Sustainable Solutions for Healthy Homes

Empowering Transformations for Healthier Homes and Families through Strategic Inspired Healing


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She Sells Healthy Home Consultations

cropped-sshhlogo.pngSometimes thinking about health and the environment can be overwhelming, so it is EMPOWERING to know that your home and how you live in it involve choices that you can control. But sometimes, you don’t know where to start or where to get the most bang for your buck. And when you are so busy just keeping up with your routine, it can be a real pain to have something that is not working right and needs to be replaced. Or when members of your family are not feeling well and nobody has an answer.  But before you make a big purchase or a significant change to your lifestyle, make sure that you consider all of your options.

The problem today is that we almost have too much information and too many choices. In the past, a salesperson’s job would be to have all of the relevant information about their product and be able to help you to make a decision about the product. Today’s consumers have access to so much information and can comparison shop and are not limited geographically to only the local stores. But a new role is needed to help the consumers to weed through all the information and uncover their real needs and find the best solution.

There is a great example in the book To Sell is Human by Daniel H. Pink in which he describes a sales situation in which someone comes in to buy a vacuum. A good salesperson will show them the best options that they have in their budget. But a great salesperson will find out more about their underlying needs. If you ask more questions, you may find out that what is driving them to search for a new vacuum is that they are finding that they are needing to vacuum more and more and their floors still do not seem clean. It could be that their vacuum is fine, and they just need to replace a belt or clean a filter.

But there may also be a number of other things that are leading to this situation, other than that their vacuum is losing power. It could be that they need to adjust the humidity in their house, or fix the seals on their doors or windows, or place show mats by the doors, or replace their carpet.

As a healthy homes consultant, I don’t need to make a commission on the sale of the vacuum (or the windows or carpet), so I have a more objective view of the bigger picture. I help my clients to identify the root cause of their problem, identify possible solutions and help them to make the best choice for their home and their family. Working with their budget and their timeline, I help them to decipher what needs to be done first and what can wait until later.

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In this example it is just about replacing a vacuum. But often we are faced with bigger decisions, or a larger investment. I am usually called in when either the financial investment is larger, or the cost to your family’s health is significant. I am often called when families are looking to renovate or deciding whether or not they need to move to another house. I am also called by families who want suggestions for how to make their home healthier because they are at an important time of transition of their lives.

 Sometimes it is a change to their family like planning for a new baby or an elderly parent is moving in. Other times it is due to a diagnosis like asthma or allergy, chemical sensitivity or various cancers. In those cases, their care provider may suggest that they remove any toxins from their home, especially airborne toxins. This includes any products that you bring into your home like cleaning supplies and home finishes (flooring, wall coverings) and furnishings (window treatments, furniture).

Whether you are looking for someone to: 

  • Help you decide whether it is time for a lifestyle change, a renovation, or moving to a new home
  • Help you take your vision and turn it into a plan and break it down into action steps
  • Help you identify ways in which you make your home more Healthy

michelle bamboo Contact me for a free 15 minute phone call to see if a Healthy Home Consultation is the right solution for you and your family.

 


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Why you can’t buy a Healthy Home

cropped-sshhlogo.pngThere are at least 445 quotes about “Doing the Right Thing”. I just checked. But the real problem is the number of times a day that I have to make huge decisions. It makes me long for a simpler time. But then I remember that in many of those “simpler” times, people were starving or working themselves to death or scared all the time, and I try to be thankful for living in a warm house, in a safe community, with dinner on the table and a hot shower. But seriously, every day I am not sure if I am actually doing any of those things the “right way”. When you become a mom, this responsibility takes on a whole new meaning. Now you are making decisions for other people, and you never know which one of those decisions will come up again later in their therapy.

right-238370_960_720I feel like there must be something to this desire though. It must be human nature to want to do things the “right way”. I loved being a good student in school. I would follow the rules and study the material and get the right answers. I love playing board games and figuring out the strategy so that you can win. But somehow, in real adult-life, there does not seem to be an agreed upon set of rules or a strategy. We try to make the best choices that we can, in the moment, given the knowledge and resources that we have available. But then we are sure to have someone tell us that we did it wrong after all.

 

There are plenty of solutions being marketed to us that promise that if we buy their product, use their system, or take their pill, then we will be happy or healthy or successful. We’d love to believe it and sometimes we try one of the products or systems or pills just to check if maybe this is the one. But, somehow we know that tomorrow we will see another advertisement for the next, even better thing. And we know that none of them will actually do it for us.

