HSS Tool Hire Blog

Friday, 28 March 2014

How to Make Spring Cleaning Easy

No one looks forward to spring cleaning, but that clean, refreshing feeling you’ll have when you are done is very rewarding. When you have a plan of attack, spring cleaning doesn’t have to be so hard. In fact, these tips can help you get it done in a snap, so you can enjoy a clean, clutter-free home in no time.

Spring Cleaning HSS Hire

Take Things Room by Room

First, spring cleaning is overwhelming if you try to take everything on at once. To make this project easier to take on, take things room by room. In one weekend, just take on a few rooms, or even spend an entire weekend on your garage. Then, when that space is completed, move on to the next one.

When you focus on one room, do everything that is needed there before you move on. Clean out, purge the room of clutter, deep clean and organise everything. By cleaning out each room completely before moving on, you can focus your efforts and get things done more quickly. Each room will also be cleaner and more organised, as you give yourself time to focus on each space.

Have a “Clean Out” Attitude

When you start the spring cleaning process, do so with a “clean out” attitude. This means cleaning with the purpose of getting rid of things you don’t need. The whole idea behind spring cleaning is to declutter, and if you aren’t ready to get rid of things, your cleaning won’t be very effective.

If you haven’t used something in months, forgot you had something or even if you don’t remember what is inside that unlabelled box, chances are that it is time to get rid of it. As you clean out rooms, closets and your garage, choose carefully what you need to keep and what you can throw away or donate.

Clean the Nooks and Crannies

While things are out of your way, this is the perfect time to deep clean the rooms. Clean the floors, dust surfaces, wipe down walls and clean the nooks and crannies that you don’t clean on a regular basis. You might think cleaning these hidden and hard-to-reach places doesn’t matter much, but when you take the time to deep clean, the entire room will feel much, much cleaner.

Things like the floor under the refrigerator, baseboards, windowsills and blinds gather dust and dirt, but are often neglected during regular cleanings. Take the time now to clean out these areas and make them sparkle before you move things back into the room and reorganise.

Organisation is Key

To achieve the best spring cleaning results, organisation is key. Yes, cleaning nooks and crannies and making your rooms spotless is a good start, but to achieve the best results, you need to organise things as you put them back into your rooms and closets.

As you clean out each room, decide what needs to be there and what can be stored somewhere else. Then, working with just the things that need to stay in the room, decide what kind of organisation system will work best.

For example, when you clean out your garage and organise things like barbecue tools, sports equipment and seasonal decorations, large bins with lids would be ideal, because you can stack and label them, opening them only when you need the things inside. On the other hand, an open bookshelf would be ideal in an office or living room so you can easily access office supplies, movies, books and games.

Use the Right Tools

One of the best ways to make spring cleaning easier is to use the right tools. As you clean out your garage, closets and garden, hire a skip so you can contain the things you don’t need and then easily haul them away. Deep cleaning is so much easier when you use carpet cleaners, steam cleaners and organising your garage is easier with the right ladder and some big bins. (To hire the right skip for the job, head over to HSS Hire's skip hire page!)

Hiring the right tools means that you will be able to accomplish your cleaning projects easily and safely. Using the right equipment will also allow you to get the job done faster, so you can get it done more quickly and start enjoying your clean home as soon as possible.

While spring cleaning may not be the most thrilling part of this time of year, it is one that can bring a lot of benefits, including a clutter-free, clean home. Use these tips to make this project easier and to get a clean house fast, so you can get back to enjoying your spring and summer. 

To browse HSS Hire's extensive collection of carpet cleaners and steam cleaners for hire, please click here
To see our ladders for hire, please visit our website: www.hss.com/c/9000068/Ladders.html

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

5 Baby-Related Home Disasters and How to Deal With Them

You know that sinking feeling you get when you come into a room and find that your baby or toddler has been busy... creating a disaster? That feeling isn’t fun, but with the right tools and by taking the right steps, you can get that mess cleaned up in no time.

Most messes can be cleaned and repaired with the right equipment; the trick is knowing how to use these tools and how to treat a damaged area. These tips will help you clean up even the worst messes, so it will seem like that disaster never happened.

