8 Ways to Get a Handle on the Junk Drawer

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 7.52.47 AMDon’t sweat the small stuff — give it a few drawers of its own, sorted by type or task

Junk drawers get a bad rap, and while it is (mostly) well deserved, there is a way to get that beast sorted and organized once and for all. From creating categories to making smart choices about what goes in and what stays out, these eight tips can help transform junk drawers into “really useful stuff” drawers, ones that keep small items right where you need them.

5 Ways to Pare Down Your Stuff — Before It Gets in the Door

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 8.44.12 AMWant to free up some room around the house? Rethink gift giving, give yourself a shopping mantra and just say, ‘No, thank you’ to freebies

Can you nicely refuse unwanted things others might try to foist on you? What can you say when relatives do not see the gifts they have given you proudly displayed on the mantel? And how can you win the battle with your own mind as you try to shove yet another item from the Target decor section into your shopping cart? These five tips can help you navigate these sticky situations, leaving your home unburdened by things you don’t use — and your friendships intact.

Checklists for a Well-Stocked Home

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 8.50.28 AMThank-you notes, first-aid kit, clear glass vases … It’s easy to go with the flow when you’ve got the items you need at hand

A well-stocked home can help you handle the little surprises — drop-in guests, dastardly spills — life throws at you with a bit more grace. If you are setting up home for the first time or just want to refresh your space, these 10 checklists will keep you stocked with items you need for almost any occasion.

To-Dos: Your September Home Checklist

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 8.45.22 AMBoost the comforts of home for fall with a few of these ideas for stocking up and staying cozy

Curling up with popcorn and a movie, simmering a big pot of soup or chili on the stove, and getting the house and yard in shape after the lazy days of summer — in September, the comforts of home beckon. From feeding the birds to having the chimney cleaned, see if any of these to-dos make your list this month.

Home Fire Safety

A guide to household fire safety and prevention.home-fire-safety

Get Turned On to a Lighting Plan

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 7.28.57 AMCoordinate your layers of lighting to help each one of your rooms look its best and work well for you

A well-lit room looks, works and feels better; it’s as simple as that. Whether you are starting from scratch with a new home or are looking to tailor your current space to better fit your needs, a lighting plan should be on your radar. Here’s the scoop on lighting plans — what they are, why you may want one, how to implement one and when to hire a pro.

Who Says a Dining Room Has to Be a Dining Room?

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 9.38.25 AMChucking the builder’s floor plan, a family reassigns rooms to work better for their needs

Cathy Zaeske’s kids had moved on from their Lego blocks and taken up musical instruments, so it was time to get rid of the playroom that had taken over what had once been designated the dining area. Clearing things out gave her a good chance to rethink her home’s layout.

“Since the traditional dining room is right off the kitchen and has become the throughway to the screened-in porch, it receives lots of traffic and activity, not to mention the afternoon sun,” Zaeske, a decorator, explains. “I’m a big believer in designing a space for how people will live in it, not how they should live in it.” She refused to let the fact that her builder had written “dining room” on the floor plan fence her family in. And she didn’t let the same plans make her feel like she had to have a formal living room either. Repurposing and swapping spaces resulted in a functional layout tailored to her family.

History of Home Heating

History of Home Heating

Preparing Your Home For A Natural Disaster [infographic]