In our deepest knowing, we realize that health and happiness are not things that you can buy. You cannot buy a better body or buy a healthy home. Those are just reflections of your current state of health. There is not a one-size-fits all solution. There is not one perfect house that you can buy that will be a healthy home. Even if you bought a house that was made out of all natural materials in a beautiful setting by local artisans it would not be healthy until it was a home that was lived in and filled with love and was cared for and maintained. A home is where you feel comfortable, and safe, and free to be yourself. And what that looks like will be different for each family.

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I just looked up another checklist of things to do for a healthy home. But just looking at the list was stressing me out (and I have studied this stuff for years!). I remember going to a seminar once about pests in the home. They had lots of info about what to do to eliminate them safely and without adding toxins, but why you need to do it because they can carry disease and destroy your property. But what I remember most if that they also had slides talking about the psychological effects on the homeowners who are having a pest problem in their home. I have been to countless seminars since then, on all sorts of healthy home topics, but I wish that they all included the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual aspects of each issue.

This is why I offer customized solutions for the families that I help. I don’t have one answer that fits every family or every home. I work with them to find something that is achievable in their reality, and that works for their lifestyle and their budget. I help them to identify action steps that they can try right now that will start to make a difference in their lives. I help them to prioritize which things to do first and where they can save their time and energy. Sometimes it is just nice to have someone to discuss these things while we are trying to make those million choices a day. I know that when I have to make a big decision, I appreciate having mentors and professionals to call for advice. Even if they don’t have one right answer for me, they usually help me to narrow the list.

If you are looking for some help with choosing healthier options for your home, call me for a customized, holistic consultation that takes into account the physical, emotional, psychological, and financial needs of your family. 

 


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It’s time to make your best investment of the year!

It is easy to get caught in the trap of: “If you want something done right, do it yourself”.  Often this just means that you end up doing everything!

So today I want to talk about outsourcing some of the biggest jobs to the experts. This allows you to feel really good about your management skills, achieving your biggest goals and then getting a good night’s sleep.

I have been working on creating a more healthy family-life by sitting down once a year (when the kids go back to school!) and creating my vision for what really needs to happen, and then finding smart ways to get it all done by delegating and calling on experts.

In project-management they talk about outsourcing work, or delegating tasks. I used to try to do everything myself, from home improvements to car repair, but lately I’ve been trying to let others be the experts about what they love to do, so that I can spend more time on what I love and what I am good at. It’s a win-win.

As a mom, life gets pretty busy, and just feeding the kids every day can be a full time job. You have to earn money to buy the food, then you have to choose the food, shop for the food, organize and inventory the food, prepare and cook the food etc.  And somehow you’re supposed to accomplish all of that faster than they can eat the food! And with the number of foods available on the market today, who has time to research every single product?

groceries

But, are we supposed to just trust the stores that slap the “healthy” label on almost anything, even when it clearly is anything but. If we can’t trust the labels, then who do we trust with the health of our kids? I find it is best to ask for advice from other families that have healthy kids. And when it comes to nutrition, I like to talk to the farmers. You can go meet your farmers at the local Farmer’s Market, or even better, you can join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).

When I decided to let my friends be my farmers I was able to check all of these things off my To-Do list:

  • Feed my kids healthy, organic veggies that are local and in-season

  • Have more time to make home-cooked meals with my kids

  • Spend time outside with my kids for fun and enjoyment of nature

  • Be less stressed and have more joy

  • Make good investments of money (buying up front saves me 10-15% off retail) and time (I don’t have to think about what to put on the menu this week)

I have always had a garden, and I love having my kids get their hands dirty and learn about where food comes from. We love to throw some seeds in the ground and see what happens. But if I am in charge of maintaining and monitoring the garden all summer and relying on it to do well, it becomes kind of stressful and takes some of the fun out of family garden time.

In my vision of healthy kids, I also have kids who know what real vegetables look like, who understand where their food comes from, and who know how to prepare and cook their own food. So, when my friends said that they were passionate about starting a farm with their kids and growing organic vegetables and that they wanted to drop off a beautiful assortment of veggies on my porch every week from June-October, I jumped at the chance.

CSA veggies

Now, every winter, I happily send them a check so that they can go buy the seeds and the fertilizer (using all of their accumulated professional knowledge) and then I can sleep well, knowing that they will get up in the middle of the night to run the heaters in the greenhouse and take care of my baby veggies. They even sing songs to the veggies because we know that happy cells make healthy plants.