Art Project Gone Wrong... On the Walls

Image Courtesy of ToonDraw

Markers, crayons, paints and other art supplies are fun when used on paper, but when they are on your walls, they lose their charm. But, don’t worry; it is possible to remove that artwork and return your walls to their former glory.

Removing Marker Stains

If the markers are washable, attempt to clean the marks with warm, soapy water. If that doesn’t work, you can try cleaning sprays that are labeled as safe to use on painted walls. Another approach is to use a paste made of baking soda and water, rub it onto the wall and gently scrub the marker away. Then, use a damp rag to rinse the mixture off.

Permanent marker stains can often be removed with rubbing alcohol. Before you attempt any cleaning process, test it in a small, hidden spot on your wall to make sure it won’t damage the paint.

Cleaning Crayons from Walls

There are several ways to tackle crayon scribbles on your wall. First, try using an eraser to remove the crayon and wax on your wall. If that doesn’t remove the mark completely, there are lots of things in your cupboards that can remove the doodles.

The baking soda method mentioned above can work, and so can rubbing lighter fluid, toothpaste or vinegar onto the stain. With all of these household remedies, rub a small amount onto the crayon to remove it, and then wipe the area clean with a damp rag.

Washing Paint from Walls

If your little one decided to add a mural to your living room wall, don’t worry; you can remove it. Watercolours can easily be removed with rag dipped in warm, soapy water. Oil-based paints are a little harder to remove, but start by wiping as much of it away with warm, soapy water as possible. If the paint is still there, you’ll most likely need to paint over the spot to cover it completely.

Dinner on the Floor

Image Courtesy of Veer

Spills on carpet can be daunting, and some foods can cause stains and even odours. If you come upon a spill right after it has happened, use a rag to absorb as much of it as possible. If there is a lot of moisture, use a shop vacuum to remove the liquid.

Then, treat the stain itself. Start with a rag dipped in warm water and work to blot up the stain. If this approach doesn’t work, use a commercial carpet cleaner to try to remove the stain. Never scrub or rub a stain, as this will make it spread and could even push it deeper into the carpet, which will make it harder to remove.

If you can’t remove the stain by hand, you will need to use a carpet cleaner. Professional carpet cleaners use a cleaning solution and clean deep down into your carpet, washing the fibres clean. Some cleaners even dry as they work, so you can use your carpet again right away.

To hire a carpet cleaner in the blink of an eye, visit HSS Hire's website and browse their collection of carpet cleaners for hire! www.hss.com/c/9000071/Carpet-Cleaners.html

Ingredients or Craft Supplies Scattered Everywhere

Flour, glitter, rice, crumbs and other tiny materials are an attractive target for toddlers, who can make a very big mess very quickly. While these kinds of messes aren’t particularly damaging, they can be hard to clean up. The strategy you use will depend on the surface the mess is on.

For tile or hardwood floors, start with a broom and simply sweep the mess into a dustpan. If you don’t want to save the materials, you can use a vacuum’s hose to make quick work of the mess. You’ll also need to use a vacuum if the material is scattered all over the carpet. Use the hose and attachments to reach under furniture, between cushions, into corners and against baseboards.

Bathtub Overflow

Bath time is an adventure when you have a toddler. If your child let the tub overflow or was a little too enthusiastic and splashed water all over the floor, the key to taking care of the disaster is to remove water as fast as possible.

Floor and Carpet Dryer / HSS Hire

The longer water stands on the floor, the more damage it will cause. Water damage can be very hard to repair, so your best bet with this disaster is to act quickly. Use dry towels to mop up as much water as possible. If you need to, use a shop vacuum to suck up large amounts of water.

If the floor is extremely wet, set up a fan or carpet dryer to dry the area thoroughly. Wet carpet can be pulled back from a corner to speed up the drying process.

Toys that Clog the Toilet or Drain

If your child has flushed a toy down the toilet or dropped something down the drain, you may be able to fix the problem yourself. Start by reaching into the drain to see if you can retrieve the object. For small objects lost down a sink drain, try unscrewing the trap, or curved section of pipe under the sink, to retrieve the object.

