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More Natural Home Living

Leading a natural lifestyle has a ton of benefits, from savings to reduced stress and better health in general. Most of us are well-aware of what we have to do in order to achieve a natural lifestyle, but without a proper guide, this can turn out somewhat difficult. With this in mind, we’ve come up with a tutorial that will guide you towards a natural home living.

What Does It Really Mean?

In order to get into a more natural lifestyle, first you have to define it. A natural lifestyle entails reducing toxic load, reducing waste, being environmentally conscious, replacing consumption with production and finding alternative, non-toxic ways to do, well, everything.

Reducing Toxic Load

We live in a world that’s riddled with toxic chemicals, even within our very own homes. Almost every product that’s available out there contains toxic stuff, so how to approach this issue? Well, first of all, you need to start cooking from scratch – the very point of premade meals is using every means possible in order to reduce the production price; this may not take away the fantastic taste of premade foods, but definitely entails using cheaper, environmentally damaging substances to turn profit. Going basic with cooking is the best way to avoid this – start from scratch!

Reducing Waste

There’s a reason why some of the major Japanese restaurant chains have decided to swap disposable chopsticks for reusable ones! This is the most basic factor in a green mentality – throw-away items both dwindle our resources and increase our planet’s waste. Replacing disposable items with reusable ones should become the basic way of thinking within your home – think napkins, reusable diapers and perhaps even feminine care products. Additionally, instead of using plastic or paper bags provided in supermarkets, opt for reusable bags that fold up into pouches of their own.

Don’t Buy, Produce!

While this might sound a bit far-fetched, rest assured that you can easily achieve it! Starting a garden can turn out more than a hobby for you. This is both a cheaper and a healthier solution than buying fruits and veggies from the supermarket. Not only can you grow your own food, but also make your own cleaning supplies! Browse the web for natural cleaning supplies recipes in order to reduce both your spending and toxic waste.

Healthy Eating Habits

You can’t hope for a natural home lifestyle if your diet includes bad sugars and junk food – you are what you eat and in order to be natural, you have to eat natural! Focus on consuming raw foods. When it comes to meat, always go with cooking – deep fried foods are not only fattening, but also extremely unhealthy. Focus on fruits, veggies and lean meats and prepare the meals on your own. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t go wild with spices, because this defeats the purpose of going natural altogether. Clean body means a clear mind and a clear mind knows how important being natural is!

Clean Your Air up

Keeping your indoor air fresh, clean and healthy is one of the main issues when it comes to providing a natural home atmosphere (literally, in this case). You can start by growing as many plants as you can, but consider using air purifiers to make sure the air in your home is really clean; experts behind the Air purifier ratings agree that these affordable devices should be a mandatory part of your household, seeing as how they not only provide fresher air, but also help those afflicted by asthma and other conditions that affect human airways.

Sustainable Furniture

You may not be introduced to these, but sustainable, eco-friendly pieces of furniture are somewhat common. Affordable, comfortable and beautiful to look at, these furniture products are made with little or no toxic chemicals. Look for “E-1” and “ITTO” classifications in your furniture, which guarantee that the production of an item has been under oversight of the strictest of standards on the planet. Trees are among Earth’s most valuable resources, so be mindful when browsing for furniture.

Environmental consciousness starts at your very own home. In order to lead a more natural indoor lifestyle, changes have to be made – from replacing everything disposable for reusable and reducing waste, to making sure that you keep your air clean and produce as much as you can, instead of buying! Sustainability is key to saving our planet!

My Tryst with Renovation Ideas

Have you ever walked into a room and got mesmerized with the artistic ingenuity of its décor?

I recently had this feeling when I visited my colleague’s home. The way things were set out was truly inspiring. What caught my eye were the walls. It spoke volumes about his personality.

Alright, I know I’m talking like a seasoned philosopher, but yes, I was determined to do a makeover to my abode as well. And this got me talking to my hosts and I was shown a new world of home décor jargons. Soon I was hearing words like tapestries, artwork that were framed and unframed, wall sculptures, picture frames, Trompe L’oeil and the list felt like a never ending one.

Creature comfort

Their son’s bedroom was screaming teenage hormones. Pictures were hung upside down (purposely of course; the hue of the room was on the darkish side, pictures of rock stars and pro wrestlers filled the walls. In short his walls were his personality.

The next room was my favorite, their little girl’s room and I tried to soak in even the smallest details so that I could renovate my little one’s room. This room had an aura of pink, except for the focal wall that was chocolate brown and strangely enough the combination was eye catchy. The contours of the room, even the window panes, were darker shades of pink. On her desk was a stylish floral lamp, of course in pink. The linens on the cream colored bed were white just like the floor rug, which I was told, provides a neutral look to the room. The furnishings in the room were such that it could give the girl company for years to come.

