By guest blogger, Jala Smith-Huys (owner of Seek & Swoon)
It’s hard to turn on the news lately without hearing about climate change and feeling guilty that we’re not doing enough to prevent the effects of global warming from destroying the planet. Just think about that for a minute…we have all contributed to something that’s completely preventable.
While difficult (or nearly impossible) to fix the damage that’s already been done to Earth, we can make positive changes going forward that, collectively, add up. From food, to personal care products, to transportation, steps towards living a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle are manageable.
Did you know that, beyond what's in your fridge or in you bathroom cupboard, almost everything else in your home can be sourced with sustainability in mind? We have 13 tips that will help guide you to creating a beautiful, cozy home while supporting the health of the planet (and your family) at the same time.
1. Plants, plants, plants
Plants help clean the air and are known to boost mood, productivity, concentration and creativity while reducing stress, fatigue, and colds. Cut back on water usage by choosing low water plants like succulents, air plants and cacti. You can also propagate new plants from cuttings of your existing greenery.
2. Soy candles
Soy burns longer and cleaner (reducing indoor pollution) than paraffin and it’s a natural, renewable resource. Soy wax is biodegradable and cleans up with soap and water. And make sure to choose candles with pure essential oils as well!
3. Eco-friendly paint
Choose no or low VOC (volatile organic compounds, i.e. toxic gases) paints. They usually cost more, but your health is worth it. Another option is to consider is milk paint, clay paint or vegetable-based paints.
4. Air quality
Encourage good airflow in your home by making sure air and furnace filters are cleaned or changed out regularly.
5. Window treatments
Pay attention to the usage of window treatments for energy efficiency. Keep west rooms cool in the afternoon and welcome in east and south light during the winter.
6. Hard surfaces
Choose sustainable flooring such as cork or Marmoleum and PaperStone or recycled glass for countertops.
Instead of buying new cabinets when you get bored of your current ones, just reuse them. Add or take away cabinet details, change out hardware or paint them for a new look.
Repurpose furniture from another room. Need storage for toys in the playroom? Use an old sideboard that’s been sitting in storage or is just collecting dust in the dining room.
Instead of buying new things, shop for homegoods at thrift shops and yard sales. You can also find treasures in your neighborhood Facebook Buy Nothing Group. On that note, before throwing something in the trash, offer up or donate your items for someone else to treasure.
10. Shop small
We get it, Target is hard to resist, but you might be surprised what you find from small makers and designers at local boutiques or on Etsy. Support families by shopping small. Your money goes right back into your local economy.
Trust your own handiwork. From macramé plant hangers to blanket ladders to pillows, get creative and make something you can be proud of to display in your home.
We’re all guilty of picking up things we don’t need because the deal is too good to pass up, or because that perfect something is just screaming our name. However, those perfect somethings often never get used and just create cluttered rooms. Instead, measure your space, plan out where you want things to go, and only buy what will fit.
Buy from companies that offer sustainable, fair trade, renewable, recycled, natural, organic, earth-friendly products. But be cautious about getting sucked in by all of those fancy words. Dig a bit deeper. For many of those terms, no one is holding brands accountable for making those claims. This means a maker or manufacturer can stretch the truth without penalties. Make sure you know what you’re really buying.
What are we missing? We’d love your tips, too!
Planning: Cozy~In~Love Spaces Interior Design, photo Elizabeth Hite Photography
Propagation: Urban Oreganics
Bedroom #1: @roostflourishroam
Bedroom #2: @fcollective, photo Three Gems Creative