Technology, home entertainment and the cost of transport has us spending more time at home offering the perfect reason to turn it into a place we love. Do this with eco principles in mind and not only will you end up with a toxin free harmonious sanctuary but you will also be contributing to saving our precious resources.
Whether its time for a complete change, (you might have had a break up and need new energy), or you feel like a good revamp, start with an edit of everything you have and apply the principles of re-use, recycle and reduce.
Before you go to the extreme of throwing/giving everything away, see if there is anything you can up-cycle. Painting a grotty table a different colour can give it a new lease on life. Look for toxin free eco friendly paints. Recover a sofa or chair, do it with organic cotton upholstery fabric. Paint an old suitcase, mount it on the wall and use it to store towels and linen. Use an old chest of drawers in the garden, open each successive drawer a little further than the one above fill them with soil and grow plants.
Have a vision
Redecorating can have a profound effect on your wellbeing. Visualise exactly what type of space you want to create, find references in magazines and collect them in a file. Bear in mind that an all-white beautiful space may look appealing in a magazine but might be too sterile for your personality. Don’t forget to visualise yourself in the space. See if your space can be transformed with a small adaptation. Make a lounge cosier with some throws or a giant floor cushion. Accent a boring wall with an interesting art piece. Paint one wall a different colour. Change from curtains to blinds. Assess what is needed and start with one area at a time.
Clear some space
Clutter is the worst form of distraction and creates heavy energy. Someone I know put every item in their house on gumtree, got rid of it all and started with a completely clean slate. Getting rid of unnecessary items creates a wonderful feeling of lightness that can be extremely liberating. Less stuff means less to clean, worry about, repair and trip over. Give to charity, sell or take unwanted goods to recycling centres.
Make it functional
Make it functional by analysing what you like to do in your home. If exercise is one of your main pursuits you may want to create a home gym, if entertaining does it for you, invest in a large dining table and comfortable loungey spaces. If you work from home, section off a dedicated work space. If your house is noisy and you value quiet, double up a wall or sound proof a room for some peace. If nature is your thing, invite the outside in with a huge double sliding door.
Certain easy-care plants like Spekboom have carbon converting properties that naturally help remove indoor air pollutants like formaldehyde and benzene. Create some interesting plant holders with old baskets, pots or dishes and fill them with indoor plants.
ONE NIGHT A WEEK
Resolve to be electricity free one night a week. Slow cook food throughout the day in a solar oven so you don’t have to use the stove, switch off all the lights and use candles instead. Read poetry or tell stories instead of watching television.
Turn off the geyser. Depending on what everyone’s routine is you can probably turn your geyser off when everyone leaves for work or school. You need only switch it on half an hour before bath time in the morning and again half an hour before ablutions at night. Most dishwashers and washing machines heat their own water and if you need a small amount of hot water in between times, just boil the kettle. Wrap an insulation blanket around the geyser and save up to 9%. Lower the geyser temperature, even 3 degrees makes a difference. You can get a timer to switch it off automatically.
Switch off at the plug. That means TV, cell phone chargers, microwaves, computers. Do a quick tour before bed and just trip every switch or you can do it at the mains if you know which main switch relates to which set of plugs. Dimmer switches and energy saving globes are also a good investment.
While waiting for hot water to come through, collect the cold running water and use it to fill the kettle, dog’s bowl or water house plants. Use less water when you flush by putting a bottle filled with water in the cistern, this will displace water so it will need less to refill. If you aren’t using it, don’t run it. It’s such a habit to keep the tap running while brushing teeth, washing lettuce etc. Make an effort to switch those habits. Collect your own water - install a tank and save rainwater from the gutters to water the garden, clean the car or use in the house. Ask your plumber to re-route bath and shower water to the garden (remember to use bio-degradable soaps)
WASH & DRY
Never use the dryer when sunshine can do the job. Hang clothes outside, why waste a free natural resource. Wash clothing on a lower temperature to save on heating water. Keep an extra wash basket in the bathroom for clothing that just needs to be repacked or re-hung. A t-shirt worn for half an hour doesn’t need to get washed. Hang clothing neatly so you don’t have to iron.