, if removing concrete is part of the plan for your next remodeling project indoors or out, any reputable trash removal company like Big Daddy Dumpsters can help.

The hard part is still the same: getting the concrete in the dumpster.

Breaking up concrete safely

You will need to own, rent, or borrow a couple of simple tools.

Sledgehammer: a sledgehammer is built to do the difficult work of breaking up concrete. Its reinforced steel head can survive thousands of concrete-busting collisions.

Goggles: concrete is brittle. When you strike it with a sledgehammer small chips are going to fly and unpredictable directions. While your eyes are remarkably quick to react to their environment, your eyelid is not up to the task of keeping speeding concrete out. Wear goggles at all times.

Gloves: in addition to being brittle, concrete is abrasive, caustic, and absorbent. While you it may have worked with concrete bricks in the past, picking them up and moving them, it does not compared to the hardship your hands will face working all day to remove a concrete sidewalk. Hundreds of interactions with concrete will not only leave your hands dry and chapped, but also create a chance for concrete burns, as a result of the alkaline. Don’t’ take that chance.

Crow bar / spud bar: concrete breaks better when it is on top of other concrete. The best way to pry out large chunks once you start to break them apart is to use a long handled crowbar known as a spud bar. Available almost anyplace you can buy tools, this will save you hours of work and is worth the investment.

Lifting concrete safely

Early in the planning stages or even in implementation of a concrete removal project, it is common to be full of confidence. You are strong. You are healthy. You can certainly lift concrete and put it into your rented dumpster.

This is all true. However, few of us are physically up to the task of doing this work multiple times over several hours.

It is important that you first break up the concrete into smaller chunks. These easier to lift chunks will make it easier to get out of bed the next morning.

Find a concrete slab size that you can easily lift.

Bend at the knees as much as possible, keeping your back straight. This places the main weight on your large lifting muscles in your legs, instead of lesser-used standing muscles in your back.

Resist the urge to throw these large pieces of concrete, as the twisting and untwisting with the additional weight can cause serious injury.

Hauling it away safely

When it is time, you have one last lifting chore. Pick up your phone, call (937) 790-1661 and identify yourself and your project. We will haul it away for you.

How Do I Safely Dispose of My Old Computer?

Computers play such an important part in our daily lives that we begin to think of them as if they were any other regular household item.

When a spoon is broken we simply throw it out. When we find that a piece of furniture no longer meets our needs, we donate it. Or if that furniture is in such bad shape that donating is not a possibility, we throw it out, by contracting the right waste removal experts, of course. Same with old clothes and other daily use items: we are confident that we can dispose of them in the trash.

However, because of our daily interaction with them, we forget that computers are in fact incredibly complex. Every computer has a mix of rare and precious materials inside of it. Some of them are worth money by themselves and some of them are hazardous to our health and our environment if not disposed of properly.

For that reason, there are often many local, county, and state laws or guidelines for throwing away a computer.

What’s Inside?

Lead

Lead is the one common contaminant inside computers, because it has many beneficial traits. First, it is used to coat the inside of the computer and disc readers, protecting the user from radiation. Lead is also a common solder component, so that it exists in every joint between chips and the motherboard.

Lead’s threat to our health is widely known and understood. It can cause developmental delays in growing children. When exposed to high levels of lead, a person can become anemic, or develop kidney or brain damage.

Cadmium

Trace amounts of cadmium is found in the resistors, semi-conductors, cables, and wires in your computer.

Cadmium, when ingested, is not fully expelled from the body. As the amount of cadmium increase, so do chances for kidney failure and even cause liver and heart damage. Rarely, severe overexposure can cause death.

Mercury

LCD screens and certain lights are used less often in modern computers. These are the most common sources of mercury in our environment. If your computers or electronics possess a cracked LCD screen, you should treat it as a toxin. An uncracked screen should be respected, and thrown away according to mercury handling provisions in your area.

Mercury is a known neurotoxin. It is associated with the old phrase “mad as a hatter,” because haberdashers and hatters used to waterproof hats by rubbing mercury on them. These workers over time developed peculiar habits and traits. In short, they were believed to be “mad” or crazy. We know that they were affected by this deadly neurotoxin.

Because these known carcinogens and toxins are present in every computer, you should dispose of old computers differently than other household waste.

Follow guidelines for safe donation or disposal in your community.

