Eco Blog: dedication to Green Hauling

How to Reclaim an Overgrown Backyard

March 20th, 2017

overgrown yardMost people move into their homes with the best intentions of enjoying their backyards. Unfortunately, time can get away from them and their backyard becomes overgrown before they know it. Here in the Bay Area, following a relentless rainy season, vegetation is growing at a rate not seen in years.

It’s also possible that the house sat uninhabited for months with no one to tend to the back yard. Instead of relaxing on lawn chairs at the end of a long day, they head back inside within minutes due to mosquitoes and other pesky insects. The family pets can’t enjoy the backyard either due to tall grass and parasites. It will take some hard work, but homeowners can make their overgrown backyard inhabitable again with these tips.

Gather the Right Tools

A typical lawnmower may not work to tame an overgrown backyard full of knee-high grass and weeds. It’s best to avoid the risk of damaging the mower and rent or borrow a brush mower instead. If the area is walkable, a push brush mower should work just fine. Otherwise, it’s necessary to use a tow-behind model. These powerful mowers can easily cut through weeds and grass more than three inches thick.

Some homeowners must deal with several unwanted stumps if clearing the backyard involved removing unwanted trees. Getting rid of them is simple with a quality stump grinder. This method is far superior than trying to eliminate stumps with chemicals or digging them out by hand.

A brush grubber is the ideal tool to remove a single sapling or a section of brush. It’s impossible to remove either one with a lawn mower or chainsaw. With the brush grubber, the homeowner places a set of metal jaws containing spikes around a stump or small tree. After attaching a chain to the other end, the homeowner can pull the section of brush or sapling out with a truck, tractor, or ATV. This tool pulls out everything, including the roots.

Looking for professional help clearing out an overgrown backyard?

CONTACT FAST HAUL TODAY!

Steps to Getting the Overgrown Backyard Clean

Walking through the yard with several trash bags is the first step in regaining control. Homeowners should throw away any small items they don’t want to keep. A wheelbarrow comes in handy to transport larger items to the trash. People who know they want to eliminate some trees or plants should mark them with a ribbon and come back to them later. Other plants, shrubs, and trees could benefit from professional trimming. Homeowners who want to do the job themselves should ensure they have the right tools, including pruning shears. It’s also essential to throw away yard waste immediately.

When mowing the lawn with a regular mower, homeowners should choose the highest setting. Walking in half-lines instead of full lines the first time through saves wear on the mower. The next day, lower the setting and mow the lawn again. Rake and remove grass clippings from the yard right away to allow the new grass to grow without any restrictions. If the yard has a garden or landscape beds, rake them to remove any weeds and then re-establish neat borders.

Breaking down the tasks from most important to least important makes the whole project seem less overwhelming. This is important to keep in mind at the start of clearing an overgrown backyard as well as throughout the project.

Tips for Cleaning Up a Chaotic Garage

March 14th, 2017

garage clear-outHas your garage become a haven for just about anything that you don’t want in your house? Many people have so much junk in their garage that there isn’t even room for their car. Whether your clutter problem is massive or just close to getting out of control, a disorganized mess can lead to stress and even a scattered mind. Fortunately, there is an entire industry built around garage clean-up organization so that you can regain your space and your peace of mind. Here are seven tips for cleaning up that chaotic garage.

1. Block Out Some Time

Cleaning out a cluttered garage properly isn’t a one or two-hour job. If you want to get this task done right, set aside at least a full day and preferably an entire weekend for the work. While not fun by any means, you could speed up the process and might even have a few laughs if you include family and a few friends.

2. Sort Through Everything

You’ll need to pull absolutely every item out of each nook and cranny of your garage. Open closed boxes to find out if you have junk or hidden treasures. As you go through each item, test electronics and appliances to see if they work. Inspect tools and sports equipment for rust or mildew. Now it’s time to make some decisions.

3. Discard and Donate

When you touch each item in your garage, you’ll need to make several piles: garbage, donate or sell, and items to keep. If you expect that your discarded items pile is going to be massive, you might need to rent a dumpster for this occasion. Also, check with your local waste service for rules about discarding certain chemicals and electronics. Arrange for a service, if possible, to pick up donation items as soon as possible. If you’re going to sell some items, be sure that the effort is worth the potential gain.

Looking for professional help clearing out and disposing of unwanted items in your garage?

CONTACT FAST HAUL TODAY!

4. Organize and Strategically Store

You should now have a pile of articles that you’ve decided to keep. The next garage clean-up task is organizing and storing these items in the best way possible. Things that you shouldn’t store in your garage for a variety of reasons include paint, food, and paper products. If you already have shelving and storage systems, use what you have on hand.

5. Invest in Storage Products and Systems

To get the most organized garage, you’re probably going to need to invest in some storage products. Plastic bins are relatively cheap, many are see-through, and they can be stacked. Open shelves and tool systems work well in garages to keep your items easily accessible and organized. Pegboard organization systems are another inexpensive and efficient solution.

6. Use Ceiling and Wall Space

Since your goal is to de-clutter and make room for your car, you’ll want to get as much of your stuff off of the floor as possible. You can do this by using wall and ceiling space to store various items. Pegboards or large bins work well to store tools and sports equipment that you use frequently. Ceiling systems work to keep large items (surfboards, fishing poles, Christmas tree) out of the way. Just make sure that any ceiling storage doesn’t impede your garage door operation.

