Could Your Home Be Making You Sick

This post about getting paranoid and chucking everything out of the home to live in an environmental bubble. I’m rather relaxed in my living space even if there are a few specks of dust or I have not hovered for a day or 2. However, as society gets more and more specific about our living standards, we have to consider the most important of them all: our health. The ways we’re living currently might not be the most conducive to good health. Let’s take a real look at the risks and what we can do to battle them.

One of our stunning vintage tablecloths that was given to us.
My house is like a living museum, most items are vintage (including the dust!).

It’s in the air

Perhaps the most common health concern in any home is the problem of air quality. We don’t think about it as often as we should, given the rising rates of asthma and other breathing conditions. Poor air quality in the home can not only irritate sensitive lungs but also be the cause of dizziness, nausea, headaches and ear, nose and throat irritations.

We simply need to put more effort into purifying our air. Air conditioning is a great place to start. They create airflow, which channels in the fresh air and pushes out allergens from the air. But you have to be concerned about where dust gets clogged up, as well. The HVAC fixtures of the home need to be cleaned regularly.

I love to keep houseplants which are nature’s excellent way of cleaning our air. Houseplants absorb nasty particles in the air and carbon dioxide, and transform the air into a far more pure oxygen- through the process of photosynthesis. Easy house plants to keep in the home include the Spider Plant, Monstera Deliciosa  (Swiss Cheese Plant), Peace Lily and Aloe Vera. These are all rather hardy plants, and from my experience, all thrive on some kind of neglect!

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It’s in the water

As concern that’s perhaps just as common is the rule that unwanted moisture can play in the home. For instance, it’s essential to maintain your heating and air conditioning because of the dangers that can be caused by water droplets building in there. For the same reason, you need to make sure you’re not blocking up indoor plumbing so you can inspect for leaks more regularly. Damp and mould can lead to dangers, one being the dangerous legionnaires disease- contracted due to stagnant water. A dehumidifier can be great at extracting any excess moisture from a room as well and should be used often.

Getting any drips stopped will also save you a tonne of money too, in the long run. A steadily dripping tap, tank or shower head is not only a source of old standing water, but that is pennies added to your water bill that soon all add up.

It’s in the chemicals

It might seem counter-intuitive that the stuff we use to make the home a cleaner, healthier environment might be harming us, but it’s not unfounded. Scientific proof has caused bodies such as the Environmental Working Group to be a lot more cautious about household cleaning products. Compounds in said products like dye, ethanolamines, citrus oil and the like can lead to irritation of the eyes, breathing problems and more. When it’s possible, it’s a better choice to use natural or even homemade cleaning products instead. They might not have the same factory-made smell, but the do the same job at much less risk.

We’ve been working hard at trying to reduce the amount of chemicals we use in our house for a while now, and it’s rather shocking to see how many chemicals are needed to create a kitchen cleaning product, when hot water and white vinegar or lemon does just as good of a job… and can even smell better too!

It’s all in your head

One of the most widespread health concerns nowadays is stress. Just because it manifests mostly in your head doesn’t mean that it’s not real and it’s not dangerous. Besides the obvious ill-effects on your ability to enjoy life, it is also linked with poor sleep, physical stress, back pain and more. The home should be a place to put stress aside, so creating a relaxing space where you really can let loose and put away the worries of the world is essential. On the other hand, a cluttered home with little space to simply chill can compound that stress. We tried to halve all of what we own and the progress has been incredible. We still have a long way to go (and trust me, it’s hard with 3 kids and another on the way!) but the less we own, the less we have to clean, dust and manoeuvre around, reducing stress along the way!

We all deserve a home that we can rest in without fear that it’s causing us any ill health. A bit of maintenance from time to time, the right tech, and a few changes in habit can make that a reality.

Create Space In Your Crowded Home

We are currently a family of 5, soon to be 6. Once our baby has arrived in September, I will share a house with 4 kids under the age of 6. Toys, school books, clothes are found all over our home. We live in a 3 bed home… space is tight.

One of our stunning vintage tablecloths that was given to us.
One of our stunning vintage tablecloths that was given to us.

Something about having a large family means you often struggle to find space at home. This can be the kind of thing that soon becomes surprisingly stressful, and it is always worth knowing how you can make that situation better for yourself and everyone else at home. As it turns out, the creation of space in even the most cluttered and crowded of homes is not actually all that difficult. So long as you are prepared to follow a few basic rules, you will find that you can easily make your home as spacious as you need it to be.

Double Up

In all likelihood, there will be certain items around the home which you could probably easily double up on their usage. We are talking about those things which could easily serve more than one purpose. Finding what those are, and thinking of unique solutions for how you might be able to double up their usage, can be a profound first step towards creating a more spacious home.

Let’s look at the bathroom to begin with, a space which is often prone to feeling cramped. Even the smallest bathrooms can feel bigger by using items such as the shower baths found at www.drench.co.uk and other similar suppliers. Similarly, investing in the kind of storage space that can also be used as furniture can really make a huge difference here. I recently discovered that stacking plastic boxes in the airing cupboard, allowed me to keep bedding in an easy to reach, and organised manner.

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Find slim storage boxes to go under beds and make use of wall space with shelving. Think ‘up’ and you can easily double your storage space, thanks to your walls and ceilings. I have even seen people adapting bath panels with sliding doors, for storage under the bath!

Reduce Items

You will probably find that once you start to look around, your home is full of things you don’t entirely have use for. Many items are bought on impulse and never used. If you feel that this is true for your home, then it is worth thinking about what items you might be able to do away with.

Look at what furniture you have, particularly in the communal or living areas. Are there too many chairs or sofas? Getting rid of even one of these can make an immediate difference to how at home you feel, and how much space there appears to be in the living space. When you reduce the actual number of items in this way, you are physically changing the space for the better, creating a more relaxed and luxurious home for all.

I live from a minimalist wardrobe, and what clothes I don’t keep for the girls to hand-down to their sisters, I donate to my local nursery as spare clothes. I regularly go through cupboards and draws and anything that we haven’t used, worn or even thought about in the last 6 months, gets passed on to charity shops. I try not to bin anything that I think others could make use from.

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Play With Lighting

Any decent interior designer will tell you that it is all about the lighting- not that I actually have any experience in interior design! For the uninitiated, it can sometimes seem impossible that playing around with the lighting can make that much difference. But once you start to experiment with the lighting around your home, you will find that it is actually quite profound as a tool for creating the illusion or feeling of space. Using tips found at http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/creative-home-lightning-ideas/ can make a huge difference. Accessorise the space with many smaller lighting option, rather than one flat overhead light. Also consider facing them in many different angles, essentially creating pockets of space throughout the home. If you are able to do this in every major room, you might even feel that you have done enough to make your home feel considerably more spacious. If there is still more to be done, then one other thing you might do is use mirrors strategically placed to create something of an illusion of extra space.

But my home…

I quite often surprise people when they see my home. I do like to only hang onto to things I use and clothes that I wear. I don’t like piles of clutter. But, my home seems to feel very cluttered all of the time. It may be because we have so many people in such a small space, but as long as my floors are clear, I am genuinely quite happy. I collect antique furniture and my house somewhat resembles a living museum. It is a working home, and with working homes come with much lived-in mess. My house shall never be a show home. Our walls are filled with books, and the kids art work is stuck all over the kitchen… but it’s my version of happiness.

bookshelf