When you reorganize your basement or garage, buy yourself a number of cardboard boxes all the same size instead of scrounging various-sized used boxes. This way they will all have covers and you can stack them neatly. Mark each box with a big letter and number, like A-1, A-2, etc., on all four sides and top. Use a three-ring binder to write down the box number and its contents.
Ventilation for crawl space and basement areas is a necessary in preventing mildew, musty odors, and even rot.
A problem for those in northern climates is the constant hassle of moving tools from garage to basement in the fall and back again in spring. Newer roll-away storage chests, project centers, utility carts, and wheeled tool boxes provide portable storage to make the job easy. Rolling tool carts with extendable handles like carry-on luggage also let you divide tools according to the project and wheel right to the job.
To keep tools rust-free, keep them clean and dry by wiping them off with a dry clean cloth before you put them away. To combat rust and corrosion that is caused by humidity, occasionally coat all metal surfaces with light oil. If you live in a humid climate or keep your tools in the basement, a dehumidifier will help.
If space is tight, consider using a panel saw to cut large sheets down to smaller sizes instead of setting up to handle them full size. When building overhead shelves, consider that a comfortable vertical reach is from 77-in. to 88-in. Normal horizontal reach ranges from about 15 1/2-in. to 20-in.
Look for the EnergyGuide label that tells how much energy the water heater uses in one year. Also, look for the FHR (First Hour Rating) of the water heater, which measures the maximum hot water the heater will deliver in the first hour of use. If you typically need a lot of hot water at once, the FHR will be important to you.
Sump pits are intended to collect water from foundation perimeter drains. If there is a pump installed in the pit and no water is collecting in the pit, be sure to check the pump to be sure it is working. The easiest way to test your pump is to fill the sump pit to the point it will activate the pump, if the pump does not work replace it.
When you're choosing a water heater, don't be tempted to simply buy the lowest-cost model available. Water heating uses too much energy to make the decision lightly. The unit's initial cost is a small fraction of the money that will be spent operating it over its lifetime.
Water damage can quickly lead to biological pollutants in your home. Follow these guidelines for correcting water damage: Throw out mattresses, wicker furniture, straw baskets and the like that have been water damaged or contain mold. Discard any water-damaged furnishings such as carpets, drapes, stuffed toys, upholstered furniture and ceiling tiles, unless they can be recovered by steam cleaning or hot water washing and thorough drying. Remove and replace wet insulation to prevent conditions where biological pollutants can grow.