Friday, May 22, 2015

Remembering Those Who Died in Service ~ Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for all who have died in our nation’s service.  It began when residents would place flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers. Southern states did not acknowledge Memorial Day until after World War I, when it was expanded to include all soldiers who fought in any war for our country.  Several states in the South set aside a day for honoring the Confederate war dead, and Florida's Confederate Memorial Day is April 26. When it falls on a Sunday, celebrations move to Monday. 

The poppy as a symbol can be attributed to Moina Michael, a Georgia native, who was inspired by John McCrae’s battlefront-theme poem “In Flanders Fields,” which begins “In Flanders fields the poppies blow…Between the crosses row on row.”  Ms. Michael vowed to wear a red poppy as a symbol of remembrance for those who served in World War I. She came up with the idea to sell silk poppies to raise money for disabled veterans. Known as the “Poppy Lady”, she wrote this:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

May 30 was the original Memorial Day, but the government changed it for a 3-day weekend.  While it is widely heralded as the kick-off weekend for summer, there are many activities in the Tampa Bay area to honor service men and women who died to preserve our freedom.  Fireworks, parades, concerts and beach celebrations abound, and this is just a short list:

  • Florida Orchestra Pops plays a "Stars and Stripes Hit Parade" in three locations (
  • Food trucks, live music and fireworks take place at Channelside Bay Plaza (
  • Pasco County Memorial Day Parade begins in Land O' Lakes
  • Sunset Ceremony in Largo
  • Oldsmar Freedom Fest
  • Family FunFest at the Armed Forces History Museum
  • Remembrance Ceremony, American Legion USS Tampa Post 5
....And much more

The National Moment of Remembrance is 3 p.m. local time.  Americans are asked “to voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of Remembrance and Respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps’.”  Program this into your cell phone and share the time with anyone near you.  Taking a few moments or hours’ time on a vacation day to remember fallen soldiers is such a small sacrifice compared to what was given by those being honored. 

Ways to Commemorate Memorial Day with your Family:
  • visit a cemetery and put flags or flowers out for fallen soldiers
  • go to a memorial and talk about what it means
  • fly the American flag half staff until noon.
  • fly a POW/MIA flag
  • participate in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. wherever you are
  • contemplate what freedom means and the classic phrase that “freedom isn’t free” 
  • thank those who serve today by honoring those who died in the past
  • teach your children and grandchildren about freedom and the cost to those who gave their lives and those who live and serve to protect it. 

Kids go to high school dances, babies are born, people complete their schooling and find opportunity. All the freedom and security we take for granted is a direct result of the sacrifice of our nations veterans:

It is the Soldier

 It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.
 It is The Soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us Freedom of the press.
 It is The Soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us Freedom of speech.
 It is The Soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who has given us Freedom to demonstrate.
 It is The Soldier, not the lawyer,
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
 It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.
 It is The Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag and
 Whose coffin is draped by the flag
 Who allows the protester to burn the flag
by Charles M. Province

Although this day is primarily to honor those warriors from the past who have sacrificed so much, let us not forget the sons and daughters of our nation who are standing guard over our freedoms around the world.  For those who lose faith in todays youth, a quick trip to a current Area of Operation would fully restore that faith.  Americas warriors of are in a word, magnificent.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Home rennovation is worth the dust

Homeownership comes with benefits, fun, challenges and expenses.  Remodeling is one of the big expense considerations you might be facing.  Should you update the kitchen, add a room or second story, expand the deck, change the siding, remodel or add a bathroom, renovate the first floor?

At, several remodeling job costs are listed with their projected resale value.  Ones that top 80% for return include wood deck addition, steel entry door replacement, new garage doors, manufactured stone veneer and siding replacement.  Others recouping more than 60% are kitchen remodels, window replacement (vinyl or wood), attic bedroom, composite deck addition and garage or second story addition. 

While all remodeling costs may not come back to the homeowner at sale, they do improve the property and increase its overall value.  What cannot be measured and is worthy of discussion is the enjoyment of the improvements and remodels possibly for years to come.  Unless one is downsizing, it's less expensive to remodel than to move in many cases.  And, it's not generally a great idea to remodel a home to sell as opposed to remodel it to enjoy.

