Health, happiness and hygge for you, your loved ones and the planet



So today is America Recycles Day (or at least it is if you’re reading this on the day it’s posted) and that set me thinking.  Recycling is good, but there is a reason it’s third on the list of sustainable options.  Reducing what we use in the first place and reusing resources as much as possible both have even less of an environmental footprint.  This then set me thinking about how I could actually take a major step forward in terms of environmental stability, minimalism and hygge, all of which mean a great deal to me - and save myself money.  I’m going to get to grips with household management.

Now, I’m going to put my hand up here and say that I have never been the type of person who enjoys housework in general.  Frankly, my standard approach has been to do what I need to do when I need to do it.  I do opt for environmentally-friendly cleaning products whenever possible, but I’m now becoming increasingly aware that many of them do carry an environmental footprint in the form of plastic containers and also, if I’m honest, I’m becoming increasingly confused and frustrated at the number of items I see being marketed as “environmentally-friendly”, when I’m far from convinced that they are.  So I’m going back to basics and my plan for the coming year is to start basing my cleaning around 6 key products: hot water, bicarbonate of soda, castile soap, vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil.  I’ll try to use other products only when I have to and when I do, I’ll obviously aim to look for environmentally-friendly options.  If there’s interest, I can start a page on my blog for links to relevant sites and any recipes/tips I find myself.

In addition to this, I’m going to aim to incorporate essential oils (I’m actually an aromatherapist) not only for their fragrance, but for their other practical benefits.

The reason, I’m making this a plan (as well as a commitment) is that I’ve realized that, to an extent at least, I’ve fallen into the trap of acting reactively instead of thinking ahead and that has made some of my choices less than optimal.  For example, as a rule, I hate most forms of shopping and, in particular, clothes shopping, so my natural instinct is just to get it done as quickly as possible as and when I need new clothes.  I now realize, however, that many clothes made today need to be washed at lower temperatures, which is why we end up relying on chemicals to clean them rather than the power of hot water (which really is the universal cleanser), hence I need to think and plan ahead to ensure that I’m making the right buying choices up front so that I minimize my environmental impact and maximize the hygge in my home later down the line.

I’ve also realized that I need to get on with my decluttering, which, in all honesty, has rather slipped by the way of late.  My energy levels seem to drop a lot in winter, so I’m now taking echinacea as an all-round pick-me-up.  I know in my head that if I get on with this, I’ll have more space, less clutter and less to clean, I just need to summon up the energy to tackle it!  I also know that once the clutter is gone, or even as the clutter goes, I need to become much more organized about how I buy and store my household items in general, particularly my food.  If I can get this sorted, which I’m sure I can if I put my mind to it, my cupboards and fridge will be tidier, managing meals will be less effort and cleaning storage areas will be easier.

Here’s the last part of what I’ve realized and maybe it’s the most important.  I need to make this fun for myself and I need to teach myself to see cleaning not as a chore but as a fundamental part of living a positive life which, for me, ultimately boils down to a healthy mind, a healthy body and a healthy environment both in the home and in general.  So, even though my minimalist leanings mean that I don’t usually buy stuff unless I really need it, I have decided that I am going to look for ways to make cleaning my fun by using items which bring me joy and enhance my sense of hygge.  I plan to buy a stylish cleaning caddy and stock it with attractive (and functional) containers.  Because I’m planning on using natural cleaners whenever possible, I don’t have to worry about people or pets accidentally poisoning themselves with my cleaning products.  I’m going to treat myself to a pair of high-quality rubber gloves and attractive, reusable cleaning tools such as brushes.  I’m also going to plan ahead so that I give myself the time to let these products do their work without me feeling rushed into using chemical cleaners.

In short, I’m going to try to wean myself off recycling and focus much more on reducing the plastic and chemicals (mostly plastic), I still bring into my home and in so doing, I hope that I’ll minimize my environmental footprint and improve the atmosphere of hygge I try to create in my home.

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