Well, not literally…I am not necessarily advocating that everyone ditches their current abode and goes out and buys a new home – unless you are already planning on it!
I am suggesting that as we bring in a new year, it’s a great time to bring a few new routines, products and features into our homes to create a new, healthy, vibrant environment in which to enjoy life.
Who doesn’t relish the satisfaction of coming home after along day of work and relaxing in their welcoming home? When you feel assured you are keeping your home as healthy as possible, it makes the comfort of home doubly inviting.
I like to think of five areas of our home living where we can make simple changes and be quickly rewarded with extra cash in our wallets, a safer and more refreshing indoor atmosphere, better physical health, a reduced impact on the environment, and a flourishing outdoor haven. Here they are.
Progress gets made, in any effort worthwhile, one simple step at a time. So to start you off on your 2018 healthy home journey, try these easy-to-adopt tips in each category:
- Adjust your thermostat. For every 1 degree you lower your heating thermostat set point over 24 hours, your heating expense reduces by 3%. Same idea goes for AC.
- Save money and water by cutting back your shower time to 5 minutes a day – for a family of four, you’ll save ~4,500 gallons of water and all that energy to heat it.
- Inspect and seal for air leaks around windows and doors. You know you have a problem when a cigarette or grill lighter gets extinguished near the edge of the window or door frame.
- Swap out detergents, cleaners, and beauty products that contain harmful ingredients. Most all conventional brands fall into this category. Download the Think Dirty and EWG Healthy Living apps to check out how the stuff in your cabinets rates (maybe lots of 8’s & 9’s). Replace with plant-based, fragrance free, non-toxic alternatives like this one.
- Ventilate your house daily to air out any lingering volatile organic compounds that off-gas from furniture, mattresses, carpeting, cabinetry. Circulating fresh air dilutes and reduces these chemicals inside the home.
- Follow EWG’s Dirty Dozen & Clean 15 Guide to know when organic is the critical choice for fruit & veggies.
- Labels are not all the same – “Natural” means little; “Non-GMO”, “Certified Organic”, and Pasture-Raised” are the way to go. Moms Across America and the Non-GMO Project are two of many terrific resources to learn more and get involved.
- Shop only with reusable bags – keep thousands of plastic bags out of the system (and rivers & oceans) each year. If you are intrigued about the extent of plastic’s presence in our waters and want to be buoyed by hope for the oceans’ future, check out The Plastic Ocean on Netflix.
- Invest in stainless steel bottles, a quality filtered water pitcher (capturing VOC’s and heavy metals) or kitchen sink filter, and drop the plastic bottled water habit. Trading out bottled water saves your family from BPA exposure and if you’re buying a case a week, keeps hundreds of dollars in your pocket.
- Compost plant-based food scraps & yard debris; this alone reduces the average American family’s annual waste by a whopping 25%.
- Watch the weather in the summer months & water your lawn ONLY when needed; water every other day nearly doubles your annual water use.
- Plant organic vegetables – in beds or pots – for ultra-local fresh herbs and produce. With spring on its way, it’s a perfect time to plan out your garden.
- Ban harmful weed killers from your yard. These carcinogenic chemicals get absorbed by children and pets too, causing way more harm than a crabgrass outbreak in the lawn. Choose OMRI-rated organic herbicides, found in most hardware stores, for stubborn weeds. Depend on a lawn-care company? Switch to an organic product-based outfit, like Natural Lawn of America.
Once you have conquered these couple of steps, celebrate! With your newfound enthusiasm, stay connected with Greener Cleaner LIVING as we journey to make even more healthy home improvements together!