A couple noteworthy remodel jobs on the downward trend are home offices and sunrooms. Advancements in mobile technology and cloud storage have put the skids on many a home office anchored with a desktop computer station.  Sunrooms have always been expensive and difficult to cool or heat, and even in Florida, more homeowners are embracing open patios with a slatted or permanent roof or awning or screened porch that's not encased in the glass of a traditional sunroom. 

The hard to digest but necessary and costly remodels are unseen ones like HVAC replacement, plumbing update and a new roof.  Visible enhancements like getting rid of oh-so-outdated, cheesy wood paneling or popcorn ceilings, along with a front yard makeover, provide instant gratification to lifestyle. 

Choosing the right contractor is a huge piece of any remodel project, maybe one of the most important choices you will have to make.  Take the time to do reference checks, ensure the contractor is licensed, & has experience with the type of work you need done.  Locally there are some resources available to you, below are a few.

Once you have a design, a contractor and required building permits, you need to be prepared for:
  • dust, debris, & junk
  • noise
  • open doors with new materials and workers coming and going
  • unexpected (faulty wiring, irregular framing, gerry-rigged something or other)
  • delays (materials late, defective)
  • decisions (where does this outlet go? how low on this chandelier?)
  • cost overruns

One good way to reduce cost and save time is by choosing the right dumpster company, or requiring your contractor to use a specific company.   

Bin There Dump That is the reliable dumpster service, that works with contractors and homeowners to ensure smooth efficient waste removal from their projects.  These professionals deliver a clean green dumpster, on time, and place the dumpster on boards for driveway protection.   Here are just a few quick differences and why it will matter.

  • Clean green dumpster - no one wants an unsightly rusty box staining their driveway
  • On time - a late bin means waiting or moving stuff twice, don't waste time or money
  • Driveway protection guarantee - why risk adding driveway repair to the remodel job

So get ready to tear things out, toss them into the dumpster rental outside your door, sweep and ready the room for a renovation you will enjoy immensely ~ once the dust settles.

Friday, May 8, 2015

How to save money on a dumpster rental?

Brown bagging your lunch, using coupons, shopping sales and being a prudent money manager makes sense to even the well-heeled.  So when it comes to a dumpster rental, you want to keep the costs reasonable yet get the job done.   
Even so, there are a few ways for you to reduce the cost of a dumpster rental.   

Dumpster rental cost saving suggestion #1
Make a list of local organizations that take things for re-use and re-sale. Habitat for Humanity's ReStore in Hillsborough County or ReStore in Pinellas County accepts working appliances (7 years old or newer; dishwashers 3 years old or newer), architectural items, kitchen and bath cabinets, some flooring, doors, lumber (full sheets/lengths only), lighting, windows, tools, paint (full/unopened cans only) and more. You receive a tax-deductible donation and contribute to the mission of Habitat for Humanity.   Check out their websites & give them a call, it is great way to help out others!  This, in turn, reduces the size of dumpster you need.

Dumpster rental cost saving suggestion #2
The American Red Cross has clothing donation drop boxes around the Tampa Bay area, and Donation Town, Salvation Army and Goodwill all offer pick up services. This not only means you need less dumpster space, but also helps the environment by keeping more stuff out of landfills. Electronics can be taken to some YMCAs and to Best Buy for recycling.   Some YMCAs have volunteer tech people who tinker with things to restore them to working order for re-sale. 

Dumpster rental cost saving suggestion #3
Taking the time to break down bulky items helps with space conservation in the dumpster.  Also, instead of tossing things inside willy-nilly, do a little organization on placing stuff by stacking and nesting, putting largest items on the bottom. 

Dumpster rental cost saving suggestion #4
You can't be the only one in your condo complex or neighborhood doing a deep cleaning or yard tidy up or eliminating storm damage.   Ask neighbors to chip in on perhaps a larger dumpster rental than you alone need. Share the cost, share the dumpster, share a pizza and a few stories during the cleanup and clean out process.

Dumpster rental cost saving suggestion #5
If your project timing is flexible, call the dumpster rental service you wish to use and ask what their slow time of year is.  They may be more willing to negotiate price or the number of days you can keep the dumpster during their slow time of season.

