Not even April showers will be able to keep you down thanks to the arrival of this month's issue of Good to Be Home. Inside you’ll find inspiring home upgrade ideas, eco-friendly decor inspiration, and stress-free moving tips that will make this your most transformative month so far this year.
If you’re interested in updating your furniture and decor, be sure to check out the list of eco-friendly home brands. Investing in sustainable pieces for your home can save you money while reducing your carbon footprint.
Spring can be an exciting time but also stressful if you suffer from allergies. You can breathe easier in your home by following the enclosed guide for keeping pollen and other pesky allergens out of your home.
The season for spring-cleaning is here, and one of the biggest changes you can make is to your laundry routine. Read the simple tips for improving your laundry room, to make laundry day a breeze so you can enjoy all that spring has to offer.
Unfortunately, the moving process is often anything but a breeze. The stress of packing and planning can keep you from enjoying this important and exciting life event. Try the tips in this issue to keep yourself organized so you can move into your new home with positive energy.
May this month bring a sense of relaxation and renewal to your home. As always, it’s a pleasure to send you this magazine.
We often think about eco-friendly living in terms of swapping out our CFL light bulbs for LEDs, recycling our milk jugs, and bringing reusable bags to the grocery store. But when it comes to how we decorate our homes, it can be a little more challenging to draw the line between what’s good for the planet and what’s not.
Here is a list of home retailers that are making a difference with their environmentally friendly products and practices.
This home-goods company works with small-batch creators from around the world to produce environmentally responsible pieces for the home. Bloomist offers earth-friendly faux botanicals, garden accessories, natural textiles, furniture, and decor, and it will match your gift when you donate to Conservation International, which works to protect biodiversity in land and marine ecosystems.
This textile producer, which is headquartered in New Jersey and became the first Fair Trade Certified manufacturer of linens, uses only 100 percent organic, pesticide-free cotton for its bedding, towels, and other products. Boll & Branch ships its goods around the world by boat, which is estimated to have saved 21,252 metric tons of carbon emissions. The company’s packaging is made from 100 percent recycled paper.
This fair trade retailer, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, works with artisans worldwide to create its luxury collection of sustainably produced home accessories and furniture that is made from local materials and is ethically resourced. Its furnishings are available online and at its first brick-and-mortar store in New York City. Every item this luxury brand sells is handcrafted, hand-numbered, and sold only in limited quantities to ensure quality.
This California-based home textiles and apparel company uses 100 percent organic cotton to create its fabrics and ensures that its products are produced under safe and humane conditions. Coyuchi actively works to prevent textile waste from ending up in landfills through its 2nd Home Take Back program, in which consumers are given a prepaid shipping label to return used Coyuchi goods; consumers get a 15 percent discount on a subsequent order. These returned items are cleaned, repaired, and sold in Coyuchi’s 2nd Home Renewed line. Products that are severely damaged are upcycled or recycled.
This New York-based textile design studio utilizes eco-friendly resources, such as water-based pigment and sustainably sourced materials, to create rugs, wall coverings, fabrics, furnishings, and more. Everything Eskayel produces is made to order to eliminate waste and to enhance the quality of the company’s product offerings. The brand donates a percentage of its total sales to environmental organizations, such as Greenpeace International, Mission Blue, and Vital Actions.
Not every product sold by online retailer Etsy is eco-friendly or sustainable, but many items are. Etsy is a global marketplace for handmade furniture, home decor, gifts, and clothing made by independent crafters. In addition to new pieces, you can also buy vintage and gently used pieces on the website. You can find almost anything you could want for your home on Etsy, such as furniture, clocks, storage items, art, decorative pillows, rugs, and even firepits.
Bringing the global community a little bit closer together, Ten Thousand Villages partners with artisans from around the world and supports their business endeavors by providing the means and an outlet to sell their work. This fair trade pioneer prioritizes fair wages, safe working conditions, and the use of recycled materials. You can find homemade home accessories, crafts, gifts, and clothing in Ten Thousand Villages stores and on its website.
Based in Brooklyn, New York, Uncommon Goods is an online retailer selling handmade merchandise from around the world. The company features products made from reclaimed and recycled materials and doesn’t include animal products like leather, feathers, and fur. It offers a large selection of home decor, including pottery, lighting, bedding, and furniture for your home.
With a mission for preserving the rain forests of the world, artisan furniture maker Vermont Woods Studios uses wood sourced exclusively from well-managed North American forests. As part of its commitment to sustainability, the company has also planted thousands of trees in the Amazon and other forests.
Combining global design and modern sustainability, VivaTerra works with talented craftspeople from around the world to offer beautifully designed and eco-friendly home goods and clothing. This Virginia-based company encourages its partners to give back to the environment and their communities in its daily business practices.