Renovation Ideas

The contemporary wooden desk (I forgot its color but am pretty sure that it was white or cream). The two nightstands next to her bed were tiny replicas of this wooden desk. Above the wooden desk was a simple wall shelf for her books to be neatly arranged. My hosts gave me the idea that I could make use of narrow shelves for a good visual impact in my daughter’s bedroom. These shelves could be used not just for her books, but also for any other knickknacks or her artworks. I thought maybe I could also try to squeeze in a teepee tent in a corner, yippee my girl’s gonna be thrilled.

Lavender was their choice for their kitchen with lime colored shelves and coffee colored floors. When I asked them for tips for my kitchen they told me not to compromise comfort for décor and from what I have seen so far in their home I knew I could follow their words as these are people who know what they are talking about.

I am not sure whether I was able to portray what I saw with my eyes into my words, but when thanked my hosts for their hospitality and left, I did leave with a lot many ideas to start renovating my home.

2 Super-Green Landscaping Ideas

For many, their landscape is a great source of pride. A nicely manicured lawn or a garden full of beautiful flowers can really make your outdoor area pop.

Unfortunately, the conventional methods of maintaining an attractive landscape are not very eco-friendly—inefficient use of water and harmful chemicals that pollute the air and the ground are just a couple of the issues.

If you are among the many people with a growing interest in green living, here are some tips that will help you be a better friend to the environment while still maintaining a beautiful landscape.

Go Native

When you have plants that are not native to your local area, they often require greater care to keep them healthy and thriving. ‘’Exotic’’ plants usually need more water; they are more vulnerable to local insects and pests so may turn to harmful chemicals like pesticides and insecticides to protect them. If you want to create a ‘’greener’’ landscape, one good strategy is to focus on plants that are native to your area.

They are adapted to the rainfall patterns and other elements of the local clime and are naturally better equipped to fight off damage from the pests and insects in your area. They also serve as a natural source of food and shelter for local wildlife. Another bonus is that since they require less maintenance, you will not need to spend as much time tending to them.
Green Landscaping Ideas

Composting

Compost has been called ‘’gardener’s gold’’ for many good reasons. Organic materials break down to form a substance that is rich in beneficial bacteria and other substances that nourish the plants and soil. Its eco-friendliness stems from many fronts.

It helps soil retain moisture which translates to reduced water use. Its rich store of plant-supporting substances eliminates the need for chemical-laden fertilizers. Even organic materials can take a long time to break down in the landfill, and certain ones, such as leaves and yard trimmings, can emit harmful gases as they degrade.

I cannot cover the whole of composting here, but here are some basics to get you started. Acceptable items for compost include yard trimmings, leaves, fruits, vegetables, wool rags, newspaper, uncolored paper, dryer lint, hair, manure, egg shells and coffee grounds. Items to leave out of the pile include meat, fish, dairy products, fatty foods, oily foods, greasy foods, diseased plants and yard trimmings or plants that have been chemically treated.

You ideally want to create a mix that is 3 parts carbon (or browns) and 1 part nitrogen (or greens) Examples of ‘’browns’’ include leaves dead plants and twigs. Examples of ‘’greens’’ include grass, weeds and food scraps. The pile should always be moist but not wet; regularly turn the pile to make sure you get air to the center and avoid foul odors.

Closing

We can no longer ignore the damage we have been doing to our planet and true change will come when everyone begins doing their part. You may not feel like you alone can make a difference by using less water or composting for your landscape, but when lots of people make these small changes, the results can be huge. How we tend to our landscaping is a huge factor in water waste and other environmental problems and it presents us with a good opportunity to be more eco-friendly.

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5 Simple Tips to Use Garage Space More Efficiently

Your garage may be among the most valuable storage spaces you own. Many attics are cumbersome to navigate and actually unsafe to do so. Most families, particularly ones with teenagers, use their basements for recreational purposes and even guest rooms. Some people may manage to cultivate functional workspaces and studios in these parts of their home, and can apply those same ideas to their garages if it suits them. But usually, the garage is that “take-all” part of the house.

Our garages are able to accommodate a variety of home overflow as well as essential items we use for car repair, yard maintenance and home construction projects. A garage can give you the ideal landing spot for seasonal items you may only need for a few months or food and beverages you buy in bulk. You may even have boxes of important files stored in the chaos. A garage is a priceless asset for any homeowner who wants to keep their living space functional, clean and clutter-free.