These Items Don’t Belong in the Landfill

Construction and cleaning projects happen all year round. Whether you are changing a lightbulb, cleaning the garage, remodeling the basement, or doing a full demolition of the kitchen, these projects create trash.

 

Sometimes lots of trash.

 

And some of this trash does not belong in the landfill.

 

Whatever you’re doing around the house, it helps to know what you can and can’t put in the trash. Below are some broad categories of items that cannot go to the landfill. If you are throwing any of these items away you will need to check local rules and regulations for how best to dispose of them.

 

 

Hazardous liquids

 

Because of their ability to catch fire, pose some hazard to waste workers, or seep into our ground and damage drinking water reserves, certain hazardous liquids are banned from most landfills.

 

You should be careful when throwing out items from these categories:

 

  • Paints and stains
  • Varnish and thinners
  • Devices that contain mercury such as thermometers and certain light bulbs
  • Used or new oil or oil filters
  • Other automotive fluids

 

When disposing of these items, check the label carefully. Then check with local resources to see how best to dispose of them.

 

 

Electronics and batteries

 

The chemicals, compounds, and minerals used to create electronics and batteries are precious in part because of their reactivity. However, the thing that makes them useful is also the thing that makes them dangerous when they are mishandled or disposed of improperly.

 

Because of the amounts of chemicals involved, you can generally simply toss in the trash small batteries such as those used for toys and radios.

 

However, if your items are on this list, you will want to check local regulations:

 

  • Televisions
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Large batteries such as car, lawnmower, sump pump, or boat batteries
  • Computers and some computer accessories

 

Take care with these items. In some cases, a hidden reward of checking might be that someone is willing to dispose of or re-use the item. In the case of electronic computer components, companies in some places disassemble the computer in order to harvest ingredients that can be resold or reused.

 

Your donation could actually work to save a precious resource and fuel the economy.

 

 

Other dangerous waste

 

Items on this list don’t fit easily into a single category. They do, however, sometimes show up in home projects and need to be disposed of according to local regulations.

 

  • Any medical waste including syringes and lancets
  • Explosives including fireworks
  • Fuels including gasoline, or gasoline mixes commonly used in lawnmowers, off-road recreation vehicles, or scale models
  • Chemicals for treating pools or ponds
  • Propane cylinders

 

 

Be careful when cleaning to make sure that the items listed above get disposed of properly. Doing so helps keep people safe.

Big Do-It-Yourself Projects

Home prices are skyrocketing and the housing market is struggling to keep pace with demand. In this market, many homeowners are choosing to take on major renovation projects around the house.

 

These major projects probably require a contractor, though the handiest of fix-it people might try to take these on themselves.

 

Here are popular projects based on the value they add to your living space.

 

Basement renovation:  few renovation projects add square footage as efficiently as a basement remodel. There are lots of ideas for how to do it, but full agreement on why: usually the infrastructure is in place for an economical expansion. Better yet, basement renovations often yield high returns on the investment. Homeowners who later sell often realize more than 70% return on their investment in a basement.

 

Kitchen renovation: kitchen renovations are among the most complex, costly, and time-consuming projects a homeowner can take on. At around $100 per square foot, they can really set a homeowner back. Nationally, owners report that they only return between 50% and 60% on their investment in a sale.

 

A kitchen remodel almost always means working with electricity and water, so often the work involves coordinating multiple professionals and managing their schedules. Unfortunately, many homeowners must plan to leave their house for a period of time for a kitchen renovation.

 

Adding a room: Adding new space can be an attractive way to renovate your house. Adding a mudroom, breakfast nook, or even a full guest room over the garage, can be accomplished without adding expensive foundation elements. There are lots of ideas for where and what to add, and a wide range of costs. Picking the project that will be most useful for your family is important.

 

Renovating a bathroom: Bathroom renovations can be almost as powerful as kitchen renovations in shaping your quality of life. There is not another room where you are certain to visit at least twice a day, and no space knows you as intimately. Making the space larger, warmer, and adding storage are common adaptations. Expect a bathroom renovation to return nearly 70% on investment, according to Zillow.

 

 

Remember, despite information about the return on investment, there are even better reasons to take on these renovations. They simply make your space better.

 

More than one homeowner has taken on a major renovation to prepare for a sale, and decided to stay. They found that their new space was better than any house they might find on the market.

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