Birds are chirping, the grass is getting greener, and flowers are popping. All of these signs of spring mean you might be diving into a variety of projects around your house, from landscaping to cleaning—but before you get too far, be sure to check out these helpful tips:
1. Call 8-1-1 before you dig
Spring is in the air and you may be itching to start planting or build a fence or deck—but there’s one step you need to do before you ever grab a shovel or a hammer: call or visit Digger’s Hotline. Why? You might not be able to see them, but there could be power, internet, cable, water, or even gas lines buried on your property. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to get any underground utility lines marked for free.
811 is the national call-before-you-dig phone number. Anyone who plans to dig should call or go to their state 811 center’s website a few business days before digging. Utility companies will come and mark the approximate location of their buried lines with paint and/or flags so that you don’t unintentionally dig and hit this infrastructure (which could Hitting a buried line while digging can disrupt utility service, cost money to repair, or cause serious injury or death.
Once all lines have been located, make sure to always dig carefully around the marks, not on them. Some utility lines may be buried at a shallow depth, and an unintended shovel thrust can bring you right back to square one—facing potentially dangerous and/or costly consequences. Don’t forget that erosion or root structure growth may shift the locations of your utility lines, so remember to call again each time you are planning a digging job.
Check out 811 In Your State (call811.com) for more information.
2. Put you computer on your cleaning list
There’s one thing in your home, that often gets overlooked on spring cleaning lists—even though it might get hours of hands-on of use every day: your computer.
Smudgy screens, misbehaving mice, and crumb-filled keyboards (#workathomelife), are signs it’s time to give your computer some love. Likewise, if you turn your computer on and you’re greeted by a desktop buried in document icons, 2,433 unread emails, and disorganized file folders, the inside of your computer could use some attention, too. We’ve gathered all the information you need to get your computer shipshape. Start on the outside, and work your way inside with helpful tips.
3. Don’t toss your old electronics in the trash!
If your spring cleaning uncovers a pile of old or broken electronics, don’t just put them in your garbage can—the Earth will thank you for recycling them, instead.
Mercury, lead, and other toxic materials from electronics can be released into the water and air when they get dumped or burned. The safest way to dispose of electronics is to drop them off for recycling.
What qualifies as electronic waste? Televisions (both the tube kind and flat-panel LCD/plasma), stereos and speakers, radios, computers, cell phones, microwaves, CD or DVD players—pretty much anything with a screen or computer chip.
To ensure electronic waste does not end up in a landfill, look for an e-cycle event in your area. Or, check to see if your local electronics retailer offers recycling services. Your local municipality is also likely to have tips for recycling e-waste so be sure to investigate before tossing your electronics in your trash.