home improvements

Upcycling vs Recycling

Are you an advocate of making sure all those empty plastic water bottles at work are thrown in the recycle bin in hopes it is turned into a “new” plastic item rather than finding their way to a land fill somewhere?  What about taking an old milk jug and making it into a convenient paint holder while you put the finishing touches on that new paint job? download (2)

Or what about taking those old glass bottles and turning it into a new light in your kitchen?   images222Now while Mother Earth thanks you for thinking of ways to produce less waste do you know which one differs from the rest?




Recycling is taking an old item, most of the time this is a plastic, paper or glass, and breaking it down to produce something new.  In most cases the new item is of a lesser quality or is mixed with additional materials to make stronger.


Upcycling is the process of taking that old item, any form, shape or material, and making it into a new, useful and most times more esthetically appealing item.  When upcycling you do not need to breakdown the original form of the item and while it may have a different look and purpose it is likely to keep the same quality as before.  Upcycling will also give the item a better purpose and is not destined for the trash.


In going back to our scenarios from before, the first two are examples of recycling due to the fact that the items were being discarded and hopefully turned into another items, one which would have lesser quality; even the milk jug turned into a paint dish would see the trash in the near future. The third example, the glass bottles being turned into a new light would be upcycling – taking an item and keeping it in its original form to make something more beautiful and useful in a new way.

Want some ideas on what to use in upcycling – and auction is a perfect place!   Our personal property auctions are full of items which may not be useful any more to the owner or even worn out on its original way of use but can be used for a great new item.


Take a look at some of these great ideas

4a420d920b8b187941d5a1830147cc52                   81ed5c8c43589cdf44a022b1ad43f38c                    f549885fd1bba290fff5ad5e1bf83ebb                       images Mason-jar-organizing                          Upcycle5-001-1024x487


Cleaning Oil Spots Off Your Driveway

If your home has a concrete driveway you probably already know how hard it is to keep oil stains at bay. It is seemingly impossible to get those oil stains out completely, but here are some hints on products that are as effective as it gets.

Dawn Dishwashing Liquid

Dawn is one of the most powerful oil emulsifying formulas on the planet. That’s the reason professionals turn to it during major oil spill cleanups. You have probably seen on TV how clean-up workers use Dawn to gently clean the oil soaked feathers of marine birds. This stuff really works. To clean your drive, I squeeze out a generous amount directly onto the oil stain and work it into the concrete with a good stiff scrub brush. Do this on an overcast day, because you don’t want it to dry. If it does the oil that has been already removed will go right back into the concrete. Let it set a few minutes. Once you’ve done that add a little more water to keep it moist then brush it in again. Let it absorb a couple of minutes and then you want to rinse it thoroughly with water to disperse and oil the dawn has absorbed. Next I like to use a pressure washer to blast it out of every crevice.

Cat Litter

If I can still see the stain, I pour a small amount of old fashioned cat litter, the kind made from clay, onto the remaining spots. Then I grind it into the stain with the heel of my shoe. I leave this to set for about a week to let the litter fully absorb the deep down oil, then pressure wash again.


I have a friend that has had good success using the concrete cleaner Eximo. You use it much the same as I do the cat litter, but you repeat it several times over a couple of months to draw the oil out of the concrete.

Cleaning oil stains off your driveway isn’t always the most pleasant of experiences and so I have tried many methods in an attempt to get the most affective, and least time consuming methods. These are the ones I feel most confident in recommending.

If you try one of these techniques email marketing@comasmontgomery and let us know your feedback about the methods you used.


Basic Tools Everyone Needs to Maintain Your Home

Maintaining a home is sometimes easier said than done. As a homeowner you want to to keep your home looking and feeling as good as it was when you bought it. Walking up and down the aisles at Lowes or Home Depot can seem overwhelming, and asking for help won’t always get the answers you need. But maintaining your home is quite simple if you’re equipped with the right tools. With this handful of commonly used household tools, you’re sure to be able to tackle any casual wear and tear on your abode.

There are two categories that you would need to consider, indoor tools and outdoor tools.

