Home & How-To

Home and How-To Content

If you’ve ever walked into your kitchen and immediately smelled an appalling odor, then take note because here are some quick and easy ways to remove kitchen odors.  That garbage disposal is often the culprit of bad odors, so save lemon or citrus rinds and run them through the disposal once or twice a month.  

May Home Projects

May 18, 2016

The weather has been really nice lately, so take advantage by checking off some of these May home projects.  This is prime growing season for weeds, so stay ahead of the barrage with regular weeding.  While you're outdoors, take a few minutes to clean, oil, and sharpen those garden tools for the season.  And always clean and dry your trusted tools after use to prolong their usefulness.  

Summer HVAC Part 2

May 17, 2016

So you know that this is a good time to schedule a tune up for your HVAC system and the more shade you can create around your unit, the better it will cool your house.  But let’s talk about things you can do to help decrease the cost of cooling your house through the hot South Carolina summer.

Summer HVAC Part 1

May 16, 2016

We’ve been enjoying the moderate temperatures lately, but it’s getting hotter and your HVAC system could use some help to keep you cool this summer.  First off, it’s a good idea to schedule a tune-up on your system.

You’re starting to get the idea that there are lots of little changes that you can make that will add up to big savings over the course of a year.  So think about how you consume media.  You may love to read, but buying a full-price book just isn’t a good idea when there are so many other options like your local library…you’re already buying library books with your tax dollars, so take full advantage of that service.  

You have a few ideas about ways to cut corners and save money; are you ready for some more money saving tips?  Here we go.  Stop paying for television.  Now that the digital conversion has happened, you can get a good quality picture with rabbit ears.  And there are many cheaper streaming services that offer movies and TV programs.  

Seems like more and more people are struggling to make ends meet these days, but you don’t have to be one of them.  Follow these simple tips, and you could save cash each month.  One simple thing to do is stop paying ATM convenience fees.  Either find a bank branch near you or get cash back at the many retail locations that offer that service.  

Kitchen Gardener

May 10, 2016

If you’re a gardener, or just looking for ways to control pests around your home, there’s one place where you can find a number of items you may not have thought of.  There’s no need to purchase caustic ant killers, just boil a large pot of water and pour it over the ant mound.  Be sure you have enough to cover the entire pile.  

This time of the year, there are a lot of things to celebrate, but keep in mind when planning your celebrations that releasing balloons as part of your event is not a good idea.  Michelle Pate , DNR Sea Turtle Program Coordinator, says that released balloons “end up in our waterways once they deflate. 

DIY Mosquito Trap

May 6, 2016

Mosquitoes can be a real pain and since they carry diseases, they can also be dangerous pests!  However, many insect repellents contain chemicals that could be harmful to humans and animals, so it can be difficult to decide which methods to employ when it comes to pest control!  Planting citronella or burning citronella candles on your porch or patio to stave off these buzzing pests is a good idea.  Or you can make a mosquito trap by re-using a two liter bottle.

It’s the time of year when we really think about our lawns and gardens, and while a beautiful green lawn is a joy, think about irrigation maintenance to ensure you’re not wasting water.  Did you know that a single broken sprinkler head can waste as much as 25,000 gallons of water over the course of a six month water season?

Small Yard Tricks

May 4, 2016

  Creating an enjoyable outdoor space can be daunting if you struggle with landscaping, but it can be downright overwhelming if your property has a very small outdoor area

  Now that Sea Turtle nesting season has begun, it’s important to consider your impact on the beaches of South Carolina.  Turtles come ashore May through October and can lay as many as one hundred twenty eggs in a nest along the sand dunes.

Outdoor Kitchens

Apr 29, 2016

  Your patio is the perfect spot for summer dining, but before you head out to buy a new grill think about what kind of outdoor kitchen might be right for you.

Dryer Sheets

Apr 28, 2016

The dryer sheet is a fairly common household object, but these little disposables (both used and unused) have a host of uncommon uses!  For example, did you know that a used dryer sheet can polish chrome bathroom fixtures?  Just moisten slightly with water and rub the sheet over bathroom fixtures for a quick shine.  