 

So for the best investment that you can make of both your time and your money, I encourage you to search for CSA’s in your community. If you are lucky enough to live in Upstate NY, you can meet my farmers and learn more about how it works at their new store and learn about their farm share program.

johnson family

 

For more ideas on how to create a healthy home life, check out my classes and or call for a private session.

 

 


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Don’t Miss Out on Green Tax Breaks in 2014

 

Every year we’re obliged to do our taxes. We take the time to go through every detail of the previous year and find as many deductions as we can. So the good news is, we now have the opportunity to be rewarded for making changes that will help the environment. There are a few tax breaks you can snag if you made the effort to go green this past year.

If you revamped your home in ways including installing dual-paned windows, insulation, low-flow plumbing appliances, tankless water heaters or solar panels, then make sure to find the receipts and have a conversation with your tax preparer. Any of these home changes could lead to some good tax advantages with a little research. And the biggest thing to remember is that these credits apply cumulatively to changes dating back to 2006.

Also, there are tax credits for anyone who drove a two or three wheeled electric vehicle last year, and an even larger tax credit for anyone who drove the 2012-2014 Ford Focus Electric, the 2013 Ford Fusion Energi, the 2013 Ford C Max Energi or the 2011-2012 Nissan Leaf. But make sure to hurry on those tax credits because after the manufacturers sell so many, the credit will cease.

The biggest thing with each of these tax credits is that they are all in danger of being cut, every year. Congress is always under pressure to cut, cut, cut, and the green tax credits are continually targeted. Therefore, take advantage of them as much as possible while they last!

 

http://tips.truliablog.com/2014/02/3-often-overlooked-real-estate-tax-breaks/?ecampaign=cnews&eurl=tips.truliablog.com%2F2014%2F02%2F3-often-overlooked-real-estate-tax-breaks%2F

 

http://joyoftaxlaw.com/2013/10/29/8-individual-tax-breaks-to-snag-before-2014/


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Live Better With These Green Apps

green calculator

Your smart phone and tablet can help you do more than gain a high score on Candy Crush or catch the latest online deal. Head to the Google Play store or the App Store to check out a myriad of useful apps for the environment. They’ll help you live a bit healthier and also show you some ways to cut spending around the house.

If you’ve been dabbling at a greener home life, apps like PaperKarma and Home Composting will guide you through plenty of “how-to’s.” Some apps will even help in tracking your personal energy and carbon usage.

Traveling to the great outdoors? Check out the Sierra Club Trail Explorer and take on one of over 40,000 trails in their database based on your current location. Some people have vast knowledge of the foliage surrounding them, while others don’t know the difference between poison oak and a japanese maple. If you’re part of a conversation that ends with “What tree is that?,” download the Arbor Day Foundation’s app with the same name. It would be a wonderful way to landscape a new yard with just the right items.

For a complete list of environmental and sustainable lifestyle apps, check out this article that links to many free or low cost options.


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What does it mean to be Sustainable?

I come across many instances of Green-Marketing, or more often misleading marketing. The use of the term Green has become a pervasive trend to the point where some people are losing interest. If everything is labeled Green regardless of whether it is environmentally-friendly, then it begins to lose its intended meaning.  I once saw a product that was made in China out of 100% petroleum-based products, and it was labeled with a large logo that included both “American” and “Green” in the title.

And it is funny, because most people who are living a “Green” lifestyle (choosing natural products, living in harmony with their environment, making responsible choices, shopping locally) would make the choice for their own economical and health reasons, regardless of branding. If you ask someone of my grandmother’s generation who lived through the Great Depression, they know more about how to “reduce, reuse, and recycle” than the most avid environmental science student. For this reason and for many others, I chose to use the word Sustainable for my business. But now even that word has begun to be used to mean many things.b-1024x768-CMI-Sustainable-Innovation-PW

So to clarify, when I say “Sustainable” I think of:

  • Things that will give you the most bang for your buck.
  • Products that are made to last for generations, not decades.
  • Classic finishes and furnishings that will stand the test of time.
  • Homes that will serve you through all the phases of life. (universal design)
  • Responsible lot development (Smart Growth) that uses existing infrastructure and walk-able communities
  • Proper Home Site planning and house design that naturally reduces energy-usage by      incorporating passive-solar, wind breaks, large overhangs etc.
  • Healthy yards that incorporate edible landscaping and perennials and don’t require      regular watering or the use of pesticides and herbicides.

So if you are interested in finding Sustainable ways to save money and be healthier, contact me to set up your home consultation and we’ll work together to the best long-term solutions for your home.