For it to operate as such, you must organize your garage. No matter if you have a one-car or four-car garage, this takes versatility of approach and carefulness in planning. Most homeowners do not have Nate Berkus on speed dial, so they are often at a loss on how to even begin a garage makeover. With a weekend set aside and the 5 Simple Tips we recommend here, you will be on your way to maximizing this space outside your home and using it more effectively.

Garage Space

Idea 1: Categorize Its Contents

Many people leave their garages unorganized because they have no clue what all is actually inside. You have to get a firm handle on its contents before you can organize your garage. Spend a day with a notebook, index cards and sticky notes to document the holdings in your garage as if you are its librarian. Generally, the content in most people’s garages falls into the following categories.

  • Car repair parts and supplies (jacks, tires, oil, wax, booster cables, etc…)
  • Appliances and hardware (electric generator, ladders, deep freezer, etc…)
  • Toys and games (bikes, outgrown toys, housekeeping play sets, scooters, etc…)
  • Sporting equipment (golf clubs, tennis rackets, balls, fishing poles, etc…)
  • Lawn care (mulch, fertilizer, lawnmowers, rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows, etc…)
  • Seasonal supplies (leaf blowers, de-icing salt, fireplace wood, grills, etc…)
  • Odds and ends (paint, piping, tools, papers, manila folders, bag of clothes, etc…)
  • Food and household (water bottle packs, extra soda, dry goods, trash bags, etc…)

Idea 2: Donate, Trash or Giveaway

There is little point to organize your garage if unnecessary items remain. After all the work you must do to organize your garage, it could all go to waste within a few weeks or months if you hold on to contents which serve little use to you and your household. If you were a beauty school student two decades ago and you still have your practice chair (with the helmet hair dryer attached), plan to donate it to a local beauty school or recycling center.

If your adult children no longer live at home but you still have their old disassembled swing set, drive its pieces to the Salvation Army for another family with small children to use. If you have been meaning to take several years of outdated clothes to a church or shelter, now is the time. Shred papers you no longer need and toss items in ill-repair into the trash. Make up your mind on what to discard, and stick to it.

After you have gotten a handle on the contents of your garage, you should create sections or piles within it to account for every item you intend to keep and what category it falls into. If the weather permits, park your vehicle(s) in the driveway or on the street as you decide what to do with your garage’s many things. Initially, this step in the process may make your garage look more chaotic than it did before. But be patient. If you have left your garage unattended for several years, it will not come together overnight.

Idea 3: Mark Your Territories

Just as you would not plant root vegetables in the same garden plot and manner as you would your tomatoes, you should not store all of your garage holdings in a haphazard fashion. It is imperative for you to have a keen sense of how to find everything afterwards. When you organize your garage, maximize at least one entire wall within it to place the heaviest items and then work from there.

Designate a section of floor space for heavy, bulky items such as the lawn mower and extra fridge. To stack boxes and crates, use the corners against the house and away from the garage door (to avoid damage or malfunction to the door). Be sure to choose a remote spot for flammable chemicals such as propane gas, car oil or lighter fluid. Plan to hook lighter items far up along walls.

Idea 4: Select a Variety of Panels, Hooks and Shelving

Ultimately, you will be the one who decides just how far you want to go when you organize your garage. In the process, you may decide you want to invest in new cabinetry and pantries. But property owners have a variety of budget-friendly and self-assembling options to add wall panels, hooks and shelves to their garages. Steel, plastic/resin and wire are the most typical materials used in garage shelving. Superstore retailers like Kmart and Walmart offer many choices for garage panels and shelving in their home sections. Ikea is a place to start if you have time to assemble steel and even wood storage yourself.

For the most overcrowded garages, specialty items such as ceiling-mounted shelves may be obtained at Home Depot and also carry installation for an added price. If you are on a budget, simple bricks in between 2 x 4 wood planks make for very sturdy and high-reaching storage. Rubbermaid containers, milk crates, Bankers Boxes and envelope or postage-size address labels also help you organize your garage.

Idea 5: Label Your Sections

Nothing makes an idea or goal more concrete than putting it in writing. If you have signs around your garage to direct you after you organize your garage, you will be less likely to throw a wrench in a milk crate where the flowerpots and seeds belong. After you have put in the physical labor to organize your garage, cement the project with 8 x 11 signs, preferably printed on bright paper and laminated at your local Kinko’s or other office center. Make sure that you print signs in the largest font possible for easy viewing and quick direction.

Skip double-sided tape or other adhesives to hang them and instead use thumbtacks or picture-hanging kits; if you ever move things around, you do not want torn signs due to tough removal. If you have separated the contents of your garage less according to type and more according to family usage, get your family involved in decorating their own signs. The kids might prefer stars and smiley faces above their section for toys, and store inserts in the newspaper could provide many clippings to give a collaged border to signs for “Food and Beverages” or “Garden and Lawn.”

