A Year’s Worth of Sales


Another great article from the January/February issue of HGTV Magazine details what household items are marked down throughout the year.

Although we’ve missed January (fitness equipment, linens, and paint), here are the sales to watch out for during 2014 according to author Kelly Tagore:

February: cameras; televisions

March: garden and lawn care; luggage

April: vacuum cleaners; home accessories

May: outdoor grills; annual flowers and vegetables; refrigerators

June: dishware, flatware, and stemware; tools

July: paint; mattresses

August: computers; perennials and shrubs

September: furniture; outdoor furnishings

October: cookware; camping and outdoor gear

November: new cars; appliances

December: air conditioners; wall-to-wall carpeting

Some items have multiple discount periods during the year (e.g., tools are marked down for both Father’s Day and the winter holidays), but the rule of thumb is to shop at the beginning of a peak season, when retailers are competing for business and everything is in stock, and again well after the peak when retailers are clearing inventory or are preparing for new models.

Heating Bill Diet

morguefile-thermostatColleen Sullivan has written an HGTV Magazine piece full of handy tips for reducing your heating costs. You can see the full article, “Slim Down You Big Fat Heating Bill,” in the January/February issue (p. 35), but here are the suggestions she offers:

  • Buy a programmable thermostat — “every degree you lower your thermostat cuts your energy bill by 3%”
  • Re-seal windows
  • Change your filters
  • Install door sweeps — sweeps on exterior doors “can help you save as much as 5% on your heating bill”
  • Insulate your attic — “an attic needs at least 12 inches of blown-in insulation… sealed with a vapor barrier and ventilated so moisture can escape”
  • Seal your ducts
  • Go tankless*
  • Turn off your exhaust fans
  • Retire your boiler — especially if your boiler is more than 20 years old, “a high-efficiency model could save your 40%”
  • Heat one room — a portable oil radiator is not a fire hazard and lets you lower your home’s overall temperature

* Note that changing to a tankless water heater is a complicated project, with lots of pros and cons.

December Checklist

We love these monthly checklists from Houzz contributor Laura Gaskill. She mixes in pleasant tasks (adding plush and warm decor items) with the necessary ones (updating¬† — or, for some, creating! — an emergency kit). Click on her byline to find past checklists, like the one from November.

Stay or Go


Our most recent letter was about a question a lot of homeowners ask themselves whenever the real estate market is good: should I remodel or move? An Oregonian article from earlier in the year made it into our scrapbook because it asks that exact question.

A sidebar lists some key considerations when making the decision to stay or go.

It’s great to see how some creative thinking resolves an awkward layout — shown here in the architect’s plan of the first floor — giving the owners the home they want while letting them stay put in a neighborhood they love.

Otto, B. (2013, March 22). When it pays to stay: couple finds it makes better sense to remodel than to move. The Oregonian, Homes & Gardens pp. 8-12.

Image: Emerick Architects