Outdoor Tools

Every homeowner who is in charge of lawn upkeep should have at minimum a good rake, a sharp pointed shovel, a hoe and small hand tools used for planting flowers. This equipment will allow you to do regular maintenance that will keep your lawn looking tidy.

For the more ambitious lawn-care specialist an extended list would include post hole diggers, hedge trimmers, limb loppers and maybe even a small electric chainsaw. Now these things are necessary for the regular upkeep of your lawn, but they prove to come in handy for bigger jobs.

Indoor Tools

The basic tools you’ll need for jobs around the house seem pretty obvious, a few screw drivers, a hammer and pliers. But the size, shape and brand of these tools is also important. You don’t want to scrimp on your basic tools, because for one they will hopefully go without needing replacing for a while and you’ll be able to tell a difference in the work they produce. For example using high quality paint brushes for latex paint trim and touch-ups will make your painting look professional and will make it easier to paint. Less expensive brushes have a tendency to shed and stick together, which, if you’ve ever experienced while painting, couldn’t be more annoying.

The size and quality of the tools you purchase also matters. We suggest investing in a 16 oz. claw hammer. Its size has come to be pretty universal, because of its ability to conquer almost any task. There are a lot of projects that a 10 oz hammer just can’t accomplish.

As for the other must-have tools, we suggest a Phillips #2 and straight bladed screwdriver and a good pair of Channelock type pliers.

Regular maintenance on your home can seem daunting and having the right tools will make you more confident in your ability to fix the little things around the house. Keeping your house maintained through the years allows you to avoid overhauls in the future. Ignoring the small problems doesn’t make them go away, it makes them worse. So invest in some nice tools now to help your home long term.

Add Value to Your Home

Whether you’re buying a home, selling a home or just own a home everyone wants to know how to add value to the place they live. And of course they do. So why not try to spruce up the place in a few areas that will help offset the fact that you’ve lived in it.

The one thing people always think is that to add value to your home, you have to pump money into costly renovation projects. This is just not true. Here are a few easy ways to make your house more appealing to buyers without breaking the bank.

Keep Things Clean

Everyone knows that before they put their house on the market they’ve got to clean it, but some things can’t be covered up with a call to Stanley Steamer and a little scrubbing. I’m talking about years of neglect, such as cleaning baseboards, toilets, sinks and stoves. Those are all things a future home buyer will look at when they try and see how you’ve maintained the home. It’s like going to a consignment store, if the clothes have been taken care of you’re more likely to spend a little extra on them. So make sure you pay attention to the everyday up keep.

Turn on Lights

A well lit house seems friendly and more welcoming. So before you have an open house or showing make sure to turn on the lamps and open the blinds.

Smelling Nice is Underrated

Would you buy a home that smelled bad? Maybe you would, but probably not. The look and feel of your house is important, but so is the first impression and nothing makes a first impression like the aroma in your home. You’ve heard that baking cookies right before an open house attracts buyers, but having a house that smells clean is just as good. You want people to feel comfortable in your home and if it smells bad chances are they won’t.

Eliminate Clutter

This is important for three reasons. The first is because clutter implies that you aren’t organized, which can sometimes be turned into not taking care of your things. You want people to think you take pride in your home’s appearance so eliminate extra chairs, pictures and knickknacks. The second reason is because people like the idea of purchasing a house and then moving right in. If you have things in every nook of the house it will make them think you’ll take a long time to move out, thus making your property less appealing. The last reason is because it makes the place look smaller than it actually is. More furniture and pictures close in the space.

Curb Appeal is Important

The first thing potential buyers will see is the outside of your home. Uncut grass, dirty siding or countless yard decorations will give them a bad first impression. Renting a pressure washer or adding another coat of paint to the front door is an inexpensive way to spruce up the outside. Also keep your grass mowed and avoid hard decorations. Planting seasonal flowers and adding mulch or straw to the beds will also make for a good first impression.

Making your home more appealing to potential buyer and to yourself doesn’t have to cost tons of money. These are inexpensive ways that make a big difference whether your home is on the market or you’re just having friends over.