Sustainable Solutions for Healthy Homes

Empowering Transformations for Healthier Homes and Families through Strategic Inspired Healing


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Lessons from my Dirt Therapy Session

I just went outside for some of what I like to call “dirt therapy”. I get to put my hands in some dirt, connect to my Earth, appreciate my flowers, listen to the birds sing, feel the warmth of the sun, and get out all the frustrations from every other annoyance that I have endured this week by beating the crap out of something with a hoe.

I was just wrestling with a rose bush, and Poison was right, every rose does have its thorn. I remember seeing the tiny little rose bush starting to come up in the garden and thinking that roses are beautiful and it would be nice to have some there. But then I turned around for a moment and it had grown across the garden and up the tree. I needed to clip out huge sections with quite a bit of effort and pain. It kind of reminded me of parenting, and home ownership, and healing. So, the perfect reflection for a Sustainable Solutions for Healthy Homes blog.

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In parenting, we need to constantly be thinking ten steps ahead, but also thinking of all the possible paths and implications of each of those, so more like a complicated multi-tasking matrix or flow chart or concept map that is constantly running in the background of every little decision. But, most of us learned the hard way that if you think an issue is cute like a baby rose bush, when you come back to it, you find that it has grown unmanageable. I recently noticed this about the bedtime schedule, which on one busy day with late activities, I let them stay up 15 minutes past bedtime, which then grew to half an hour. Then one day when I was really exhausted and had finally sat down for a moment, I didn’t feel like getting up to do the toothbrush battle, and it became a full hour later which has now somehow become their new bedtime and if I even suggest the previously routine bedtime I am clearly the meanest mom ever.

In home-ownership, any real estate agent or home inspector will tell you that water is the biggest enemy of any building. If you don’t notice a leak or water damage or mold when it is small and manageable it will grow and become a huge problem. There are many routine maintenance projects that you can do that are quick and affordable and easy. But if you get busy, with something like parenting, you can get behind without even noticing. And then one day when you find that you have slept for more than 4 hours and you look at your house with clearer eyes, you realize that the small project has now become a big, scary, expensive project.

In our physical health and healing, we need to listen to what our body is trying to tell us when the symptoms are small and whispering at us. If we wait, then the symptoms get bigger and louder until we pay attention. They are kind of like toddlers saying “mommy, mommy, mommy” in that way. They start off quiet and cute and grow into screaming monsters. They call for attention in little ways, like “hey, it hurts when I bend like that”…but you ignore it and keep going, because there is too much to do. Then you find that you are putting some muscle cream on it, maybe taking a pain killer, and then all of a sudden it screams “no more” and you are stuck in bed for two weeks.

So I try to learn from my mistakes, and this year I went out and tackled the little baby weeds when they are cute and little and easy to pull out of the garden beds. I got the whole garden done quickly, and I did it early enough in the season that it is not oppressively hot yet. I am going to catch up on my home improvement and maintenance projects. I am going to come up with a really awesome new bedtime routine. I am going to listen to my body and hydrate and rest as needed.  I have high hopes that I will keep being smart and proactive.

Okay, full disclosure, I am feeling really great about all this because I have a few extra hours this week because a class that I teach at the community college ended for the semester. I am sure that this amazing feeling will last at least until the kids are out of school for the summer. Then all bets are off. Oh wait, did you say concerts and field days and end-of-year picnics? Oh, no. Never mind.

MichellePrzedwiecki

 

If you are looking for some proactive tips and tricks for your family, your home, or your health, join me for a class or call me for a private consultation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Got Cabin Fever!

Are you stuck inside with these freezing temperatures?

Are you tired of looking at that same color on your wall?

Are you fed up with mittens and hats thrown on the floor and you know it’s time to figure out a new organization scheme?

Are you getting the urge to move all your furniture to a new configuration?

Well, check out this fun tool! 

With the Lowe’s Virtual Room Designer, you can reinvent each room in your house, from top to bottom, online.

You can start with one of their templates, or design your room from scratch.
You can then mix and match colors and finishes until you find something that looks good to you.
When you decide on your final design, save, print and get into your local Lowe’s store to get started.
And don’t forget to call me and tell me about your ideas.  As your Healthy Homes Consultant I can help you review the pros and cons of different finishes and furnishings to make sure they are the right choice for your lifestyle and your budget.
And if you are looking to sell your home within the next 2-5 years, make sure you retain the market value of your home by keeping the changes in line with the tastes of a larger pool of today’s buyers.


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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.