Cleaning out the garage can be profitable with help from the Internet.
There are two kinds of people: those who do it themselves, and those who would rather not. Of the first group’s blissful existence I can only guess (or glimpse, when walking past a newly christened backyard deck, complete with full bar and built-in TV). This column is for the rest of us. For those who’ve awakened one summer morning and realized that nobody else is going to clean out the garage, paint the bedroom, or organize that yard sale, there is hope–or at least one last refuge for procrastination–on these handy Web sites.
Lawn and bargain
Even if somebody’s thrill of the hunt is your definition of a waste of time, garage sale enthusiasts and detractors alike will find something to crow about at Yardsale Queen, a site run by a professed “yard sale addict” from Maryland. For the garage-sale faithful, Chris Heiska’s site offers a place to swap stories and compare notes. While her shopping and selling tips might not enlighten you (although I’d like to believe that bringing along a cut-out tracing of your child’s foot for sizing shoes might be a new one for most folks), they’re gold for the casual shopper or newbie seller. Fair warning: Those who don’t frequent sales may be so unnerved by the “stories” and “customers from hell” sections that they’ll reconsider the yard sale altogether and just haul everything to a local charity. Wow, this site just saved you from days of pricing, organizing, and advertising, not to mention the unseemly horde of thieving, shrieking, humanity that would congregate on your front lawn! Or maybe it just inspired you to make a fortune and introduced you to the love of your life. Pick your happy ending. For more sales tips, local listings, and funky finds, check out these sites: Garage Sale Planet, Cate’s Garage Sale Finds, and Consumer Reports.
House and loam
If a household project has got you hamstrung, take inspiration–or step by step instructions-from Handyman USA. This site’s clear prose and illustrations will lead you through building a deck or a retaining wall (leaving aside whether anybody who is inclined to do that sort of heavy-duty project themselves actually needs help from a Web site), waterproofing a basement, or painting a room. Real-life handyman Chris Tabone has organized his site by project, so you’ll have the best luck looking by subjects such as wallpapering or plumbing. If your project is more ambitious in size and scope, try Hometime, which produces DIY television shows for public television, The Learning Channel, and syndication. There you’ll find plenty of free how-to advice on projects (complete with color photos) that range from remodeling a kitchen to building a home theater or patio furniture. The site also sells books and videos, and offers visitors the chance to send in a video of their home project for possible future broadcast. Do It Yourself.com and the DIY Network also offer helpful tips and tools, as well as, contrary to the do-it-yourself ethic, ways to submit bids to prescreened contractors.
Hang it up
Now, isn’t it time for you to accomplish nothing? So inquires Hammocks.com. Also check out 101 Hammocks and Hammocks Etc. for hammocks of all sizes, shapes, and colors in which to rest your weary bones. After all, reading up on all those DIY projects can really wear a person out.