NeighborWorks® of Grays Harbor contributes to the community conversation on housing issues through a weekly column in the Daily World titled "Nailing it Down."


 Since 1999, the "Nailing it Down"articles have been published in the Daily World and other countywide weekly newspapers. NeighborWorks® of Grays Harbor County has collaborated with local newspapers, elected officials and local experts to publish articles covering hundreds of topics.



Nailing It Down

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It’s Spring Cleanup time in Grays Harbor! For many Harborites, that means a free trip to the dump. However, whether you get a free day at the dump or not, use the spring air of new beginnings to see if your old stuff can be useful to a local charity!


One of the reasons many of us hesitate to get rid of things that we no longer need is that we find it hard to “trash” something that isn’t trash.

As you are sorting and cleaning this spring, you are likely to run into a few items that you no longer have use for but clearly could be of use to somebody.

If you like to get some money out of your things, perhaps it is time to organize a garage sale or check out one of the many internet sites to sell things – including www.2good2toss. Several area Facebook pages also offer opportunity to sell or give away your items.  And, the good ‘ole want ads in local papers, such as this one, will also bring customers your way.

Maybe you don’t need the money, or don’t want the has...

When it comes to recycling, Mike Myers encourages Grays Harborites to keep on keeping on.


We recently talked with Mike, the current chair of Grays Harbor County’s  Solid Waste Committee, who came to the committee in 2008 after 40 years of work at wastewater treatment plants. He is such a wealth of knowledge in the area of all sorts of recycling that we thought we’d share his broad perspective on the topic with our readers.


The last few weeks we’ve been encouraging Grays Harborites to clean up their homes and environs and make use of the area’s various recycling outlets, donation drop offs as well as free days at the LeMay Transfer Station for various city residents. (See the list of days at the end of the column.)


Today we thought we’d step back and take a look at recycling from a broader perspective.


Properly treating waste – whether that is sewage, food waste, garbage, unused pharmaceuticals or recyclables – makes a great difference in our cities and our envir...

We’ve been talking the last few weeks about getting your house spruced up for spring – inside and out.

We’ve found elbow grease, Dawn soap and water to be just about the best cleaners out there for most jobs. Although, if you’ve been reading this column for any time, you’ll note that we’re also very fond of 30 Second Cleaner for things like dirt and light mold on your siding, porches and decks.


While a good scrub is always a great thing – often this time of year, before you can get to much washing and scrubbing, many of us have to get rid of stuff.


A free day at the transfer station or even (dumpsters placed in certain cities) are or will be available for many Grays Harbor residents in the next weeks and months. Just having that day or days on the calendar should get us motivated to go through stuff.


However, what if you are living in rural Grays Harbor or a city that doesn’t sponsor a Cleanup? Or perhaps you do live in one of the cities but other plans or priorities p...

Treasure or trash?


Ahh… it’s so often in the eye of the beholder!


Even “treasures” – think old cars, building materials, half-completed projects – when stacked around your property for years, look suspiciously like trash.


When it comes to stuff around your house in the light of spring, it’s a little like checking out the scale – or the budget – in January. So, now’s the time for a sobering look.


Last week we let folks know about the communities that are sponsoring free days at the dump. (The cities include Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Cosmopolis, McCleary, Westport, as well as Tokeland and Shoalwater Bay. This week we’re adding info on Ocean Shores, too! Check the end of the column for the dates.)


The first to start is Aberdeen, where citizens receive a voucher to use for a free trip to the LeMay Transfer Station during the month of April.


That means we all have some time to get down to some cleaning and sorting.



You’ve got something th...

It’s officially Spring Cleanup time!


We gave you some warning a few weeks back that now’s the time to begin to start tackling both inside and outside spring cleaning chores – as well as planning ahead for any major projects.


Now we’re happy to pass along that once again many of the area’s municipalities are sponsoring a free Spring Cleanup days at the LeMay Transfer Station or bringing the containers to you.


Each has a little different arrangement, so make sure to read about your area.


It’s been a few years now since Grays Harbor County has sponsored a cleanup for all those out in the county instead of in a city.

