Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Cleaning the closet can be good for you and local charities

Getty Images

These past few days have been crazy what with the move here at Macomb Daily Drive and the spring cleaning going on at home.  
Does anyone have any more boxes?
Anyway, one of the things I noticed about packing up to move – is we always forget about the closets – or avoid them.  As the old saying goes once the doors are closed – it’s out of sight, out of mind. Still, some of our most important items – things that we lost track of years ago – turn up in an old box lying under a stack of stinky shoes.
In this case it might be a good idea to clean your closet whether you’re moving or not. Plus, with spring not far off a lot of charities will be looking to replenish their stock. To help in the process of sorting and to encourage homeowners to consider those with less and the environment (by helping to keep 470, 00 pounds of clothing out of landfills every week) DonateStuff.com has come up with a list of tips. “You’ll be amazed at how much happier clean closets can make the whole house feel – especially when you turn the stuff you don’t need into a good deed,” said a spokesperson for DonateStuff.com.
The first thing you need to do is find some boxes. These can be marked for donations or as giveaways. Remember, just because it doesn’t fit you or that you’ve grown tired of it, doesn’t mean a sister or friend wouldn’t love to have it.
Now you’re ready for the biggest task, which is sorting. Consider the one year rule – if you haven’t worn a piece of clothing in the past year – or can’t remember the last time you even considered putting it on – you don’t need it. Other items to purge from the closet might include old books, shoes, old toys and things like that hot pink purse you bought on impulse but never used. Sort the remaining pile of clothes according to seasons. If you’re closet it small – consider keeping the current season’s wardrobe in your room and storing the rest wherever you have space. Buy garment bags and use them to keep the clothes from being ruined.
In tackling the linen closet consider organizing the items by room such as kid’s sheets, bathroom towels or dining room tablecloths. If it’s a closet that contains anything and everything including the mini-vacuum, art supplies and camera lenses sort by categories; cleaning and hobbies.
Once you’ve eliminated the excess consider where to take that which you no longer need or want. Ask your neighbors or family members if they belong to a group that might need the donations. The Macomb Charitable Foundation  is one group that provides the hundreds of homeless children and their parents in Macomb County with necessities. Just recently, the group took up collections for Easter, new items and baskets filled with goodies for children who are in need. They can be reached at 586-232-3473. DonateStuff.com is another option. Just plug in your zip code and you’ll see an address for a charity near you. Among the charities that they partner with are Easter Seals, Purple Heart and AMVETS.
Lastly, go green. I don’t mean paint your closet. I mean instead of buying new plastic containers to organize the items not on hangars consider reusing the baskets, crates and shoe boxes you already have lying around the house.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

HOMEWORKS: Dandelions, crabgrass and the benefits of an automatic sprinkler system

Every spring - and it is coming - I ponder the idea of rolling back our country grass so we can install an automatic sprinkler system. Everyone in our neighborhood seems to have one, so naturally our grass always looks sad in comparison. My definition of country grass is a yard free of herbicides but loaded with au naturel dandelions and crabgrass.

A friend of mine who has a historic home in a waterfront community along Lake Erie, who is also not bothered by flowering weeds, likens her shaggy yellow lawn to a suburban meadow. Still, it would be nice to be green and not have to worry about watering the lawn, especially during the summer months.

An automatic irrigation system not only takes on the task of watering but can also be fitted to deliver weed-prevention products.

So what are my advantages?

It saves time. That's probably the biggest reason people have them installed,  and they are convenient. If homeowners are out-of-town, they can set a timer to water the lawn at a specific time or day while they're away. 

Another advantage is that certain irrigation systems, such as the drip type, enable homeowners to position the water to accommodate problem areas such as dry spots (where more water is need) or low-lying areas that tend to flood during heavy rainfalls (and less water is needed). Adjustments to system nozzles can also be made to direct water to the roots instead of spraying over sidewalks and driveways.

Then there's the stealth advantage.  When it's time to water the lawn, a sprinkler head pops up out of the grass. Once the job is done, the sprinkler head disappears. This also eliminates the presence of a dorky sprinkler and kinked hose stretched across the lawn. In my case this would be a disadvantage since I love the work-of-art sprinkler I purchased at an art show a couple of years ago. Still, we could always install sprinklers in the front yard while keeping the old style for use in the back. Either way, the idea of a green no-trip lawn is appealing.

The biggest disadvantage is the cost. We have a big lot so a full irrigation system is likely to cost more than a yard in the city. There's also the pipework that needs to be installed and attached to the plumbing system of the home. I imagine this can be especially tricky for homeowners who have underground septic systems.

Installation can also take time - from days to weeks depending on the company. 

When it's done, there's the cost of redoing the landscape. I mentioned something about rolling back the lawn, but the process is a lot more involved than that. Besides, if we were to install a new system, it's not likely that we would want the company to cover it with our country grass, so there's the expense of new sod. 

And let's not forget the critters that live beneath the surface. I'm sure most systems today are built to withstand the movement of earthworms and garter snakes, but that's not to say another bigger pest won't damage the underground water-delivery system. 
It's probably a good idea to ask a neighbor who has a system what he or she thinks of it. If they had the chance to do it again - would they? What company do they recommend? Is the company certified by say - the Irrigation Association or licensed and insured? 
Bottom line: It is a major home improvement project to be pondered seriously before purchasing.
Gina Joseph is a reporter and columnist for The Macomb Daily. Send comments to gina.joseph@macombdaily.com, follow her on twitter @ginaljoseph and visit her beat blog at macomblife.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Meet Pope Francis

AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio who chose the name of Francis is the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. 

AP Photo/Michael Sohn
Pope Francis flanked by Monsignor Guido Marini, master of liturgical ceremonies, waves to the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who chose the name of Francis is the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina elected pope

(AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, file)

This April 4, 2005 file photo, above, shows Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, celebrating a Mass in honor of Pope John Paul II at the Buenos Aires Cathedral in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Bergoglio, who took the name of Pope Francis, was elected on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.

White smoke: Catholic cardinals have picked a pope

AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky
Can you hear the cheers from St. Peter's Square in Rome?

AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky

Someone has been chosen -- but who?

Associated Press photo


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Do you have what it takes to be the next WRIF Rock Girl?

To all of you who said you want to be the next WRIF Rock Girl – here’s your chance to become that girl.

“One lucky woman will represent the legendary Detroit rock station at concerts, VIP events and on the air,” said Amy Hull, WRIF-FM (101.1) spokesperson. “The winner of the competition will be awarded a $40,000 salary! Plus, the final four girls will be whisked away to the Hotel RIU Palace Pacifico in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for a professional photo shoot with Robert Bruce Photography.”

Interested candidates can log onto 101 WRIF and fill out an application or attend one of the following casting calls:

  • March 14, 5-9 p.m. at CJ Mahoney’s Bar & Grille, 2511 South Livernois in Troy
  • March 21, 4-9 p.m. at Dooley’s, 32500 Gratiot Avenue in Roseville
  • March 23, 4-8 p.m. at Albert’s on the Alley, 5651 Middlebelt in Garden City

HINT: To avoid the long lines that are expected at casting calls, preregister for a set appointment time at 101 WRIF

Contestants must be 21 or older to enter.