With our 5 Simple Ideas, you can organize your garage no matter what state it is in now.

Interior Design Ideas – Interior Designing on a Budget

A shining new car and an elegant looking house, it’s a dream of every living person on earth and especially the ladies. But sometimes our pockets are too short on money to get all these things. That’s the time when we have to depend more on our brains and creativity for achieving all that.

Let’s leave the car aside for a moment or two and go towards the elegant looking house we were just talking about. You don’t have to be a millionaire to own a house which is well decorated to give it a look of your dreams. It can be done well within a small or medium budget combined with a little creativity of yours, your family or friends. We can also add the choice of interior decorators who can design well in a limited budget but for now let us look at some easy home décor tips which can come well under your restricted budget.

1. Bedroom:

Bedroom

  • The bed comes first in a bedroom. The bed should be of the right size depending on the size of your room because if you tried to have a bigger bed in a smaller bedroom, it will definitely be off the elegant list and it will also make look messy and tiny. So pay attention to the size of both your bed and the room. There is no need to pay for an extra sized bed.
  • Color scheming of the room is very pretty much important. No fancy shmancy stuff needed just simple bright and light color combinations of your walls and furniture is more than enough.
  • Go natural. Plants by your room’s window, a vase with some fresh flowers on your study table will also give a freshening look.
  • Let in some sunlight and brighten up your room. Sunlight combined with some bright walls can give a better look along with saving your electricity bills.
  • There should be proper lighting in the room however not too much because too much will not only exceed your budget with product prices and the bills but also will make your room warmer and will occupy space on your wall and ceiling. In this case the placement of the lights is important for example one lamp at your bedside table for light reading before bed, one at the study table and one on the ceiling or the wall and that’s it.

2. Kitchen:

Kitchen

  • Again size does matters. Size of the kitchen will decide how much stuff should be put into it. If you have an average size kitchen you need to organize your space with a bit more creative touch whether it’s the walls or the floors.
  • For the kitchen island you don’t need to buy a brand new granite top. You can grab a used top, get it polished and done.
  • If you prefer a table then just go for the average size table for around 4 people. Square or rectangular will be a better option since round or oval takes a bit more space than others. You can find a more options in used ones for your limited budget than going for a new one.
  • Shelves or pantry depending how much space you have around your counter, can be placed accordingly. If going for a pantry then you need to have an idea of the size of the shelves in between. If you need a bit more space to then you can go for a 1 to 2 small shelves.

3. Lounge:

Lounge

  • For the living room’s floor you can go to a second hand shop and browse a patterned carpet with window curtains which can go with the carpet to compliment the plain white or off white theme of your room.
  • Let lots of sunlight enter your living room. The natural light gives a better look than artificial.
  • A simple square coffee table will serve most of the purposes in your lounge. For example a neat looking narrow table cloth with a nice look vase get the décor part done while it can also be your personal board game space suitable for a good friends hangout.
  • Touches of wall décor here and there can come in handy. You can get some excellent frames from a second hand shop; you can also use fake vines on a plain surface, or even dried up flowers preserved in a frame. It all depends on your creativity.
  • If you have a plain sofa in the lounge then you can use some colorful scarves on them to give an eye catching look.

4. Bathroom:

Bathroom

  • Now for proper lighting in the bathroom, some big or medium length mirrors are recommended which will reflect the light; natural or artificial in the entire space.
  • If the tiles have a light color and then the typical wood theme will look good. A second hand wooden shelf, refinished and polished shall do the trick.
  • A bit of natural look in here also can give an elegant look like placing some plants around your bathroom window or around the sink.
  • You can even have wall décor here. Yes sure you can. Following the same theme of your shelves you can grab a couple of good looking frames as well.
  • Depending on your mood and space of-course you can choose from a shower or a tub. I prefer a shower since the tub will gather more space in comparison. Pick a corner for the shower with decent amount of width for you and the closing glass walls and door.

Being done with some simple tips there are a few things which should be kept in mind. First of all before starting on a limited budget home décor, check out a few examples regarding the color, space usage, furniture etc. Browse around some second hand shops for the items. This is going to make things a lot easier on your pocket. Accessorize accordingly, not too much not too less, just maintain a balance. Proper lighting is important along with the proper placing of the furniture.

You can always try your own creativity for the task however taking advices from the people around will be a better help in managing the whole thing. Family and friends will definitely be a good idea however if you are not sure enough about managing your budget then it’s better to get some professional help. Companies like Crux Interiors, one of the handy dandy interior design services Dubai, can manage to give your hose the look which you dreamed even if you have a tight budget. So reel in some style in your house even if you are short on few bucks.