Better SpaceEveryone knows how to achieve the No. 1 New Year’s resolution: losing weight. But how do you lose the excess weight in your home — the oil change receipts from 1995, the skirt in the back of the closet that doesn’t fit any more but you swear you’ll fit back into someday, or the 20 Phillipshead screw drivers dispersed in four tool boxes that are located in various places in the house?

The first step is to make a date to organize your home, and there’s no better time than the new year.

“Set aside time for it,” said professional organizer Leila Nelson, owner of A Better Space. “Nothing gets in the way. Don’t answer the phone. Don’t pick up your kids.”

5 WAYS to improve your home’s valueIn a tough real estate market, the difference between selling a home and watching it stay listed month after month can come down to making a few changes to capture the uniqueness of your home.

While budget busting renovation projects are one way to update your space, they are often far too expensive for people looking to sell their homes. But tearing out your kitchen and adding a new bathroom aren’t the only ways to get your house sold.

If you want to make some changes, but don’t want to empty your wallet, here are five affordable tips to help you improve your home’s marketability.

Stylish, sustainable interior design ideasWhen you think of the colors associated with cool weather, green doesn’t necessarily come to mind. Environmentally speaking, however, it should. There’s no better time than now to lessen your home’s impact on the environment and change the way you decorate and live. It’s not nearly as difficult to become earth-friendly as you might think. These days, you can find stylish, eco-friendly design elements for every room in the house. And, contrary to popular belief, going green doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style for sustainability. The two can coexist quite effortlessly.

You can start simple by dressing your bed in luxurious sheets, throws and comforters made from fabrics such as rich, renewable bamboo or soft, organic cotton. Cover your floors with formaldehyde-free carpets constructed of recycled fibers or select a natural material, like stone, slate or even concrete. Then, hang energy-efficient window treatments with high insulation and shading properties.

How do you know if it’s right for you?

More and more retirees, hit hard by the downturn in the stock market, are turning to the once-controversial reverse mortgage to tap into their home’s equity and boost their monthly income.

A reverse mortgage is a special type of home loan that lets seniors convert a portion of the equity in their home into cash, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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Are you ready to go green for Christmas? Well, OK then, red and green and even more!

Whatever your color preference, it won’t be hard to find for you fortunate Lowcountry decorators. Scarcely a yard on this island does not provide several of the essential traditional Christmas greens and some provide even the exceptional ones, those jewels of the season which are not concealed but flourish practically at eye level everywhere.

Here are some questions and answers about the tax credit extension from the National Association of Home Builders: Question: When does the tax credit extension expire?

What plants are good to fill in the spaces recently vacated by summer annuals?

Purple blooms of salvia leucantha.Though Shakespeare declares that only in June come perfect days, gardeners in the Lowcountry know better. We have not forgotten the crushing days of heat that afected both gardens and gardeners last June. But, October, November — and even into December — we are furnished with perfect days outdoors when brisk air, moderate temperatures, adequate rainfall and bright Carolina blue skies that stimulate and inspire our efforts.

While Northerners are putting their landscapes to bed for months under snow cover, Southern practitioners are busy planting winter annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees.

Thanksgiving Day is a holiday rich in its traditions: turkey, pumpkin pie, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and football.

Many families have the tradition of gathering around the dinner table or in the living room and makes a “gratitude circle.” Each friend or family member has to say what they’re most thankful for this past year.

Here are a few new ways to carry on the same spirit of this tradition, but with a little more flare.

Mastering the Art of Fine Gardening

oct09_flowerWhat a refreshing idea! It is well known that gardens thrive in the spring and early summer, but what happens or can be expected in the fall in a Lowcountry garden? Those and related questions will be answered on Oct. 17 when the Lowcountry Master Gardener Association presents its second annual educational garden tour. The emphasis is on education and even the most experienced gardener can learn something.

With cooler weather under way and the market on the upswing, now’s the time to revamp or build your dream home.

A Cook's Kitchen

Experts weigh in on the perfect culinary setting

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It’s no secret that the heart of every home is the kitchen. After all, it’s where holiday meals are cooked, school lunches are made and parties tend to linger.