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How to Protect Your Garden Furniture

Investing in a beautiful patio, if you can do so, is truly a gratifying thing - just think of the dinners, laughter, and conversations that will be shared in your garden. On that note, to keep your garden furniture in top shape so that you can enjoy it the most, there are a couple of maintenance measures that must be taken, about which we will be talking in this article.

Since we are talking about the outdoors, the biggest risk factors for furniture damage are extremely hot or cold temperatures, as well as the rain and humidity. But, you should know that maintenance is probably quite easier than you would initially think, especially if you are buying quality outdoor furniture. Experts from FeatureDECO explain that all the quality outdoor furniture is built to be durable, and to do so, the furniture features rust-free powder coated aluminum, UV light-resistant fabric and well as foam, and, of course, wood that isn't prone to rot. Still, as with pretty much any product, a little care, and maintenance can go a long way, so, here are a few tips on how to do that.

Using covers

Maybe the most obvious and the most important step in ensuring that your garden furniture is going to last longer and stay in top shape is using covers for it when you're not using it. The most important thing when it comes to using covers is to ensure that you are getting full coverage, and hence full protection against weather, dust, insects, etc. So, what you are looking for in covers are highly durable, low porosity polymer materials, like heavy-duty polyester fabrics for instance. This way, no matter the outside circumstances, your outdoor furniture will be kept safe.

Cleaning

Although it's recommended that you clean your outdoor furniture a couple of times in the period that you're actively using it, it is even more important to thoroughly clean it when you are preparing it for storage during the winter months. If there is any dirt, moisture, or other debris left on your furniture for a long time, you are risking mold growth, and that is a problem that can't be solved with a simple rinse. Not only mold doesn't give your furniture a very presentable look, but it also smells really bad and even poses a health hazard.

The way that you are going to approach the cleaning varies depending on the materials, so, pieces that are made from wicker, hard fabric, or polymers can be easily cleaned by using a sponge that is soaked in a mixture of dish soap and water, you don't need to use any stronger chemicals. Afterward, you can simply rinse the pieces with a hose and let them dry. On the other hand, as far as pieces made from wood are concerned, you need to be careful not to damage them by using inadequate products, or by scrubbing too hard, which can lead to chipping of the paint. If you ruin your furniture this way, no warranty can help you. So, for whitewashed or painted wood it is enough just to wipe it down with a damp cloth. Also, after you are done with cleaning and you are going to store the furniture afterward, be sure to let it dry first!

Coating

It is very important to properly treat your outside furniture! As well as cleaning, the way that you are going to coat the object heavily depends on the material, and since there are a lot of variations on this topic, it will probably be best to consult the recommended care instructions or a professional about your specific garden furniture set before you do anything. Here, we are going to cover (pun intended) the basics.

  • Plastics: Well, materials made of plastic are probably the easiest ones for maintenance. Plastic materials are the only ones that don't require coating since they are resistant to pretty much anything but melting.
  • Finished metal and aluminum: Since the biggest problem with metal is rust, if there are no signs of it, it is enough to coat the metal pieces with paste wax for further protection.
  • Textiles: As we said earlier, with textiles, your biggest enemy is the mold. But if you are taking good care of your textiles, you probably won't encounter this problem. So next time that you thoroughly wash and then dry tour textiles, treat them with a good fabric protector and that would be enough.
  • Wood: The most important thing about wood is not to let it retain moisture since it leads to cracking and rotting. You can achieve this by coating the wood with a sealant.

Storing properly

If you can do so, it will be best for your outdoor furniture if you store it during the off-season to protect it. A garage, basement, or storage shed is ideal for this occasion, but just be sure that everything is covered properly and that the furniture isn't stored while it's still wet.

Taking that bit of extra care for your outdoor furniture really goes a long way. Be sure to follow all the steps mentioned above, and you will surely be enjoying your patio for years to come!

3 Min Read
Business

Five Essential Lessons to Keep in Mind When You're Starting Your Own Business

"How did you ever get into a business like that?" people ask me. They're confounded to hear that my product is industrial baler wire—a very unfeminine pursuit, especially in 1975 when I founded my company in the midst of a machismo man's world. It's a long story, but I'll try to shorten it.

I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up—even if it involved a non-glamorous product. I'd been fired from my previous job working to become a ladies' clothing buyer and was told at my dismissal, "You just aren't management or corporate material." My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.

Over the years, I've learned quite a few tough lessons about how to successfully run a business. Below are five essential elements to keep in mind, as well as my story on how I learned them.

Find A Need And Fill It

I gradually became successful at selling various products, which unfortunately weren't profitable enough to get me off the ground, so I asked people what they needed that they couldn't seem to get. One man said, "Honey, I need baler wire. Even the farmers can't get it." I saw happy dollar signs as he talked on and dedicated myself to figuring out the baler wire industry.

I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up.

Now forty-five years later, I'm proud to be the founder of Vulcan Wire, Inc., an industrial baler wire company with $10 million of annual sales.

Have Working Capital And Credit

There were many pitfalls along the way to my eventual success. My daughters and I were subsisting from my unemployment checks, erratic alimony and child-support payments, and food stamps. I had no money stashed up to start up a business.

I paid for the first wire with a check for which I had no funds, an illegal act, but I thought it wouldn't matter as long as I made a deposit to cover the deficit before the bank received the check. My expectation was that I'd receive payment immediately upon delivery, for which I used a rented truck.

Little did I know that this Fortune 500 company's modus operandi was to pay all bills thirty or more days after receipts. My customer initially refused to pay on the spot. I told him I would consequently have to return the wire, so he reluctantly decided to call corporate headquarters for this unusual request.

My stomach was in knots the whole time he was gone, because he said it was iffy that corporate would come through. Fifty minutes later, however, he emerged with a check in hand, resentful of the time away from his busy schedule. Stressed, he told me to never again expect another C.O.D. and that any future sale must be on credit. Luckily, I made it to the bank with a few minutes to spare.

Know Your Product Thoroughly

I received a disheartening phone call shortly thereafter: my wire was breaking. This horrible news fueled the fire of my fears. Would I have to reimburse my customer? Would my vendor refuse to reimburse me?

My customer told me to come over and take samples of his good wire to see if I might duplicate it. I did that and educated myself on the necessary qualities.

My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.

Voila! I found another wire supplier that had the right specifications. By then, I was savvy enough to act as though they would naturally give me thirty-day terms. They did!

More good news: My customer merely threw away all the bad wire I'd sold him, and the new wire worked perfectly; he then gave me leads and a good endorsement. I rapidly gained more wire customers.

Anticipate The Dangers Of Exponential Growth

I had made a depressing discovery. My working capital was inadequate. After I purchased the wire, I had to wait ten to thirty days for a fabricator to get it reconfigured, which became a looming problem. It meant that to maintain a good credit standing, I had to pay for the wire ten to thirty days before my customers paid me.

I was successful on paper but was incredibly cash deprived. In other words, my exponentially growing business was about to implode due to too many sales. Eventually, my increasing sales grew at a slower rate, solving my cash flow problem.

Delegate From The Bottom Up

I learned how to delegate and eventually delegated myself out of the top jobs of CEO, President, CFO, and Vice President of Finance. Now, at seventy-eight years old, I've sold all but a third of Vulcan's stock and am semi-retired with my only job currently serving as Vice President of Stock and Consultant.

In the interim, I survived many obstacles and learned many other lessons, but hopefully these five will get you started and help prevent some of you from having the same struggles that I did. And in the end, I figured it all out, just like you will.