When you have tried these approaches, and still haven’t been able to unclog your toilet or drain, you will need to contact a professional to avoid the risk of damaging your fixture and plumbing system.

Kids have a way of making messes with ordinary household items the minute you turn your back. But, when you know how to tackle even the toughest messes, you won’t have to worry about permanent damage to your walls, floors or anything else in your home.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

How to Get a Head Start on Your Garden While It’s Still Cold

Image Courtesy of digidreamgrafix / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
It’s still cold outside, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a head start on your garden so when it does get warmer, your garden will be ready to take on new plant life. Pro gardeners take on different projects all year long, regardless of if their garden is in its prime. 

So, if you want your garden to thrive, stay healthy and look amazing this summer, start making preparations now.


Prepare the Garden Beds and Grounds

Image Courtesy of HSS Hire
First, prepare your garden beds to withstand cold temperatures, snow and wind. Start by removing dead plants and clearing out fallen leaves, sticks and other debris. Then, lay mulch in your garden, in flowerbeds and around trees to help the soil maintain a constant temperature.

You may also consider aerating your lawn now using a lawn aerator. The main benefit to doing this now is that you will have one less thing to do in the spring and you won’t have to deal with clumps of soil as you probably won’t be using your garden as much during the winter. 

(You can hire a lawn aerator on HSS Hire's website, by clicking on the link below: www.hss.com/g/62326/Powered-Lawn-Aerator.html)

At the end of the fall, you should mow your lawn to a short height. Doing this makes the grass less likely to bend under the pressure of snow and other moisture, which can lead to damaged grass and even mould.

Make Repairs

While you are preparing your garden to take on the winter, make repairs so you won’t have to spend time doing that in the spring. Things like repairing fences, painting trellises, maintaining stone pathways, cleaning birdbaths and feeders and taking care of other accessories can actually be easier to do in the early or late winter. During these months, there will likely be less snow and plants that aren’t in full bloom are easier to work around.

Now is also a good time to add new features to your garden. Adding decorations, planters, raised gardens and other things now means that you will have more time to focus on your plants come spring.

Maintain Plant Life

Pruning Saw / HSS Hire
The plants that you didn’t remove from your garden need to be well tended throughout the winter so they will look their best and be healthy in the spring. Start by using hedge trimmers and pruners to trim long branches. This will make your garden look sharp and will keep your plants healthy, as snow won’t be able to collect on the branches and break them.

Fragile bushes should be protected with burlap wraps or screens. You can wrap a plant in burlap, tied with twine, to protect its branches from winter winds. Or, you can hammer stakes into the ground around a plant, and then use burlap to create a screen to block winds. If you want, you can also add straw to the space between the screen and the plant to add some insulation, keeping the plant warm when temperatures drop.

Potted plants or fragile plants should be brought inside during the winter so they will be ready to blossom in the spring. First, bring these plants into your garage so they can acclimate to warmer temperatures and then bring them inside for the winter.

Plant Bulbs

Some bulbs actually need to be planted in the late fall or early winter so they will bloom during the spring and summer. This is an easy way to get a head start on planting.

First, make an aerial sketch of your garden, mapping out where trees, garden features and other plants are. This makes it much easier to plan what kinds of plants to purchase and figure out how many of each you will need.

Then, add them to your garden before the soil freezes. Some bulbs that should be planted during the fall or early winter include:

•    Alliums
•    Tulips
•    Crocuses
•    Amaryllises
•    Hyacinths
•    Lilies
•    Ranunculuses
•    Dutch Irises
•    Apricot Daffodils

You should check with your nursery to find out what kinds of plants do well in your area and which varieties of these bulbs can be planted in the late fall.

Start Seeds Indoors

You can actually start some seeds inside during the winter and then transplant them into your garden in the spring. This gives plants a head start and makes it easier for you to make your garden look full as soon as spring comes. This strategy can also be more affordable than buying young plants in the spring.

There are special containers you can purchase that are designed for starting seeds and some types can even be planted in your garden and will decompose. You can also recycle pots or cell containers other plants came in or even containers from the kitchen. Be sure to sterilise these containers before you use them.

