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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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.


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The True Cost of Going Green

Many times I am asked about the costs of going Green. If you look at only the purchase price of certain products, it can be deceptive. A natural or authentic item often requires a larger initial investment than a copy or an artificial product. But True Cost to Own takes into account the long term investment. If you can wait and purchase the real-deal, then you can make a better long term investment.

For example, when someone shops for flooring, they often look at the Price per Square Foot. The next thing to consider is the cost of installation. Is this something that requires the proper tools and experience, or can it be a weekend Do-It-Yourself project? And then another question is about durability. How will your choice of flooring stand up to your lifestyle? Are you putting it in a bedroom or a high traffic location? Is it in an area with moisture like a bathroom? Do you have children or pets in your household? Does the flooring require maintenance? How long is it projected to last under normal conditions?

The new products have marketing campaigns that tout the benefits of easy installation or maintenance. Because of their affordability you don’t need to save up for a larger investment and you can afford to change your finishes each decade to fit the latest trend. Hardwood has been replaced by laminate floors. Wool carpets have been replaced by plastics. Natural linoleum flooring has been replaced by Vinyl. But classic finishes like natural stone and solid hardwood last for centuries and good quality is always in style.

But then there are the hidden costs of ownership. Many of the more affordable options for home finishing products are imitations of a natural product. The largest danger from these products is the presence of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) which off-gas once they are installed in the home and the chemicals begin to evaporate. These indoor air pollutants are found not only in the product itself, but in the adhesives, the substrates, the sealants and caulks. As these chemicals Off-Gas in your home they affect your Indoor Air Quality. The affects are strongest in the first few months, but they actually can last for years.

Breathing these indoor air toxins leads to a number of health problems including allergies and asthma, headaches, nausea, dizziness, and insomnia. But they also lead to increases in obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, birth defects and behavioral health issues.
So when you add up the true cost of ownership, you need to factor in the lost productivity at work and school and the cost of medications and medical care.

This becomes much more complicated than a simple Price per Square Foot! And that is why I am here for you, to help you weigh the pros and cons of these options before you make a large investment in your home. And the last thing that you want is to make a large investment, and then find that it is making you and your family sick.

Call me to set up your Healthy Home Consultation and we can work together to find a solution to fit your needs and your budget.