More than 60 percent of the furniture sold by West Elm supports the retailer’s initiatives for sustainability. West Elm collaborates with small, American-based businesses and independent artisans from around the world. It supports fair trade and healthy working conditions for workers and strives to expand its use of materials with a low environmental impact. The brand also has FSC-certified furniture pieces made from wood sourced from responsibly managed forests.
Allergy season is here for most of the country, which means that the war on allergens once again takes place on two fronts: inside and outside. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to minimize the toll allergens can take on the comfort of your home.
You may not initially think of your feet as a source of allergy problems, but by walking out in nature, you may be literally walking allergens into your home.
Having a doormat outside your home will help catch dirt and debris you have carried with you, and a second mat inside acts as a backup. Utilizing this strategy can help to eliminate most of the debris tracked throughout your home.
It’s best to keep any shoes you wear during spring away from the rest of your home. Keep them in a mudroom, or store them on a rack in the garage. That way, nothing gets tracked into your house. To go the extra mile, be sure to clean your shoes more frequently.
Believe it or not, being intentional with the fabric in your home can make a difference in your allergies.
Curtains are hot spots for allergens, especially with windows often being open come spring. Wash your curtains as often as possible—or better yet, swap them out for blinds, which can be much easier to clean than fabric.
Likewise, upholstered furniture can be difficult to clean and tends to hold on to dirt and debris easily. It’s better to utilize furniture that will be less of a hassle to clean, such as leather. Can’t afford brand-new furniture? You could instead shop for allergen-blocking sofa slipcovers and mattress covers to breathe easier.
Everybody in your household, humans and animals alike, should partake in more frequent cleansing to wash away allergens.
If you have a four-legged friend in your home, odds are they’re even more excited to be out and about than you are. Unfortunately, their fur is an excellent allergen trap, which means they’re bringing allergens home with them. Be sure to bathe them regularly to combat this.
Yes, you know to do this; however, being intentional with your showers or baths can help. If you’re outdoors for any length of time, you’re bringing allergens inside with you. Regardless of whether you worked up a sweat, bathe after you get in, or at least before you go to sleep, so you don’t leave allergens on your furniture and bed.
Allergens are often invisible to the naked eye, but technology can even the playing field and make your home more comfortable.
If you have serious allergies that flare up in the spring, consider buying an air purifier, preferably one with a HEPA filter for maximum effectiveness, to remove pesky pollutants lingering in your home. This can be especially useful if you have pets.
Sure, most people like opening their windows and letting a refreshing spring breeze into their home. However, in doing so, you’re allowing allergens to stream in as well. Keep your windows closed as often as possible to prevent this. As a bonus, you’ll also prevent humidity from entering your home, which can cause mold.
Spring can be a time of joy but, if you suffer from allergies, also a time of struggle. Before you start experiencing itchy eyes, a runny nose, and sneezing, take control of your situation. You may not be able to eliminate your allergies, but by making a few adjustments to your home and lifestyle, you can lessen their impact and savor the season more.
While it may not get the same attention your kitchen and bathrooms receive, your laundry room plays a significant role in helping your household function from day to day. However, considering how much time you spend washing and drying your clothes, you may overlook updating this space. By adding some of these functional and appealing upgrades, laundry day can be less of a chore.
It’s helpful to have an area in your laundry room where you can hang delicate items to dry that can’t go in the dryer. You could install a wall-mounted laundry rack that folds down when you need it and can be folded back up against the wall once your items have dried. Another option is to add a retractable laundry line, which can be purchased for less than $20. With this type of clothesline, you mount the hardware that contains the line on one wall and the piece that receives and holds up the laundry line on another wall. When you have clothing to dry, simply pull out the line, hook it into the receptacle, and use clothespins to hang your items.
Once your laundry is washed and dried, you’ll need to fold and iron it. To help you efficiently complete these tasks, consider installing a fold-out ironing board or table instead of a standing table that may take up valuable floor space. A fold-out ironing station will take up minimal wall space and create a convenient spot to handle many of your laundry needs. Some fold-out ironing boards come with storage space perfect for keeping your iron, starch, and lint rollers handy. Other options include magnetic, heat-resistant ironing mats and tabletop ironing boards that can be placed on top of your washer or dryer when you need to iron.
If your laundry room lacks floor space, you can upgrade your storage capabilities by using wall space with shelving. Try adding open shelving above your washer and dryer for a helpful upgrade. You can organize your shelves by placing items for washing and drying, such as detergents, stain-removers, dryer sheets, and dryer balls, above your appliances so they’re easy to reach. You can also utilize the back of your laundry room door by hanging an over-the-door shoe organizer to contain things like clothespins and stain removal pens, or hooks to hold clothing that need to be ironed or mended. In addition, you can place laundry bins in existing cabinets to keep dirty and clean clothes separate without sacrificing a lot of space.
A hanging rod can be a multifunctional addition to assist you on laundry day. This device will allow you to store clothes you’ve ironed and hang delicate items that need to be air-dried. Best of all, you can complete this project for less than $50. However, make sure you choose a rod designed to hang clothing and verify that it can hold the item you plan to hang on it.