Use a seed-starting soil mix that is fresh and full of nutrients and make sure the seeds have plenty of light. Seedlings and new plants need a lot of light so they will grow healthy and strong. If you don’t have a well-lit place to keep your seedlings, you can use fluorescent lights.

Once the weather is warm enough, transplant these plants outside into your garden and continue to tend and nourish them as they flourish.

While the winter months may not be the ideal time to add new plants to your garden and beautify the grounds, it is the perfect time to take some other steps that will give you a head start.

Take this opportunity to prepare your garden beds, make repairs, maintain plants, plant bulbs and even start seeds indoors so you will be ahead of the game on the first day of spring. 

For all your gardening equipment needs, please visit HSS Hire's Gardening Page: www.hss.com/cl/1014396/Gardening.html

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

12 Things to Do Before You Close Your Shop or Business for Christmas

You have heard of the 12 days of Christmas, but have you done these 12 things in preparation for closing your shop or business for the holidays? Many businesses close their doors for at least a few days to let their employees spend time with their families and because business can be slow on holidays.

If you take some steps before you close up shop, you can be sure your business is safe and sound while you are away and that it will be ready to take on the new year when you return to open it again.

Inform Your Customers and Post Holiday Hours

There is nothing worse than showing up to a store or business and finding out it has changed its hours. Don’t let your customers down this Christmas. If you work in a shop or have a business were clients frequently stop by, inform your customers through email, mailers or social media of your holiday hours. It’s also a good idea to post holiday hours on your shop door.

Turn off Water Supplies

When it's so cold outside, your pipes are at risk of freezing, which can cause them to burst. Burst pipes can also be the result of other plumbing problems, and flooding can lead to a lot of expensive damage. Avoid this hassle and expense by turning off the water supply if you have access to it.

Prepare Security Systems

Your shop or business should have some security systems, like surveillance cameras, motion-activated lights and door and window alarms installed. Make sure those are working properly and will be activated when you leave. If you don’t have any security measures in place, now is a good time to install some.

Set the Thermostat

Since no one will be in your office or store while it is closed, it is okay to turn your thermostat down, but do not turn it completely off. If your furnace is turned off, the water in your pipes or appliances could freeze, causing a lot of damage. Cold air can also damage things like flooring, appliances and electronics.

Store Valuables in a Safe

Things like cash drawers, valuable equipment and important documents should be stored in a safe while you are away. The hope is that no one will break into your business, especially with your security systems in place, but just in case, it is wise to have these things protected.

A safe will also keep things secure in case of a flood, fire or other emergency. Make sure your safe is fire resistant and waterproof, and in the rare case that something happens to your business, you can rest assured that important paperwork and expensive equipment isn't damaged.

Turn on Outside Lights

Leave some lights, like a porch light or landscaping lights on while you are gone. If your business has a system that turns these lights on and off, make sure that system is working. Keeping the lights on will deter burglars and keep your business safer.

Set Timers for Inside Lights

It’s also a good idea to set a timer for lights inside your business, so it isn’t completely dark and doesn’t look empty, making it a target for burglary. If your building doesn’t already have a system installed, you can buy very affordable timers at a hardware store that will allow you to set at least some lights to turn on and off while you are away.

Shut Down Computers and other Electronic Equipment

Computers, printers, copy machines and other electronic equipment should be shut down completely before you leave for the holidays. These things can overheat if they are left on, and turning them off is a good way to decrease your utility bill. Of course, the exception to this rule is any equipment, like lights, timers, and security systems, that need to be left on to keep your business safe.

Do a Deep Clean

Doing a deep clean before you leave the office means it will be ready to start work with you when you return. When you get back, you’ll already be dealing with a lot of things, like emails, phone messages, and catch-up work, and you won’t want to deal with cleaning your office.

Right now is the opportune time to use a floor scrubber on the floors, clean out the refrigerator, take
out the garbage and dust shelves and storage areas.

To hire a floor scrubber, please head to our website: www.hss.com/c/1014427/Floor-Scrubbers.html.

