Living Spaces

“Organic buildings are the strength and lightness of the spiders’ spinning, buildings qualified by light, bred by native character to environment, married to the ground.”  – Frank Lloyd Wright

Our homes are our sanctuaries, but few realize just how toxic the average American household has become. For optimal health, your home must remain a place of nourishment, and that means being proactive and selective about the items you allow into your living space.

For everything that comes into your home, ask yourself this question: is this a safe product for me and my family? If not, choose another that is.

Here are my tips for keeping a healthy home:

Interiors

  • fill your residence with green plants that will generate oxygen and create a more vibrant atmosphere. Plants that are especially good for improving indoor air quality are the Areca palm, Lady Palm, Bamboo Palm, English Ivy, Boston Fern, and Peace Lily.
  • consider acquiring an air purifier
  • avoid mothballs and aerosols: they are carcinogenic
  • have your water checked for lead and other contaminants
  • test any paint older than 1975
  • use paints that have low or no VOC content
  • make your home shoe-free to stop many unwanted substances at your doorstep. This practice is common in many cultures and will also make cleaning easier. Remember, whatever you track into your house stays there, even if you can’t see it.

Kitchen

  • choose cleaning products that specifically state that they contain no toxic ingredients; the “all natural” label is simply not enough, and is rarely true. Better yet, make your own cleaning products using white vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice, liquid Castile soap, olive oil and essential oils like geranium, lavender and tea tree
  • use stainless steel pots and pans, and wooden cutting boards
  • consider alternatives to using a microwave oven

Bedroom

  • use an organic mattress so that you won’t breathe fumes from the flame retardants used in most mattresses while you sleep.
  • choose organic sheets produced without pesticides or herbicides
  • choose rugs and upholstery made from natural fibers such as cotton or hemp
  • avoid furniture that is marked stain resistant
  • remove electronic devices from the bedroom (computers, televisions, digital clocks) to avoid the excessive electromagnetic waves they radiate

Exteriors

What we take into our homes has a profound impact on the environment, nowhere more so than in the choices we make for our outdoor spaces.

  • recycle and compost: you will greatly reduce the amount of garbage you and family produce while generating services that benefit all
  • choose non-toxic swing sets & sandboxes
  • choose non-toxic garden hoses, which can contain lead
  • switch to safe alternatives to commercial fertilizers and pesticides for your lawn and garden
  • start a garden: even a small garden can be a magical place. Whether you grow flowers or vegetables, your garden will enrich your life on many levels. It will be beautiful to look at, satisfying to tend, and it will quite literally ground you and deepen your awareness for the life around you. A flower in the process of blooming, fading and dying serves as a reminder of impermanence. A fruit on the vine reminds of us life, and seeds embody new beginnings. You’ll find that nurturing a garden also nurtures your self.

We are also affected by the appearance of the spaces we live in. Maintain clutter-free, clean surfaces that you’ll want to come home to. The aesthetic of your home should instill peace and calm, allowing it to serve as your personal retreat.