Budget Gardening

Apr 27, 2016

Landscaping can be expensive, but with a little time and effort, you can create a backyard oasis on a budget.  First, take some time to plan your landscaping.  Draw a map of your yard and consider where you’ll get the most impact from large plants.  The best way to save money on landscaping is to do it yourself and you’ll enjoy the therapeutic benefits as well.  

  Staying on top of general home maintenance is a good way to avoid potentially expensive repairs, but there’s no way to avoid the big repairs, like replacing your roof.

Earth Day

Apr 22, 2016

It's Earth Day!  Events are happening all over the country this weekend to celebrate the earth and to help preserve her resources.  Whether you’re planning to attend a local event or not, make the day a success by pledging to do something good for the environment.  Will you start a recycling program at your school or business?  Perhaps you’ll plant a tree or garden this weekend.  

SC Earth Day Events

Apr 21, 2016

Tomorrow is Earth Day and there are plenty of events going on around the state where you can get involved!  Clemson is hosting an Earth Day Celebration tomorrow from 2-4pm on the North Green.  Many businesses and organizations will be represented with exhibits and activities related to green initiatives to heighten awareness ecological and environmental awareness.  On Saturday April 23 the city of Sumter is hosting a day of green at Swan Lake Iris Gardens off Garden Street from 8am to 12pm.  

It’s time to start enjoying your outdoor living space again.  Whether you enjoy the front porch or the backyard patio, here are some quick and easy DIY upgrades for your outdoor space.  Get crafty with some recycled aluminum cans by drilling small holes and painting them to create candle lanterns. 


Organic on a Budget

Apr 19, 2016

We all want the best foods for our families, but sometimes it’s hard to justify the cost when cheaper options are available.  So here are some tips for eating organic on a budget.  First, know which produce is counted among the dirty dozen- in other words the produce with the highest levels of pesticides, and which produce is ok not to buy organic.  

Sign of Stress

Apr 18, 2016

According to the American Psychological Association, Americans are more stressed than ever, and for many, stress can impact mental or physical health.  So if you have any of these symptoms, you may want to reassess your levels of stress.  Stress can cause people to overeat or undereat, so if your weight begins to fluctuate, take note.  

Your eco wedding is going to be beautiful, but where are you planning to go for the honeymoon?  While exotic locations sound wonderful, you could save money and energy by staying close to home.  South Carolina has beautiful beaches that offer a chance to get away from the stress of planning the wedding.  And our state offers gorgeous mountain getaways too.

After the vows have been said and the party is over, keep the green wedding spirit alive by recycling the trash.  Planning ahead helps too.  Go the traditional route and use glass place settings.  These can be rented or often come included if you rent out a venue for your reception and of course they’ll be used over and over again.

You’re planning an eco-friendly wedding; let’s talk about the flowers!  Not only will you most likely decorate the altar and the reception with beautiful arrangements, but you’ll want a bouquet to carry as well.  The best way to plan for a sustainable day when it comes to flowers it to make sure the buds are local, in season, and organic if at all possible.  

So, you’ve already found the dress and rented the tux for your eco-friendly wedding.  Have you considered what kind of invitations you’ll send?  You could go the traditional route and purchase invitations made from recycled papers and fibers.

We’re approaching the busy wedding season, and if you’re planning your own wedding then you know there are a lot of decisions to make!  From the dress to the flowers to the menu and on, try making green decisions along the way to make your day sustainable and eco-friendly.

Thrifting Tips

Apr 8, 2016

Creating a stylish home on a budget can be a tall order, but by keeping an open mind, finding great items at the thrift store, flea market, and even yard sales can be fun.  The trick is to think creatively!

Meal Planning

Apr 7, 2016

We’re all trying to get more done in less time, but being on the go all the time can negatively affect your eating habits.  The best defense is a good plan!  So take a few moments to plan your meals for the week.

Safer Choice Label

Apr 6, 2016

Finding cleaning and other products that are safe for your family and the environment became easier thanks to the Safer Choice label from the EPA.  When shopping, the label lets you know which products have been reviewed and meet the safer choice standards.