Face the Shelves and Straighten Client Areas

If you face your shop’s shelves and straighten client areas before you leave on vacation, your business will be ready to accept guests immediately upon opening again. Straighten products and inventory, organise magazines and reception areas and prepare your office for clients before you shut things down for Christmas.

Have the Post Office Hold Your Mail

If you receive mail at your business, ask the post office to hold your mail. This is safe because it will prevent people from being able to steal important documents from your mailbox and it won’t make your store look empty and like a good target for burglary or vandalism. This holds true for newspapers too. Pause the delivery of anything you normally receive at your store before you leave.

Set up Email Vacation Responders

Before you leave, set up email vacation responders so that people won’t expect an immediate response while you are away. This is ideal if you aren’t planning on checking your email while on vacation, but even if you are, it’s still a good idea. With a vacation responder in place, you will probably get less email to catch up on when you come back and you won’t feel pressure to respond right away, since you contacts will know you are on vacation.

Preparing to close your shop or business for Christmas does take some work, but when these things are in place you will be confident that your business is safe over the holiday season and that it will be ready to take on work as usual when you return.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Which Lighting Solution Better Suits Your Needs?

Rechargeable Lantern HSS Hire
Image Courtesy of HSS Hire
Whether you are working at night or just in a dark area, having appropriate lighting is important to keeping you safe and getting the job done right. There are several different lighting options available for hire by HSS and choosing the right one can feel like a daunting task.

While it’s true that light is light, different tools have different features, which lend themselves better to some situations than to others. But, regardless of the situation you are working in, there is a lighting solution that will help you stay safe and get the project done efficiently.

Here are some common work situations and the best lighting options for each.

An Industrial Environment

If you are working in an industrial environment, you need powerful lighting that can effectively cover large areas. A halogen light with a short stand that can be angled in any direction is a good fit for industrial work. This type of light is also very mobile, so you can move it to different areas of your work site.

Halogen lights with tall stands that can be adjusted for height are perfect for industrial areas. These lights are very powerful and light up large areas, so you won’t need as many sources of light to cover one space.

You can also hire festoon lights, that can be strung on fences or trees and work well in industrial environments. They usually come in long strands so you can cover a large distance with them and they emit a bright light, lighting up an entire area or perimeter.

In a Warehouse

Lights that work well for an industrial environment will also work for a warehouse. But, there are a few more options you may also want to consider. Magnetic site lights that can be attached to metal rods, poles and shelves can help you light up aisles and assembly and loading areas.

Halogen lights on both short and tall stands are also ideal for warehouses, since they can be set up in any configuration to meet your needs and can be rearranged as things in the warehouse change.

Underground Work

When you work underground, you need the best lighting possible. Start with a hand lamp that is bright enough to help you find your way to and from underground work sites. Then, set up some halogen lights in the areas you are working in to light up a large radius.

Some of the lights mentioned for other circumstances will work for underground projects as well. Look for floor lights that can easily be moved in small spaces or lights with adjustable poles so you can adjust their height as needed.

Finding Your Way

If you work in the dark, getting to and from your work site requires light too. There are lots of powerful hand lamps available that can help you safely travel between worksites or in darker areas of your environment.

Traveller lights are a great choice for situations that require you to move from one place to the next and quickly set up lighting. These lights are not as powerful as other options, but they do provide adequate lighting and are extremely mobile.

To choose the best light for your situation, decide what your needs are. Do you need to light up a very large area? Will you be required to move between areas or from site to site while you work? Do you need to light up one portion of an area or the perimeter? These kinds of questions can help you decide which lighting option is best for you.

Having appropriate lighting while you work is important to your safety and will make your job easier. Start improving your workplace by investing in some good lighting and setting it up where it will be most beneficial. You can browse HSS Hire's extensive collection of lighting solutions for hire by visiting our Lighting & Power Solutions page.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

8 Spooktacular Halloween Decoration Ideas that Will Blow Your Mind

Halloween DIY tips and ideas
Image courtesy of hin255/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The mornings and evenings are getting gloomier earlier, there’s a chill in the air and pumpkins have appeared on supermarket shelves. With the onset of autumn comes Halloween with ghosts, ghouls, witches, wizards and zombies creeping about. Whether you want to host a theme party to remember, impress your neighbours or scare trick-or-treaters, you don’t need to rely on copycat decorations from the fancy dress shop or local store.

