Spring cleaning of garage calls for extra precautions

  • Published
  • By Amy Pattison
  • 88th Air Base Wing

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, OH -- This time of year, many people like to reorganize and clear out unwanted items around their homes. If one of those areas around the house is the garage, keep these tips in mind when organizing and cleaning it.

Ensure there are clear walking surfaces when carrying items from one spot to another and don’t carry too much at once. If the item is too heavy, get someone to help you move the item. Remember to store heavy items low. This prevents shelving units from collapsing, protects you from strains and damage from falling items.

Attach shelving, shelving units and bookcases to a wall stud using wall straps, brackets or braces. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a total of 4,900 emergency room visits are due to shelving, shelving units and book case tip-overs. Of that total, 1,400 of those were children up to age 17, and those injuries could have most likely been prevented by properly attaching shelving units and bookcases.

According to American National Standards Institute, more than 130,000 people receive treatment in the emergency room every year from ladder injuries and there are over 300 ladder-related deaths. Follow these ladder-safety rules to alleviate the possibility of injury:

  • Always face the ladder when ascending and descending
  • Always maintain three points of contact while on a ladder
  • Never use top of ladder as a step
  • Never move, shift or extend ladder while occupied
  • Never carry an object or load that could cause you to lose balance while on a ladder

When organizing chemicals, be sure to read the label’s hazard warnings. Wear manufacturer’s-recommended personal protection equipment. Never mix chemicals together or organize them alphabetically.

Don’t know what to do with all that leftover paint and unwanted chemicals? Many counties we live in accept household-hazardous waste. Contact your local county to properly dispose of unwanted household hazardous waste such as: paint, batteries, fire extinguishers, gas and propane tanks, photographic chemicals, thinners/strippers, vehicle fluids, fertilizers, fluorescent lights, heavy metals (silver, mercury) pesticides/herbicides, pool chemicals, varnishes/stains.

Never throw these items in with regular household waste.

Last, but not least, don’t forget to ask for help when you need it.