Going Green Starts at Home 4

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="300"]Space-filling model of a part of a PVC chain Space-filling model of a part of a PVC chain[/caption] Did you know that the EPA not only considers indoor air to be much more polluted than outdoor air, but it is one of the top 5 human health concerns? It is no wonder when you consider that most homes contain toxin soaked carpeting, formaldehyde soaked particleboard, toxic household cleaning supplies, PVC, offgassing, dry cleaning, plastics and much more. If it was manufactured in a lab, odds are it is not good for you or your family. The short and long term dangers are compounded if you have children or pets. The good news is that it is not terribly difficult or expensive to start going green at home. Gaiam has a nice article called 5 Easy and Cheap Ways to Green Your Home and the list includes: 1. Take your shoes off at the door to avoid tracking in lead, pesticides and other contaminants. The good news is, your home will stay much cleaner too. 2. Get rid of vinyl (PVC) which is commonly found in shower curtains, kids toys and backpacks. Look for the #3 or letters PVC. Why get rid of it?
"PVC frequently contains notorious phthalates to make it soft. According to the Children's Health Environmental Coalition, these phthalates are known to cause liver and kidney damage, endocrine disruption, reproductive system damage and, possibly, cancer, and they can easily leach out of PVC. And finally, harder PVC often contains lead and cadmium, two heavy metals that have also been linked to a host of health issues, including cancers." Gaiam.com
3. Switch to green cleaners because traditional household cleaners turn your indoor air and surfaces into toxic hazards. There are many green cleaners on the market today and they are a step in the right direction but making your own cleaners with vinegar, baking soda and salt is the most healthy, inexpensive, non-toxic and earth friendly way to clean your home. 4. Use indoor plants. They look great, are positive feng shui and yes they absorb toxins from the air. The best plants for toxic absorption are ficus, spider plants and English ivy. 5. Open your windows even if it is for a few minutes a day and yes, even in the winter. Even adding a little fresh air to the mix will help dilute the toxins in your household air.
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Video: Introduction to Feng Shui 2

This is a basic video introduction to feng shui and covers the history and basics of feng shui such as the use of colors and the bagua map.

Five Easy Tips for Creating a Natural Home 1

Creating a Natural Homeby Alden Pennington A healthy home is your refuge. It's the place where you go to relax and be with your family. The place where you feel safe. However, your home may also be the place that most affects your health in a negative way. The following list of tips will help you get started in creating a natural home that continues to be your haven for a healthier and greener lifestyle. Keep your Indoor Air Clean The quality of the air in your home is often more polluted than the air outside. In order to create a healthy home environment, clean up your indoor air by making sure you have good ventilation. Try to keep your windows open whenever the weather permits. It is also a good idea to maintain a good humidity level by getting a quality humidifier for the winter and a dehumidifier for the summer. Use Non Toxic Cleaning Products Check your cleaning products and pesticides for toxic ingredients. You may notice a variety of chemicals and warning labels all over each can. If you must use chemicals in your home, keep it well ventilated and ensure you are using them to the manufactures specification. The better choice: Use natural cleaning products that are chemical free. You may find that normal household products like baking soda and citrus juices clean as well or better that their chemical counterparts. Purify Your Water Did you know that tap water in many areas contains known cancer causing agents including chlorine and fluoride? Our water is our life source and should be taken seriously. Find an affordable water filtration system that cleans your drinking water at the very least. If you are really serious about creating a healthy home, purchasing a whole home filtration system would be ideal. Keep in mind that many chemicals found in water can transfer through the skin while showering or simply washing your hands, so be sure to plan for every application. Create a Feng Shui Home Design Set up your home in a fashion that allows you and your guests to feel more relaxed. Make sure to remove excess clutter and mess. Keep live plants all around for air purity and for a feeling of well being. Most importantly, set your home in a pattern of colors and decorations that suits your natural style, while being inviting for those guest you may have. You may be surprised by the health benefits of these simple changes. Your Green HomeGo Green with Energy Conservation The peace of mind that comes with conserving energy and preserving your bank account can never be underestimated. Turn down your thermostat and use ceiling fans in the summer and winter by reversing the blades. This can lower your energy bills by up to four percent! Pay attention to the appliances you buy and look for the best Energy Star ratings for optimum energy efficiency. Additional solutions can be as simple as sealing the cracks and openings around your windows, and changing the filter on your AC/Furnace per the manufacturer's specifications. About the Author: Alden Pennington is co-author of NaturalHealthLifestyles.com and has been a natural health enthusiast for many years. Alden graduated from the University of Kentucky and is currently a Human Resources Director with a keen focus on the company wide health and wellness program. http://www.NaturalHealthLifestyles.com Buy the Book: Your Green Home Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/cobalt/529108150/