Here are our top Halloween decoration ideas, some of which you will need some simple materials and flair for creativity and others a few household tools or gardening equipment. 

1. Spooky walls
If you are planning on hosting a Halloween party then why not make a feature out of one of your bare walls? Perhaps you plan to repaint a wall or room anyway, so why not create a scary scene for Halloween beforehand? You could use black paint on a bare white wall to stencil on an eerie, thorny tree with a tweeting owl, set against a moonlit background. Or you could use wall stickers to add funky spider webs or graveyard headstones with freaky hands reaching out. If you don’t want to mark your existing d├ęcor, then you could always cut out an array of spiders, bats, headstones and evil pumpkins from black and orange cardboard and pin them to your freaky feature wall with temporary adhesive. 

2. Brilliant broom sticks
You can’t have a Halloween party without a gaggle of wicked witches and wizards! So why not create some broomsticks to add the finishing touches to your pointed hat, crooked nose and wonderful wizard capes? You could use old broom handles and tie bundles of straw onto the back. Or for a more authentic look you could go hunting for foot-long logs or large branches to use as the base of your broom. Just make sure you sand properly any wood you use with a sander or sanding paper to prevent any splinters or injuries. 

3. Sinister scarecrow
Scarecrows are traditionally used by farmers to scare birds away from their bounty of juicy vegetables but why not create yours to scare your unsuspecting guests too? The easiest way to create a head for your scarecrow is to carve a pumpkin or a turnip with a scary face. But you could also use an old pillow case filled with hay as the basis for your freaky face. This method will allow you to be more creative with the characteristics of your face; why not give him one eye, a mole or a hooked nose? Now you need to find an old shirt and pants and stuff with more hay or old scrunched up newspaper. Why not use a black and red striped top and make your scarecrow look like Freddie Kruger! 

Fix your scarecrow together with string or sew the top and bottom together – you don’t need to be a competent sewer, the rougher the better as it will all add to the overall effect. Adding accessories is the fun part. If you have made a witchy scarecrow then why not add a broomstick and pointy hat or even some red sparkly shoes like the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz? You could create a severed head with another pillow case and bloody coloured straw or cover your figurine with evil rats, bats and bugs. 

4. A bathroom bloodbath
We’ve all watched Hitchcock’s classic thriller Psycho through our fingers in terror as Norman Bates takes out his murderous revenge on guests at the Bates Motel. So why not transform your bathroom into an eerie scene from the movie by painting bloody red handprints onto a plain white shower curtain, footprints onto an old bathmat and blood splatters along the walls? You could also slash the shower curtain with scissors too for added affect. Your party guests may end up feeling so freaked out they leave the light on and door unlocked! 

5. Lurid lanterns
Cheap circular, paper lampshades can be easily transformed into something far freakier with a bit of imagination and creativity. You could spray paint them orange and create menacing pumpkin-style faces with black paint. Or, as you would with a pumpkin lantern, why not carve out scary faces or bat and spider shapes so the fragmented light scatters eerily across your room? You could also use your lights to hang decorative creepy paper cut-out spiders or bats. Or you could even pick colourful autumnal leaves from your garden and attach them to your light decoration to emphasise the seasonal theme. Eeeek! Just make sure none of your decorations touch the light bulb to prevent any fires. 

6. Grisly ghosts
If you have some tools to hand and would like to scare your neighbours during October then why not create some ghostly figures for your garden? You will need some easily pliable chicken wire, some tough protective gloves and pliers. Use the tools to shape the wire into headless, ghostly figures, perhaps with wavy Victorian style dresses. You will then need to spray paint the figurines with glow in the dark or white paint so they eerily light up when darkness falls.