Unfortunately for those of you, out in the county, that is still the case – no paid for cleanup day. However, still consider using the fresh spring weather to give your place a once-over and gather up your usable – but not needed by you – stuff to sell or donate.


Then, for as low as $10.46 for up to 200 pounds (or if you have lots of stuff it costs...

Even the birds seem to know it – It’s building time. Or, getting close to it. If you have plans for a remodel or repair, perhaps to add a deck or patio, this is the time of year you should be thinking ahead to preparing for that project. Maybe you “just” plan to hire someone to paint the house or fix the roof.


When it comes to successful relationships with contractors a clear description of the work and a written contract head the list.


Last week we hit some of the high points on the formal relationship with someone you hire to work in your home. Today we’re going to talk more specifically about the written contract. Once again we’ll mention that we are not attorneys and don’t offer legal advice. That being said, think of us as an experienced neighbor who has worked with a few contracts over the years.




Besides your name and address, a contract should name the construction company, all of its owners, all pertinent addresses, phone numbers and th...

Spring is a great time of year to begin your home fix-up or remodeling project. If you need to hire a contractor to complete your project, you’ll want to get on their schedule as soon as possible.


Once the decision is made to add that garage, remodel the kitchen, replace the deck, or put on a new roof, most folks want to jump in and get ’er done. Unfortunately and too often, they jump in without a written plan or the management tools to assure success.


We respectfully submit the following advice about reducing risk by using written scopes of work, hiring legitimate contractors, and using written contracts.


Grays Harbor has plenty of solid, talented and trustworthy builders. However, we do hear evidence of some who are neither trustworthy, nor competent. If you hire the wrong person or company you can risk losing your money-even twice, precious construction time, and sometimes even your house when things go wrong.



Although recent flurries of snow might not agree, it’s still true: Spring is on the way.


Now that March is here, we’re just weeks away from spring’s official start. And, with the unpredictability of weather this time of year, we thought we’d give you some things to consider adding to your To Do list, because you never know when you might have the perfect weather presented to you. It’s best to be ready.


Last week we gave you our list of inside chores to tackle.


Today we’re giving you some for an outside checklist.


Soon, we will pass along the Clean-up dates for a free trip to the LeMay transfer station that is offered to many communities in our county.


  • Wash the outside siding and trim of the house with 30 Second cleaner. Follow directions. We loan pump sprayers and long handle brushes for this job.

  • Wash the outside of all your windows. Use a gallon of hot water and a half cup of suds-free ammonia. Rinse very well with the hose.


Under the blanket of snow, those nearly budding daffodils attest that spring is still right around the corner.


Perhaps between the shoveling and extra laundry our frozen week brought us, you had an opportunity to dream of what this spring and summer will bring to your house.


Do you have major projects or remodeling plans? Is this the year to paint the house, replace the deck, put up a new fence? Or perhaps you’re already itching to get to some deep spring cleaning.


Today we’ll give you a few things for you to either start on immediately or put on your Spring Cleaning To Do list for next month.


Even though we just had snow, in less than a week we’ll be in March!


This week we’ll start with an inside checklist with our Outside Chore checklist coming in an upcoming column.



  • Plan large home maintenance projects.  Plan roofing, major repairs, painting exterior, ductless heat pump installation, etc. – around a written scope o...

Every so often we like to reintroduce ourselves!


While we’ve been here in Grays Harbor since 1981 and presenting this column in The Daily World, since 1999, we know that new folks are always moving into town – and that some of the people who were teens when we started writing this column are now homeowners – or want to be!


Part of the reason we’re being reflective right now about our history and what we do, is that in a few weeks, we’re heading for Washington, D.C. to meet with our network organizations across the nation to discuss housing.


Yes, NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor County is one of the oldest chartered organizations of nearly 250 located in every state and U.S. possessions as part of the NeighborWorks America organization.


The executive directors will meet in March for the annual Directors Symposium in Washington, D.C., to better understand the national picture of housing issues and to share our local challenges, opportunities and best practices with e...

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