Another solution for a dark laundry room is upgrading the light fixtures. You may be able to switch the bulb out for a higher wattage, or you can change out the entire fixture. You can opt for stick-on lighting that is battery-operated or rechargeable. These lights come in many styles and can be installed easily. For example, small tap lights under cabinets or shelves can help highlight your work area while you are doing your laundry.
If your laundry room lacks windows, it may feel dark and dreary. However, you can help your space look more luminous with a new coat of paint. Choose a paint color like bright white, light gray, or light tan to make your laundry room appear brighter and more inviting. If you’re looking to liven up your laundry room even more, consider using decorative wallpaper.
Even a minor upgrade can make a big difference. By changing out the handles, knobs, and hinges of your cabinets or drawers, you can give your laundry room an immediate refresh. All you need to do is choose the hardware you like best, remove the cabinet doors and existing hardware, and add your new hardware. It can be a significant change for a small price—less than $20 depending on the hardware you choose.
If your laundry room has dated or worn flooring, you can easily give it a new look with inexpensive peel and stick tiles. You’ll find durable vinyl peel and stick tiles in a variety of colors and patterns, and the tile should last anywhere from five to twenty-five years, depending on the product you choose. Installing these tiles is an easy project, as they can be cut to size with a utility knife.
There are a lot of moving parts to consider when relocating your household. Whether it’s a move across town, the state, or the country, the process can lead to some frustrating situations. However, you can use the following tips to help simplify your move while saving time and money.
Preparation is key when you’re getting ready to move, so use these tips for an efficient moving day experience.
The first step in a successful move is creating a budget that includes your moving costs and any repair fees you expect to have in your new home. It’s essential not to overlook any hidden costs, such as extra packing supplies, pet boarding, and potential hotel stays. Don’t forget to include moving insurance in your budget to protect yourself if something gets lost or broken during transport. If you’re looking to save money on movers, compare rates for at least three companies to determine who offers the best price for your move. Also, you can try to schedule your move around peak periods, including the middle of the month and the middle of the week, for better rates.
If you’re trying to stick to a budget, call your local grocery stores for large shipping boxes, and use old shoeboxes for small items like papers and photos you want to keep. While supermarket freebies work for some things, you’ll want to have sturdy boxes for dishes and valuables. You may also want to purchase specialty inserts like dish dividers and glass kits to customize your moving boxes and save money on bubble wrap. Don’t forget to buy high-quality packing tape and tape guns to make packing faster and easier.
The weeks before you move are the perfect time to eliminate clutter from your home. You should sell, donate, or toss any items you no longer need or use. This can also be an excellent opportunity to host a yard sale to get rid of these belongings and make some extra money to help with your move. By removing these things now, you can keep costs low, whether you’re paying your moving company by the hour or by weight.
Have a dedicated spot for important information involved with your move, such as moving quotes, contracts, and receipts. Keeping this information together can alleviate stress when it comes time to review bills and contracts. This folder is also an excellent spot to keep a careful record of your shut-off and turn-on dates for your utilities and services, as well as the billing date for monthly insurance premiums. You’ll want to avoid paying for services and coverage for both homes concurrently.
When moving day arrives, these suggestions will help you pack, stay organized, and get ready for life in your new home.
Packing up your items is more than just throwing random things into boxes. Use these ideas to help keep items safe and organized:
The last thing you want is to start unpacking in your new home and have no clue how to get your television, stereo system, or computer up and running. Avoid this frustration by taking a quick snapshot of the cords on the back of your electronics to make setting up devices in your new home a breeze. You could also add color-coded labels to your electronics and cables to track which cords go with which electronic.
Tiny pieces can easily get lost during a move, so take time to tape any screws, bolts, and nuts directly to the furniture or appliances they belong to. You can place smaller hardware in a sandwich bag, label it, and attach the bag to the item.
Make use of any suitcases you have by using them as moving boxes. Placing books inside a suitcase can be a smart idea as their weight adds up quickly and may be too much for a standard box. You might also consider plastic tubs with wheels for heavier items since you might quickly run out of luggage to use.
Place extra fitted sheets around mattresses to keep them clean. Make sure you fit them around both sides since you won’t know what side may be on the moving truck floor.
There is an expectation that you’ll leave your home reasonably clean for the new owners. Instead of waiting until the end of the day, try cleaning rooms as you pack them. You should also clean off items before you pack them to avoid carrying excess dust into your new home. Use cleaning wipes or have a spray bottle and rag handy.
Most of your possessions will be packed up and placed in the back of a moving truck. However, there are some items you should pack separately in a moving day survival kit. These necessities, including a few outfits, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and cooking supplies, will make the first day or two in your home much easier. If you can, keep belongings in your car or somewhere easily accessible during the move, and make a checklist of your must-have items on moving day.
Moving can be a lengthy process to get through. However, being organized and prepared will have you settled in your new home in no time.