Feng Shui Life - Declutter With A Yard Sale 2

by Laurie Raphael As you may already know, the first step to obtaining a feng shui life is to rid your home and yourself of all the stale and dead energy around you by getting rid of all the clutter. One really good way to do that is by having a yard sale. There are many great reasons for having a yard sale. Some people have yard sales before they move so they don't have to pack and ship belongings they aren't using. Sometimes they are updating the look of their home and sell their old belongings to make money and room for the new ones. Sometimes your children just grow like weeds and rapidly outgrow both their clothes and their toys. It could also simply be the desire to purge all those items you've held onto for so long, thinking you'd find a use for them but never did. No matter what your reason, having a yard sale is a relatively easy goal to achieve and requires just a few hours of preparation and a few more hours actually selling your wares. You'll reap both financial and emotional rewards from it. Getting rid of the clutter is your first step towards attaining a feng shui life. Decide on a date for your yard sale. Visit your local liquor store for boxes or use heavy duty garbage bags to put the items for your sale into. Start by surveying the items you have. When you are going through your house, you will need to be brutally honest with yourself. If you haven't used it, don't like it, don't see yourself using it or don't know of anyone personally who could benefit from it, then it's a yard sale item. Sort through every dresser and kitchen drawer, every clothes and linen closet, every cupboard and toy box you have in your house. Don't forget your basement, attic, pantry, entertainment center, buffet and outdoor tool shed as well. Get your family involved so that if an item belongs to one of them you won't be making the decision for them. Get their input before placing an item in your yard sale box. Regardless of the time it takes to sort through all your items, make the commitment to stick with it and remind yourself on a continual basis the monetary profit and emotional relief you'll feel once your clutter has been cleared from your home. Once the sale is over, make another commitment to yourself not to bring the unsold items back into your home. Make arrangements with your local charity thrift store to donate the items. Most will be happy to make arrangements to pick up large donations.Yard Sale If you don't have a local charity who will pick up the items just use my method and put a big "FREE" sign out at the end of the day. You will not believe how fast those items will disappear and it will save you a trip to the second hand store or from being tempted to bring the items back into the house. Once it's all said and done, you'll have a few extra dollars in your pocket, and can breathe an emotional sigh of relief that the clutter that's been weighing you down for so long has been purged from your home. Renew your commitment to remain organized and to combat the clutter on a continual basis. About the Author: Visit my Alternative Medicine website featuring Feng Shui life and Herbal Remedy Medicines, Chinese Herbal Medicine and much more: http://www.AlternativeMedicineBasics.com Buy the Book: Yard Sale [affiliate] Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/opticallyactive/81438260/

Eco-friendly Flooring Options That Will Wow You 37

If you're remodeling your home, or building your dream home from scratch (lucky you!), installing a brand new floor might be on your list. There are many flooring materials to choose from, each with different pros, cons, and looks. If you are trying to live green (make environmentally friendly remodeling choices), you may want to consider an eco-friendly flooring material. There are quite a few options out there, so let's take a look: Cork Flooring You're probably familiar with the cork you find stopping up wine bottles, of course, but you may never have walked on a cork floor. It's the same material, just formed into tiles or planks and stuck down on the sub-floor. Since it is lightweight, installation is fairly painless. Cork is considered eco-friendly because it's harvested from sustainable resources. It comes from the bark of the cork oak tree (which can be collected without harming the tree itself). Cork's unique look makes it a fun floor choice, but there are practical reasons for choosing it as well. It acts as an insulator, absorbing sound and softening impacts (for instance, if you lay cork in the kitchen, a dropped dish probably won't break). It's also an easier material to stand on for long periods than floors made from ceramic tiles, stone, etc. Reclaimed Hardwood Floors If you love the look of hardwoods (who doesn't?) but can't reconcile yourself to having trees cut down just so you can get a new living room floor, there may still be a way for you to get the floor of your dreams. Think reclaimed wood. Reclaimed hardwood floors are made with timbers recycled from old structures, such as dilapidated barns, schoolhouses, libraries, etc. There are a number of companies who buy the wood that would otherwise end up in a junkyard and refinish it to create planks suitable for residential floors. So basically you can a new hardwood floor without any new trees being cut down. If you're wondering if these reused boards are structurally sound, they are. In fact, many people tout them as superior to the planks made from today's trees. The wood used in these older buildings came from old-growth forests, from older first generation trees; on the other hand, today's hardwood floors are made from wood harvested from tree farms, where the trees never truly reach maturity before being cut down. Have a floor made from reclaimed wood and you'll be getting quality, character, and history in one swoop. Bamboo Flooring Bamboo is another flooring material that is catching on in popularity. It is considered eco-friendly because bamboo is a fast-growing grass, rather than a tree, and farms can grow a shoot to maturity in just a few years. Though bamboo is somewhat similar to hardwood floors, it has a distinct look, and some people prefer that uniqueness to hardwoods. It is a sturdy, durable material and will last just as long as wood. Though there aren't as many varieties as there are species of wood, different finishes can create different looks for you to choose from. The three flooring materials we have discussed--bamboo, hardwoods, and cork--are all considered eco-friendly. As an added bonus, they are all relatively easy to maintain. No vacuum cleaner required here! They are also good choices for allergy sufferers. With bamboo, hardwoods, and cork, there is no place for pet dander, pollens, mold, mildew, dust, etc. to hide. Compare this to the nooks and crannies you get with carpets, and you'll see why more and more people are choosing these other materials. by Ivan Cuxeva Jr About the Author: TC Thorn writes on many home improvement topics, such as wood flooring, bamboo floor cleaning, and kitchen floor ideas. Buy The New Flooring Idea Book [affiliate link] Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/jakerome/2096311515/