7. Tips to Stay Organized

Once you’ve achieved an organized garage space, the chaos can slowly creep back in over months and years. You can prevent this from happening with some careful planning and maintenance. Each spring, go through your items and donate or toss out what you no longer use. Sweep out and hose down the floor and apply a natural pesticide to the perimeter to keep bugs at bay.

Congratulations! You’re on your way to a successful garage clean-up project.

California’s Relentless 2016-17 Rain Season [Infographic]

February 24th, 2017

As a follow to our last post about the most recent set of storms to again pound the Bay Area, we’ve created the following infographic demonstrating the massive impact the last several months of record-setting rainfall have had.  In addition to filling reservoirs and adding to a healthy snowpack, all this rain has caused significant damage to private property and public infrastructure throughout the state.

If your home or business has suffered from flood damage or other rain-related issues that require the disposal or large, bulky, or hazardous materials, contact Fast Haul today! We serve clients throughout San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, and parts of Marin County.

To share the following infographic, use the social media buttons up top or the embed code at the bottom of the page!

relentless rain of 2016-17 season in Northern California infographic

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Bay Area Rainfall Relentless in 2017

February 14th, 2017

After many years of drought, the Bay Area has experienced an unprecedented amount of rainfall over the last several months. As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, it is increasingly evident that the amount of rainfall is approaching “too much of a good thing” levels.  Per the following graphic from the National Weather Service, this has been the rainiest or 2nd rainiest winter season in the last 100 years for many Bay Area cities:

With such prolific rainfall, and high winds accompanying many of these recent storm systems, homeowners around the Bay Area might find their backyards in a state of disarray. Customers throughout the Bay Area report muddy, flooded lawns, fallen trees, and varying degrees of chaos on their properties. Here’s what one San Mateo resident woke up to in his backyard after a recent storm earlier this month:

fallen tree san mateo

As the days get longer and weather gets warmer in the coming weeks, all that moisture in the ground will also lead to rapid growth in vegetation. To ensure your yard isn’t an overgrown mess come by Easter or Memorial Day, get an early start on backyard clean-up and contact Fast Haul today!

Our experienced work crews offer a wide variety of backyard and garden clean-up services including:

  • Ivy removal & weed removal
  • Garden maintenance
  • Irrigation installation & repair
  • Landscaping
  • House painting
  • Hillside cleaning – fire safety clearing
  • Rototilling
  • Decks repair & refinishing
  • Power washing
  • New sod lawns installation
  • Interlocking pavers
  • Tree trimming, removal & pruning
  • Flagstone & New Patios
  • Gutter cleaning
  • Retaining wall repair & removal

We’ve served residential customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area with inexpensive yard work, lawn care, garden maintenance, and landscaping services for almost 25 years (since 1993!). With more storms on the way later this week, schedule your clean-up with Fast Haul soon to get your yard under control and ready for what should be a beautiful Spring and Summer here in Northern California. Bay Area rainfall in 2017 has certainly been relentless, but the clean-up of your property can be made easy!

How to Save Money on Your Junk Hauling Job

January 18th, 2017

There is something cathartic about removing unwanted furniture and other items from a home or business, even if it’s not officially spring cleaning season. While most junk hauling companies handle all aspects of removing the items, people getting rid of junk can do several things to make the process go smoother and lower their costs. One such tip is to move the unwanted items to the curb or another point that provides easy access for the haulers. This saves money since it’s common for junk haulers to charge extra when employees have to move the items themselves, especially up or down stairs.

Some other tried-and-true advice for saving money on getting rid of junk and improving efficiency while cleaning include:

  1. Disassemble larger items to reduce the size of the haul and the junk removal bill. Those planning an upcoming purge of their home or business can click here for rates and to budget for the expense.
  2. Separate hazardous materials such as paint thinner, unused electronics, and oil to avoid incurring additional fees for dumping.
  3. Clean one room at a time to avoid becoming overwhelmed and giving up on the project altogether. Getting the most challenging room out of the way first will make the remainder of the cleaning seem much easier.
  4. While cleaning, separate items into piles for hauling away, donating, and keeping. A general rule of thumb with cleaning is to get rid of anything that hasn’t been worn, used, or looked at in more than a year. People who feel concerned about throwing away paper records can scan them to their computer for safekeeping first.
  5. Break down boxes and place smaller items inside of larger ones. This conserves space in the hauling truck and is an effective way to keep rates low.
  6. Get an estimate for the entire job in advance and in person. Junk haulers that offer price quotes over the phone often increase prices after seeing the size of the job.
  7. Recycle as many things as possible before contacting a junk hauler. This requires home and business owners to know the recycling rules in their own city to avoid having certain items refused. Even though junk haulers charge a fee to take items the city won’t recycle, most have connections with charitable organizations that can use larger discarded items such as televisions and computers.

Plan for an Efficient Junk Haul by Knowing What Is and Isn’t Accepted

Junk haulers typically accept the following items:

  • Appliances
  • Bulk trash
  • Carpet
  • Clothes
  • Concrete
  • Construction waste
  • Electronics
  • Furniture
  • Mattresses
  • Metal
  • Play sets
  • Sheds
  • Wood scraps

This is good news for people with a wide range of things they no longer want. However, they need to make other arrangements for getting rid of the following:

  • Batteries
  • Chemicals
  • Equipment that contains gas or oil
  • Explosives
  • Florescent lights
  • Hazardous waste
  • Liquid waste such as Freon
  • Medical or biohazardous waste
  • Paint
  • PCBs or asbestos
  • Scrap tires

Local city government officials can advise residents on proper procedures for home or business owners who no longer want these items. You can also contact us to discuss pricing and options for custom jobs such as these.

 
 
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