Building a Sustainable Home
During the summer, we finally bought our own home and moved in. Ever since, we have been slowly nesting and making it our own. There was a temptation to try to do it all at once but a limitation of both cash flow and other commitments forced us to slow down and make much more conscious decisions. This has without a doubt been a blessing in disguise - we had a dream that our home would be a welcoming and intentional space and so even in this process it has become just that.
I wanted to share some of the choices that we have made in the process that we hope will support our efforts to make our home a more sustainable environment, and of course, one that we love to come home to and spend time in.
One thing I found really hard to acknowledge was the amount of packaging that we got through with everything that we ordered. I did my best to buy things in person but I definitely did some online shopping too. We were of course extra careful to recycle correctly and noted when packaging was non-recyclable so as not to buy again from that place in the future.
We have tried where possible to find things that are preloved. Our style allows for that, with our favourite piece so far being an amazing set of drawers from Arthur & Ede. Jane works to find gorgeous pieces of furniture that need to be shown a little love so that they can go to new homes and this works so well for storing stationery, candles, toiletries that I have been gifted but am not yet using and all those other bits and bobs that often end up being shoved in a chaotic kitchen drawer.
Where we have bought new, we have tried to opt for made to order styles, with an understanding that supporting these types of businesses that reduce waste in production is a more positive choice for the planet. We also have tried not to buy anything temporary so that we could save and buy things once rather than chuck anything out in a years time. While it has meant accepting that we wont be totally ‘finished’ for a long time, it stops us buying into a throwaway culture and valuing well crafted, long lasting options wherever possible.
Our kitchen and table and chairs are from Made.com. Most of you will know about Made, but the items are ordered and once they have a certain number of orders, the production begins. This minimises wasteful production and the need for warehouse storage.
We also have two custom chairs from Scandanavian brand By Crea. They have simple designs that you can customise with different accent colours and fabrics. This small business then hand makes the furniture and I love the idea of supporting the craftsmanship and independent designer.
Our sofa was a very tricky situation - we had it made to order from Loaf to find 6 weeks later that it didn’t fit through a kink in the communal corridor. We thought about getting it through windows, cutting it apart or knocking down the whole building (ok, not actually) to get it down as we were so disappointed! Sadly we had to send it back and it was resold via their website. Luckily, after a LOT of hours searching, we found the ‘breakdownable’ section of Sofa.com, where we ordered from last month and are waiting for that to be delivered.
Once it is in place, we will be choosing a rug from Lila rugs, a beautiful company run by my lovely friend Camilla, who curates one of a kind hand woven rugs to suit any size and style of home. She donates £10 to charity for every rug sold and you can get 10% off your first order by subscribing to her mailing list!
In the kitchen
We did a lot of research on what saucepans to buy and opted for these ones which I bought from Amazon.There is lots of research on the toxicity of your kitchen utensils and I got a bit lost and confused among it all. Luckily my sister was knowledgeable on this from her naturopathic nutrition course so I draw on her advice when making our decision.
Washing up was another space that we realised we could make a change. We swapped to bamboo dish brush and cut up an old towel to use as cloths. We chose an amber bottle for our washing up liquid and refill it at our local shop (you can also buy a bigger bottle to decant if you don’t have anywhere to refill it nearby).
We also bought some glass Tupperware and made use of old jars so that we could be more proactive about minimising food waste.
In the bathroom
Who Gives A Crap is a loo paper subscription company with a positive social impact. We have a subscription that not only create product out of sustainable materials but they also donate 50% of profits to help build toilets for those in need. You can read more about them here.
We also wanted to make an effort to minimise plastic. We bought a load of amber glass bottles for our shampoo and conditioner (like the ones in the kitchen) so that we can fill them up at a local package free shop. If you don’t have one nearby or aren’t able to get to one for any reason, you can also then buy products in bigger containers and decant them to reduce the amount of plastic you buy. We do this for our deodorant, shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. I have then been making an effort to reduce what I buy by making my way through lots of products that I have been given and bought over the years but not finished yet.
I do love the body scrub from Upcircle though and it is the one thing that I have continued to purchase, although sometimes I also make my own. You may have heard me shout about it in the past - they recently rebranded from Optiat, and are a really forward thinking family run business committed to leaving the planet better than they found it.
Please note, some of the products in this post were gifted and other links are affiliate links. I am only sharing brands and products that we really love!