Dumpster rental cost saving suggestion #6
If you have really heavy items, ask your dumpster rental company if any of them are recyclable.  Concrete & Tile for example can sometimes be recycled if kept "clean" (no other debris mixed in).  You may be able to save on your weight with a recycling dumpster and in the end save some money.

Dumpster rental cost saving suggestion #7
Do you have metal items such as old patio furniture, appliances, tools or other metal items?  Often times there are local recyclers who will come and get those items for free, or if you place them at the road side someone will pick them up.  This will depend on your local area and any codes or ordinances that might apply, but here in Pinellas & Hillsborough County, we have recyclers always looking for material they can collect and not only are you helping them out, it doesn't cost you anything.

Hopefully one of these cost savings ideas will help you reduce your dumpster rental costs.!

Cost is measured in more than dollars.   Time, energy and efforts don't have a financial equivalent. The reliability and professionalism of Bin There Dump That cannot be calculated when you are waiting, for example, for another company that's running a day or two late on your dumpster rental delivery.   Piling your junk outside to be lifted and moved again into the dumpster is a waste of your time and effort. Peace of mind with your dumpster rental choice is worth a good night's sleep and hard day's work, which you can begin on time, every time, with Bin There Dump That

Bin There Dump That dumpster rental fees are affordable, and the company has integrity, reliability and excellence in all corners of the business. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Estate Clean Out

Cleaning out a loved one's estate can be like a trip from heartache to headache and back. It's an emotional task at an emotional time, and the more organized you are, the smoother the process.  A Will designates financial and property distribution, but a house or condo's contents may not be called out item by item, and it needs to be cleaned out piece by piece. 

An early evaluation can determine how much help is needed. Family members may want to put sticky notes on items they especially want.  For family too far to travel, snapping photos for e-mail lets them see what's there that might be of interest. 

Going through everything is imperative as people stick things like cash in the freezer, an heirloom diamond ring in a vase, stock certificates in a book and so on.  There are many people who can help from a neighborhood teen, church friends, professional organizers and cleaning people, liquidators, appraisers and Bin There Dump That for dumpster rental service. 

Here are few suggestions to keep in mind:

  • Change the locks and forward the mail.
  • Remove papers like bank statements, insurance policies, deeds, titles and tax returns.
  • Enlist trustworthy help to sift through clothes, closets, cupboards and drawers with instructions on setting things out for your review before donation, trash or keep.
  • Tackle the home room by room. There's a sense of accomplishment when one room becomes vacant except for furnishings, and that in turn produces encouragement.
  • Memories are more important than tangible things, so take lots of photos of a lamp or mirror or chair which holds special meaning to put into a family history book or CD. Scan documents, tickets and small mementos.
  • Most clothes, except vintage (prior to 1960s), leather and upscale hold little value. Some thrift shops have free pick up service for unwanted but usable clothes and furniture. 
  • Hire an appraiser for antiques, jewelry, coins and other potential valuables. Check the American Society of Appraisers ( membership list; there are more than 100 in Florida with ASA after their names. ASA = Accredited Senior Appraiser. 
  • Consider buying a copy of "How to Clean Out Your Parents' Estate in 30 Days or Less, a solution-based guide to emptying the home without losing your mind," by Julie Hall.

Once things are sorted, shipped, removed, placed in the dumpster rental or taken to consignment and thrift stores, a liquidator can clear out all the rest.   Again, go professional -- this is an industry ripe for rip-off.   The American Society of Estate Liquidators offers information on its training and designations.   Some liquidators request payment for the work; others take it for free; and still more pay you if there is significant re-sale value. 

Hire a professional cleaning company to prepare property for sale or rent. 

You can find local resources from afar simply by asking the secretary at the attorney's office (who handles the Will), a Realtor, Chamber of Commerce, friends, neighbors and the good folks at Bin There Dump That.  A reliable company with an excellent reputation only recommends others with the same levels of integrity, compassion and dependability. 

Take breaks all along the way, even if you are on a tight time schedule. Stop for coffee. Walk away for lunch.  Sit on a box and remember something funny.  Embrace the memories and the good times, even if cleaning out an estate is not among them.  With assistance and a positive attitude, you can rise to the occasion with grace.