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12 Ways to Be a Better Recycler at Home

With Earth Day coming up this Sunday, April 22nd, we thought it would be a good opportunity to talk about recycling. The number one way most people try to give back to the environment is by recycling. But sometimes even the best intentions aren’t good enough. Check out these twelve ways you can adjust your recycling habits to ensure your efforts to help the environment don’t go to waste.

Rinse recyclable food packaging.

It’s tempting to just toss your jars, cans, and bottles into the recycle bin without rinsing them. Recycling is recycling, right? Wrong! Even small traces of food can hurt the recycling process in a big way. Rinse recyclable materials thoroughly and remove any labels before placing them in the bin.

Don’t put items with food residue into the recycle bin.

In the same vein as the above tip, dirty cardboard and paper can contaminate entire batches of recycling. No matter how much you want to put those used pizza boxes in the recycle bin, don’t do it. Even a small amount of grease can hurt your efforts to help.

Remove lids and plastic rings from bottles.

By now, you’ve probably been conditioned to remove the lids and rings from your plastic bottles before tossing them in the recycling. Traditionally, recycling facilities haven’t taken the lids and rings, but some facilities are actually able to recycle them. Check with your local facility to make sure. If it’s a no go, make sure to keep removing those lids and rings from your bottles!

Ask your local recycling center which plastics they accept.

Not all plastics are created equal. If you’re not aware already, plastic materials should have a number on the bottom that designates their level of recyclability. The bin your local facility provides should state which numbers they accept. In many cases, only numbers 1 and 2 are acceptable, but some places take others. If you’re not sure, call your local facility and ask.

Be choosy about the paper you put in the recycling bin.

Shredded paper, for example, isn’t easily recycled. Shredding paper shortens the fibers and lowers the grade from high grade to mixed grade. It’s best to put whole sheets of paper into the bin (without crumpling them or balling them up). If you feel bad throwing your paper shreds into the trash, there are other ways to recycle it. Use it as packing material, burn it for composting, or put it out for bedding for small animals.

Don’t put plastic grocery bags in the recycle bin.

There should also be a note on your recycle bin that tells you not to include plastic bags. Your local grocery store should have a container in the front of the store for recycling plastic grocery bags. If not, ask the manager to put one out. They should be glad to!

Know what types of glass are recyclable.

Just like some plastics, certain types of glass are not recyclable. Items like lightbulbs, Pyrex dishes, laboratory glassware, mirror glass, and window glass aren’t accepted by most recycling facilities. Again, call your local plant to make sure.

Even if your local recycler doesn’t recycle certain items, they may still be recyclable.

Keep in mind that even if your local recycling facility doesn’t accept some items (for example, some only take paper), there might be a place nearby that does. All it takes is a drive to another recycler or a store that accepts them. For instance, many electronics stores have programs where you can drop off your old electronics to be recycled. Even better, some places will pay you for your old phone, computer, or appliance.

Buy products made from recycled materials.

You can influence the recycling process from the other side as well. When buying disposable items, make an effort to look for those made from recycled materials.

Anticipate recycling when shopping.

Likewise, when you’re doing your shopping, try to buy items packaged only in materials that you know can be recycled. Sometimes there’s just no getting around buying non-recyclable items, but being mindful about what you can recycle helps a lot.

Put the “Free Stuff” section of Craigslist to good use.

Don’t trash that free sample of baby formula or the gift basket of scented soaps you’ll never use! Try posting things you won’t use on the “free stuff” section of Craigslist, or find a Mom Swap group on Facebook.

Take time this Earth Day to be grateful for everything our environment provides for us, and then give back by revamping your recycling habits. What other recycling tips do you have? Let us know in the comments section!

5 Things You’ll Love About Living Downtown

Next up in our “5 Things You’ll Love…” series, we’re exploring five reasons why you’ll love owning a home on the downtown peninsula. There are lots of good reasons to live downtown, but we’ve narrowed the list down to the best ones. Without further ado, here are five reasons to live in Downtown Charleston, South Carolina.

Proximity to one-of-a-kind dining and shopping.

Charleston has become a foodie’s dream over the past few years, not to mention the shopper’s paradise King Street has become over the decades. Hole-in-the-wall restaurants and bars and culinary triumphs exist side by side on the peninsula. You can grab home-cooked soul food just as easily as a 5-course gourmet meal. Then shop off those calories by perusing the local boutiques and international chain stores along King Street.

Walkability/bike-ability and other transportation options.

It’s easy to walk or bike pretty much the entire peninsula. If not, a pedi-cab or Uber ride is pretty much always within reach. Besides the ease of getting around the downtown area itself, CARTA buses make reaching the beaches and outlying areas fairly simple as well.

Rich history and culture.

It’s no big surprise that Charleston has an extremely rich history. Even if you’re not a history buff, you’ll be fascinated by the city’s background, architecture, and culture. Take a self-guided walking tour of gorgeous antebellum homes and buildings. Or book a ghost tour or pirate tour to hear spooky/entertaining stories as you explore the city on foot.

