Tip: Create a healthy home from the inside out.
"My husband and I are merry and busy with our five children, so a healthy home is a happy home. We eat supper together (schedules permitting) in the dining room every evening and make time to allow each person to discuss their day. We buy organic fruits and veggies to eliminate pesticide exposure.
We have a tap water purifier so we can drink lots of clean, healthy water. Soap pumps are at each bathroom and kitchen sink to keep hands clean and germ free. We have boxes of soft tissues and hand sanitizer strategically placed around the house to help stifle the sniffles. 'Hot spots' around our home are wiped down daily to zap away germs. We also try to dust at least twice a week and change filters monthly!"
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Tip: Create clean air and manage energy use.
"We use air cleaners that do not require filters to be replaced, and plants like Spider plants that filter pollutants to keep the air in the house free of pollutants. We have also installed an "on demand" water heater as well as changing out most all of our lights to energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs."
Tip: Get rid of those germs.
"Homes (like people) need fresh air, sunshine, and water to grow strong and healthy. About once a week, turn off the heat or air conditioning and open all the doors and windows (provided there are screens on them to let the fresh air and sunshine in.) Use a clean cloth with Lysol on it and wash handles, telephone mouthpieces, computer keyboards, or anything people touch frequently. Gets rid of all those nasty germs of a closed-up house."
Tip: Invest in timeless style.
"I try to do more with less, so I limit the amount of single-occasion items to buy and store. I invest in seasonless, classic items that can be used year-round. Many of my favorite decorative pieces are solid-colored items, like amber gold glass or crystal dishes or red ribbons, that I can use with different contents for different holidays.
For everyday use and casual party ware, I love solid white plastic trays and buckets. I can pair them easily with a color of my children's choosing for birthday parties."
Tip: It's the little things that matter.
"My family and I make a conscious effort every day to be greener. We use cloth towels instead of paper towels, run the dishwasher only every 2 to 3 days (and only when it's full,) open windows instead of running the air conditioning, and more. Perhaps the most unique is that we buy frozen concentrated juices instead of bottled juice to reduce packaging waste. "
• 30 Simple Ways To Go Green
• Read Jennae's blog, GreenYourDecor.com
Tip: Pick low-water plants.
"Conserve water in your yard by replacing some of the lawn with gardens of low-water plants. Contact local extension services offices for information on plants tested for the conditions of your area/yard (light, moisture, temperature) and that require little water.
Another lawn-replacement idea is to save money at the grocery store and plant your own food/vegetable garden. After harvesting for yourself, give excess produce to a local foodbank so others can enjoy fresh, healthy meals as well. Check out local 'Plant-a-Row' programs in your area."
Tip: Use vinegar as a multipurpose house cleaner.
"I use lots of vinegar! For cleaning windows, put it in bath water (it's good for the skin!) to help with soap buildup, in the rinse cycle for laundry to eliminate fabric softener, a very small amount in the cat's water to keep fleas away, and also use it instead of Jet Dry in the dishwasher -- it leaves no streaks! I have a 2-year-old in the house who puts everything in his mouth, this way he can’t get sick from soaps or cleaners. You only need on gallone bottle a month to do all these things; it creates less waste and can be recycled!"
Tip: Find a second use for everything.
"Nothing goes to waste in our home. I have taught my five children to recycle and reuse. Egg shells, fruit peels, and coffee grounds all make wonderful fertilizers for gardens. The cans and plastic containers they come in are also reused. Aluminum cans become 'mini greenhouses' for our outdoor plants. Or, we paint them and fill with treats for gifts. Plastic milk jugs are cut, decorated, and hung as bird feeders. Newspaper is used to clean windows. Bread bags are crocheted into durable throw rugs. Our home and environment is healthier due to our family's dedication to keeping our environment greener!"
Tip: Get rid of that moldy carpet and find healthier flooring.
"One of the healthiest things my husband and I have accomplished in our home was to remove the old carpet from the main living areas of the house. Because we didn’t have enough money for wood floors, we have stained and sealed the concrete (ourselves). It limits the dust and mold that can build up under carpet, and it looks fabulous! We also compost, recycle, use low-flow showerheads, and I have actually found the Method brand products at Target and love them!"
Tip: Use low-VOC paint for a healthy future.
"When choosing a new paint color, it's always better to choose a paint with low VOCs. I recently learned that it's not just the dry time that's important for paint. Years after, the paint still can release toxins into the air of your home. Buying paint with zero or low Volatile Organic Compounds is a simple step that gives back to you and your family for years. The kitchen is another place where there are plenty of opportunities to create a healthy home. There are dish detergents, cleansers, and hand soaps that use more natural ingredients and are less chemical based (Method is a favorite of mine). I also like to use more cleaning towels and sponges that can be washed to cut back on using too many paper products."