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Gert's Dirt: Garage cleaning and organizing

From Donna Bellino

Late summer and fall is a great time to clean and organize the garage. Give yourself a full weekend for this project. Recruit some family members to help.

Sorting is the same in the garage as anywhere. Make three piles out in the driveway. One for items to keep, one for things to donate or sell and a garbage pile. Have the kids draw circles with chalk and label them as such. That way when you hand them something and say “keep,” they won’t accidently place it in the wrong pile.

For this week I want to address the garbage pile. Sometimes items from the garage require special handling. In Lake County at the Recycle Center, there is a program called the Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Facility. They are only open Wednesdays from 12:30-5:30 p.m., May through mid-September. They also have sites for used motor oil and filters, one is next to the HHW building and another in Silver Bay at Blazer Repair.

Here is a brief list of common garage items and how to dispose of them:

When you buy a battery, brake caliper, water pump, alternator or starter, there is a core charge, which is a deposit that you get back when you bring in the old, used item. Even if you don’t buy a new one, they will take it. A leaky battery can destroy anything it gets near so wrap it in heavy plastic. The lead in batteries is recycled.

Car fluids such as oil, transmission fluid and brake fluid can be taken to the HHW at the Recycle Center. If it is not a day that they are open, you can take those fluids to an auto parts store. You can even combine them. Put them in a sturdy container using a funnel and then seal it well. Auto coolant needs to be taken to the HHW.

Other items that you may have stored in your garage such as paint, paint thinner, paint stripper, acetone, driveway sealer, varnish and wood preservative need to go to the HHW site.

You may throw empty paint cans, joint compound and water-based glue into the regular trash.

It would be a wonderful idea to donate these items to someone else that will use them rather than dispose of them. In the future, try to only buy the amount that you need. Some of the things I have listed should not be stored in the garage. We will explore that in another column.

The Household Hazardous Waste site will close mid-September, so don’t wait too long to get started cleaning out the garage.

Donna Bellino is a registered nurse and owner of Gertie’s Cleaning and Home Service. I care for you, your health and your home. Gertie’s: Naturally Clean!