You live in the center of it all.

From farmer’s markets and art walks to concerts and baseball games, there’s always something fun going on downtown. No matter what your interests are, we can guarantee there will be something to delight you any day of the week. If you love art, check out classes and demonstrations at places like Redux or Artist & Craftsman. If reading is your forté, explore Blue Bicycle Books and set up a comfy reading spot in one of the downtown area’s many parks and green spaces.

Something new (or old) around every corner.

Even though Charleston is one of the United States’ most famous historic cities, it’s an ever-evolving place. Around every corner is something new to explore, whether it’s actually new or just new to you.

Do you live downtown? What are your favorite things about living in the midst of such a beautiful, historic place? Let us know in the comments section!

How-To Tuesday: Organize Any Room in 30 Minutes Or Less

Life is pretty busy for everyone these days, which means some tasks fall by the wayside. For a lot of us, that task is organizing the house. Tidying up can seem like a daunting task after a full day of work, errands, extracurricular activities, and/or chasing after little ones. But coming home from all of that chaos to a clean, organized house feels so restful and welcoming. If you can reserve a 30-minute block in your schedule, you can organize pretty much any room in the house. Take about five minutes to complete each of the following tasks, and you can declutter and clean any room in half an hour or less.

Clear clutter that doesn’t belong.

First, grab a basket or box and a small trash bag. Take a walk around the room, picking up anything that doesn’t belong there. Put those items that belongs elsewhere in the basket or box. While you’re looking for items that don’t belong, use the trash bag to gather any stray trash that might be lurking under chairs or on tables.

Clear the designated “landing spot.”

Whether we’re willing to admit it or not, we all have that landing zone where stuff gets tossed when we don’t want to deal with it. It might be piles of mail on a console table, magazines and books on the coffee table, or spare change on the kitchen counter. Clear it away and commit to making a concentrated effort not to let things pile up in that area.

Put stray items back in their homes.

Pick up any items that have found their way to the floor or other spot where they don’t belong. For example, put throw pillows and afghans back on the couch in the living room. Hang that clean load of laundry that’s been taunting you from its basket in the bedroom. Put away those beauty products that are cluttering up the bathroom counter.

Get rid of one thing (or a set of things).

Unless you’re a true minimalist, there’s probably at least one thing you can get rid of in any given room. Maybe it’s a broken piece of furniture that you’re holding onto just because it’s there. Maybe it’s a few articles of clothing or shoes that will free up some space in your closet. Maybe it’s those old, chipped dishes you’ve had since college. Sell, donate, or trash something that you don’t really need. It might even spark a decluttering streak.

Take notes.

Make a list of things that need to be done that you don’t have time for at the moment. This could anything from having a chair fixed, touching up paint, mending a hole in the living room curtains, or fixing that cracked tile in the bathroom. Anything you’ve been putting off should go on the list.

Spot clean.

Until you have time to do a deeper clean, do a quick spot clean. Dust surfaces and quickly vacuum the living room. Put away clean dishes in the kitchen and toss any stray dirty ones in the dishwasher. Wipe down the sink, counter, and mirror in the bathroom. Simply bringing a little bit of sparkle to the room with a quick surface clean can be both relaxing and motivating.

The Pros and Cons of Beachfront Living

Owning a beach house is a dream many people have in common. How nice would it be to wake up to the sound of waves crashing on the shore and drink a cup of coffee on your porch as you watch the sun sparkle on the ocean? While beachfront living might sound like a fantasy, it is an attainable dream for some. Like lots of things in life, though, it has its drawbacks. Here are some pros and cons to consider when deciding whether or not to buy your dream beachfront property.

PROS

You live where people pay to visit. Simply living in Charleston means spending every day and night in a vacation destination. Living on the beach? Even better. People pay big bucks to visit Charleston, especially to stay right on the beach. But you get to live there, and it can feel like a vacation every day. Even if you’re not really on perpetual vacation, you’re a lot closer than most people!

You don’t even have to leave home to do sunrise yoga on the beach or go for an afternoon swim without. There’s no need to pack the car, find parking, or plan your beach day around traffic patterns. Plant your toes in the sand with a few steps outside your back door! Beautiful sunrises await you every morning, and ocean breezes greet you every evening.

There’s always something to do! Go for a walk and hunt for seashells. Spend the day surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, or just playing in the sand with the kids. Keep an eye out for dolphins. Sit on the deck with a drink and a good book. There’s no “I’m bored” at the beach!

Open the windows and take advantage of those oceanside breezes. Consider those cool ocean breezes an asset. Opening windows on both side of the house can encourage a cross-breeze and help keep your cooling costs down in the warmer months.

The value of your home is higher than similar homes that aren’t on the water. A home that’s identical to yours but isn’t on the water doesn’t have as much value as yours. Since oceanfront land often comes at a premium, homes on the beach tend to retain value longer.