7. Haunted garden cemetery
No one needs to die in the making of this Halloween decoration! To create your haunted garden cemetery cut out different shaped headstones from old cardboard boxes – cereal boxes would be ideal – and paint them grey and black to look like century-old ageing tombstones. Once the paint is dry then you can customise them either with a simple RIP or even with the names of some of your guests to spook them as they arrive at your party. You could glue some artificial moss onto your tombstones to make them look more aged or even attach some wretched looking zombie hands reaching up from the earth.

Glue a wooden or plastic garden stake onto the back of your tombstone to plant it into the ground. If you don’t mind making holes in your lawn you could also use gardening tools to create holes in front of your headstone to create the illusion of zombies having escaped.

For a more authentic approach you could also use pieces of reclaimed wood to create your headstones so they look more authentic and will last for more than one Halloween season. You can buy cheap pieces of wood from any DIY or hardware store but you will also need protective gloves, a saw and sander to complete the job.

8. Coffin cooler
What screams Halloween more than a creaky coffin? With some wood, nails and a little imagination you could make your own ‘bed for the dead’ to use in a variety of ways. If you want your coffin to be approximately life-sized you will need six pieces of wood, two for the top and bottom, two long sides and two shorter ends. Cut the bottom and top lengths of wood into a graduated coffin design, slimmer at the bottom where your feet would go. Measure out the sides and ends and nail together, sanding down any rough edges as you go. You will need some hinges for the lid and should be able to buy these from any DIY shop.

Then you need to paint your coffin black, brown or grey to make it look more authentic. Try using an old sponge or scrunched up newspaper dipped in paint to create a mottled, aged look. You can even add an RIP to the lid or your name and a freaky testament about how you might have died.

You could line your coffin with material, hay or soil, depending on how and how or where you want to use it. You could use it to create a gravedigger scene on your front lawn, perhaps even hiding in it to jump out on your party guests as they arrive! Or if you have made a smaller one, why not turn it into a drinks cooler? You could extend the theme by creating unappetising labels for your drinks, transforming ordinary tomato juice into bloody Mary’s and beer into witches brew. Serve yours with toy eyeballs, fake false teeth and plastic bugs frozen into ice cubes.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

19 Things That Drive Us Crazy When Shopping

Floor Scrubber HSS Hire
Image Courtesy of HSS Hire
You might be one of those people who simply love shopping.  If you are, you’re not alone, you’ve got a lot of company. And even though shopping has changed some, and you can order online, that doesn’t mean that you’ll do it all that way. There’s a fair chance that you’ll end up at the shops at some point.

But, even if you do love it, you’ll have to admit, there are a few things that drive you mad (or is it just me?). Just take a look...

1. Dirty or Slippery Floors – How comfortable do you feel buying cheese from a deli when there's dust or dirt all over the floors? And when it comes down to cleaning, many store managers just choose to tip over a bucket of water and... and that's all, basically. Well, this is just downright dangerous. And, there’s only so much that you can blame on inclement weather. But the reason this is so annoying is that even if you don’t slip and fall on your bum, you can imagine yourself doing it – so you end up tip-toeing around the shop, even when you’re in a rush. The solution is easy, actually. All a store manager has to do is hire a floor scrubber.  

2. Untidiness – Oooh, this is so irritating, isn’t it?  It’s one thing if you head off to pick through sale racks; then you expect a bit of untidiness. But, if you head off to the local grocery store, or a high end clothing store, you expect it to be neat, don’t you?

3. Dirty Exteriors – When you ran into the store, you may not have taken a whole lot of notice, but then you’ve paid and you’re on your way out when you see just how dirty it truly is, especially if a renovation is in progress. There’s something about that which makes the entire shopping process feel a bit, well, dirty. Thank God, hiring a skip can save any store manager from this awkward position.

4. Noise – You do expect a certain amount of chit-chat in a crowd, but there are certain noises that just grind you down. It can be anything from overly loud music projection in a shop, to noisy heating and cooling elements (which should really just be replaced). And of course, there’s that kid crying an aisle over to drive you a bit insane!

5. Construction – Yes, yes, you do want that shop to be upgraded and you’re mighty happy that they’ve kept the place open while they renovate. But, they seriously need to make sure that they can adequately control the flow of traffic. Easily done by hiring and installing barriers. Because, if there’s a lack of barriers, it simply won’t work at all.

