One big lesson I have learned through minimalism and starting a homestead is that living environmentally friendly needs to be a priority. The Earth is a precious resource that keeps us all alive and nourished, but it is also something we take for granted. Many think that they cannot make a difference, and that simply is not the case.
With small changes, big impacts are made. Just think of how the internet has evolved over the years. I remember AOL being my internet connection and waiting 15-20 minutes for webpages to load. Now they load within a few seconds and are no longer tied to your phone line [at least not how they were way back in the 90s]. The internet is just one piece of technology that has evolved over the years and transformed the way we connect.
Transforming our homes into a more environmentally friendly space can have the same effect. The best part is that, you will reap rewards for doing so, such as saving money, living a better quality of life, and learning valuable skills that we have started to take for granted.
Together, Arhaus and I created a pretty cool infographic that I think you will love! As I looked into their company more, I knew they were created with a lot of the same values I cherish. They are a furniture company that uses all natural and organic materials for each piece they handcraft. They have something for everyone. Whether you want a traditional sofa or a fancy chandelier.
Please note that I am not sponsored in any way to mention them to you, but if you are looking to add environmentally friendly pieces into your home, this is a company worth looking into for those pieces.
How to be more Environmentally Friendly in Your Home
1// Swap single use items for better options
- Paper towels for cloth napkins
- Cotton pads/balls for cotton rounds
- Plastic straws for stainless/metal straws
- Water bottles for reusable bottles
Each of these swaps not only save you money, but they reduce the waste you send to the landfill. Products that end up in the landfill do not decompose naturally, as they were intended. In fact, plastic does not break down for many decades. I have personally made all of these swaps, and have never once regretted it.
2// More Energy Efficient
- Swap out thin curtains for thicker or even room darkening curtains
- Swap out light incandescent bulbs for Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs
- Replace old glass windows with energy efficient windows
- Replace air filters every month
- Be purposeful with your laundry and only wash loads once
- Hang clothes to dry, instead of using your dryer all of the time
Each of these tips are also money savers. They also require less work on your home to be energy efficient, which in turn helps appliances last longer and reduces the amount of energy your home pulls from the grid.
3// Renew and mend before replacing
- Mend clothes with holes or buttons missing
- Repair broken pieces of furniture
- Freshen something old and tired with a new coat of paint
- Find a new use for something that no longer works in its current state
Tossing things out just because they have a hole in them or are missing a button is something we all have probably done. However, if repairing them gives them new life that will allow you to continue wearing it, why not go the extra mile? Same with broken furniture. What if a simple fix is all it needs? What if a new coat of paint will give it a new purpose and life?
For things that you cannot mend or repair, such as holy shirts that you do not want your husband going out in public wearing, cut them up into rags to use for cleaning or to rub stain on a pieces of furniture. Maybe that basket does not work for gathering vegetables from the garden, but it makes an excellent catch all basket. Get creative!
4// Swap conventional products for environmentally friendly products
- Swap harmful cleaning products with non-toxic cleaners
- Use vinegar and water for cleaning
- Swap your laundry detergent for a plant-based one
- Use wool dryer balls in lieu of dryer sheets
- Use baking soda for the hard to clean jobs in lieu of harmful chemical products
- Find furniture that uses natural fibers to limit your family’s contact with harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
The environment soaks up all of these harmful chemicals that have the potential to pollute the Earth. They also harm you physically when breathing in while cleaning or soaking up through your skin. By switching to all natural products, you do not have to fear the effects, nor will you be harming the environment. I will suggest for you to do some research, because there are a TON of products that seem all-natural that really are not.
Related Post: Creating a Chemical-Free Home
5// Random Tips
- Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth
- Turn off lights when you are not in the room
- Keep your home a little cooler than you normally would and cozy up with a blanket
- Unplug unused appliances
- Purchase things that are not packaged in plastic, if possible
- Recycle properly
- Compost food scraps and paper products
I could continue, but I think you see how simple it is to swap things or habits to make your home more environmentally friendly. The infographic below shares a few more tips that I did not cover within this post. If you have any questions or tips you would like to share, please do so below in the comments!
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