Need supplemental income? You’ve got the perfect earner. If you like to travel or just need a few extra bucks, renting out your beach house should be pretty easy. Homes on the beach stay booked in the spring and summer, and sometimes into the fall months. Take advantage of the high number of tourists during these times and rent out your home to vacationers. You could very well make enough to cover your mortgage payment for a while without much effort.

 

CONS

There will be sand in your house. Like…everywhere. No matter how much you sweep and/or vacuum. No matter if you have an outdoor shower and numerous outdoor spots for people to knock the sand off before they come in. Living at the beach means being okay with a certain amount of sand inside.

Salty air and sand can take its toll on your home’s exterior, your car, and other outdoor equipment. Salty sea air combined with humidity and wind can wreak havoc on your stuff. You’ll definitely need to keep up with exterior maintenance, more so than people who live farther away from the water. Car maintenance is a huge factor too. Consult with your mechanic to come up with the best plan for protecting your car from salt, sand, and general dampness.

Tourist season can be pretty annoying. Summer is obviously the high season at the beach, and it can get kind of irritating for people who live here year-round. You’ll have to deal with parking at the edge of your lawn, blocking your driveway, and trying to cut through your property to get to the beach. It’s all part and parcel of oceanside living. (There’s actually an easy fix for this one, though! Rent out your home during the summer, make some extra money, and go be a tourist somewhere else.)

Insurance policies can be pretty steep. Hurricanes and other tumultuous weather, rising sea levels, and beach erosion are very real threats in Charleston. Because of this, insurance companies charge a lot more for beachfront properties than other similar properties in the area. You’ll need to make sure that your mortgage broker factors this in when helping you decide on affordability. Be realistic about the fact that damage due to weather and the elements are more likely.

You’ll have lots of people wanting to visit. This could actually be a pro or a con, depending on you (and your friends and family). Owning a beach house is like owning a boat—you’ll suddenly have a lot of close friends you didn’t know you had. If you like having lots of visitors, it won’t be a problem for you. But if you like your solitude and don’t like to play host or hostess, it could be a problem.

There you have it. In order to decide whether or not beachfront living is a good idea—or if it’s even an attainable goal—you have a good amount of thinking to do. Look at the pros; look at the cons; and decide which side outweighs the other for you and you alone.

Friday Five // April 13th, 2018

It’s time once again for the Friday Five, our weekly roundup of five fun events happening in the Lowcountry throughout the coming weekend. Have some technicolor fun at The Joe, visit with mermaids and pirates, watch teams try to pull—yes, pull—a fighter jet across an aircraft carrier, and more. Whatever you choose to do this weekend, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wish you a safe and happy weekend! Get out there and play!

This weekend marks your last chance to see the Weeki Wachee Mermaids and pirates at the South Carolina Aquarium. These underwater mermaid performers never fail to fascinate guests with choreographed routines to music. As a special addition this year, there will also be special dives featuring pirates! Mermaids will be available for photo opportunities, and guests can also participate in mermaid and pirate activities and interactive education stations throughout the aquarium. Check the aquarium’s website for performance times. Shows are included with admission.

Help raise money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Charleston by spectating or participating in the RMHC Charleston Plane Pull on Saturday from 12-4pm. Teams of ten will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to try their hand at pulling a fighter jet atop the U.S.S. Yorktown’s flight deck. Teams will compete for the fastest time at pulling the F-18 Hornet, which weighs about 18,000 pounds, over fifty feet. Proceeds from this event (with a minimum of $2,500 raised per team) benefit families staying at Charleston’s own Ronald McDonald House.

Head out to the Joe Saturday for Riverdogs baseball and Joseph P. Riley and the Amazing Technicolor Ballpark! Presented by NASH and Fox 24, the most colorful night of the year will feature a park-wide color powder celebration, food specials like tie-dye grilled cheeses and rainbow sugar funnel cakes, a kids’ coloring station, a painting area, and more.

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens will host a Mad Hatter Tea Party on Saturday from 11am until 3pm. The horticultural maze area will be turned into a wonderland of entertainment that includes a giant chess set, flamingo croquet, face painting, photo booth, games, refreshments, and more. There will be a costume contest at 1pm, where prizes will be given in categories of children ages 3 and under, ages 4-6, ages 7 and up, and family or group costumes. Participation in the tea party requires a $5 wristband in addition to garden admission.

Runners and pet lovers will gather on Sunday at James Island County Park for the first annual Race for the Paws 5K, benefitting Pet Helpers. 100% of the proceeds from this event will benefit Pet Helpers, which is celebrating forty years as a no kill shelter. The event is $40 per runner and $10 per dog. There will be overall winners and age group winners, tech shirts for runners and bandanas for dogs, food trucks, and more. Dogs are welcome but must be leashed during the run and in the park grounds.  

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