6. Ineffective Lighting – Shopping isn’t like eating at a restaurant. There, you can easily dim the lights to enhance the mood. Plus, you already have a general idea of where you mouth is so the lack of lighting is not likely to impact on your evening. But, when you’re shopping, it’s always best to see what you’re purchasing since it’s a pain to come back with returns.

7. Not Enough Changing Rooms – Not everyone is lucky enough to shop at 11am on a Tuesday morning when the stores are quiet.  Most people head to the stores after work and on the weekends, when – everyone else is out shopping, as well.  They may not be in your way while you’re browsing, but when there’s a queue to try something on, it’s a monstrous hassle.

8. Only One TillUnless you’re in an exclusive boutique, there’s probably a bank of tills. So how is it that you can wait, in a queue, to pay at the only till that’s open? Of course, this always seems to happen when you’re on your lunch hour, and you’ve not got any time to spare, doesn’t it? 

9. Credit Card Service Down – A store’s connection issues should never be your problem. But every now and again, it happens that the card machines are unable to connect to the bank. The problem is that you only learn about this once you’ve finished your shopping and you’re at the till. At best, there’s an ATM next door, but more than likely, you’ll need to walk half a kilometre to a bank and back to pay.

10. No Parking – Whether the store is on the high street and you always knew you’d battle to find a spot, or it’s a shopping centre and their lot is full – this is an inauspicious start to any shopping trip.  Whether or not you can find a close parking place, is likely to impact on the entire experience.

11. A Lack of Parking Demarcation – It’s been years since the parking lot has been painted, and, in fact, they’ve rearranged the parking a few times, so no one knows exactly where they’re meant to park. This is even worse than not finding any parking, simply because you feel the need to swear at every car that’s parked inappropriately.

12. Sale Items Are Out Of Stock – You saw the ad, you convinced yourself you need whatever item is on sale and then you braved the traffic to get to the shop. And as you cruise the aisles, you discover that everyone else has had the same idea. Even if the shop offers to give you the discounted price whenever they’ve got the item back in stock, it’s still a hassle. 

13. They Don’t Stock It – This always happens when you head to the grocery store with a specific menu in mind.  More often than not, it’ll occur when you’ve got friends coming round for dinner.  And it’s a real pain because you just assumed that one shop would have what you need – and that’s why you stopped there in the first place.

14. Change in Opening Hours – Curses. Maybe you even knew this was going to happen, you just didn’t think it had taken effect already.  The problem is that you scheduled your day around picking up the groceries, or that particular item that goes off sale tomorrow – and now, you can do nothing about it.

15. Nothing in Your Size – If you’ve got an average sized foot and you’ve gone off to the shoe shop during a sale week, you’re likely to be told they don’t have your first choice in your size. When the shop assistant returns empty handed for the sixth time, you’ll want to cause a scene. (Don’t.)

16. No Change for the Parking – You may be so well adjusted to parking in the permit only areas around your office that you’ve completely forgotten that you need some change to pay for parking at the shops.  And, it usually happens when you’ve only got large notes – or nothing to break at all.

17. Strange Smells – This makes any experience unpleasant, but it’s especially distressing when you’re shopping.  Nasty smells are easily associated with filthy, dirty surroundings; so the minute you smell something foul; you no longer feel like shopping. It could only be one of the other customers, but it’ll put you off.

18. No Cell Phone Reception – You’d think you could connect just about everywhere (except on trains between cities), but somehow there’s hardly a signal inside your favourite store. And that would be okay if you didn’t need to call your spouse to check a size, or you weren’t waiting for a prospective employer to call you back.  Just how are you supposed to multi-task without cell phone reception?

19. Price Checks – It only happens when you’re in a hurry; you know, when you can’t stop looking at your watch, and even the ticking seems to be mocking you. That’s exactly when the guy in front of you has picked up an article without a price tag.  And then you wait.

The good news is that not every shopping trip ends up like this. But when it does, you’ll find yourself bargaining for Tuesday mornings off work the next time you’re up for an increase. And why not? You’d only spend that time shopping online anyhow, right?