Going Green is Great Feng Shui
Earth Day is always a wonderful reminder of how compatible “going green” is with the Feng Shui lifestyle.
An important Feng Shui principle is living in harmony with nature. This ancient Asian wisdom has so much respect for the environment and understands how we are all connected with it. Practicing Feng Shui is one of the original ways of going green.
I put forth an effort to do as many green things as possible. I am not perfect, but I do have an awareness, and every little thing each of us does makes a difference. Feng Shui involves everything in our surroundings, from the air we breathe to the products we use. Everything.
We are a society of consumerism and convenience, and I take advantage of these things too, but I am way more mindful now that I have an awareness of how harmful much of this can be.
Here are a few things that you can do to be a little more green. Even small things can make a huge difference.
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE
I’m sure we have all heard the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle slogan. Often when people start applying Feng Shui, the first thing they deal with is clutter. Clutter involves anything that is no longer serving us. Although we want to get rid of it, that does not always mean that it should be just thrown away in the trash. A lot of those items will then end up in landfills, which is not good for the environment.
Over the years I have donated countless items to Goodwill, Salvation Army, and the like. However, there have been items that I felt were too nice to just give to Goodwill, but I didn’t really have the time or interest to try to sell them. I was told about Freecycle.org and I cannot recommend it enough. There is no tax write-off and you truly are just giving things away. It is a website where you post your items. It is set up by geographical locations so you can choose your local area. You post and then people respond. You get to decide who you want to give it to. I have had such a positive experience with this, and it feels great to know that certain items are getting to have a new life with people who can use and appreciate them.
CHANGE TO REUSABLE GLASS OR STAINLESS STEEL WATER BOTTLES
To me, this is such a no-brainer and was one of the first things I changed over a decade ago. But there are still people that don’t do this. If you do the math, it is astonishing how much this saves. Just think about this. Let’s say it is only me and I just save one bottle a day and I’ve been doing this for over a decade. We will just say a decade for this. That is my saving 3,650 bottles, and I drink way more than one bottle of water a day. Then let’s say each person on my street did the same thing. I’m going to guess there are 40 people that live on my street. That’s 146,000 plastic bottles that would have been saved, just on my little street alone. And I have also found out that not all plastic is being recycled. So the best way is to not have to recycle it in the first place. According to the Earth 911 website “91 percent of all plastic ever manufactured is still unrecycled. And how much have we manufactured? During the six decades that humans have been mass-producing plastic, we’ve created 8.3 billion tons of it. That number grows daily.” Shocking and disappointing.
GO SHOPPING IN YOUR OWN HOME
This is a trick that a lot of designers do when decorating a space. Often it is about decorating on a budget, but it can also be about being mindful, creative and repurposing items. Do you have an item or items that can move from one room to another instead of buying something new? Or can it be painted or recovered? You can get really creative and have fun with this.
BE MINDFUL OF YOUR CLEANING PRODUCTS
According to the Building Biology Institute, “cleaning products are the main source of chemical exposure in most homes”. I have mentioned this topic before but it is absolutely worth mentioning again. So many of the cleaning products out there are so bad for us and the planet. If we inhale them, they are not healthy. If we get them on our skin, they can cause irritation. When they go down our drains, they are toxic. Here is a website where you can look up your current products and check to see if/how harmful they are
https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/ And here’s a link to the EWG pocket guide for cleaners EWG-Cleaners-WalletGuide.pdf. The information from the guide is in the graphics below, but if you want the cheat sheet for your records you can download it. You can also sign up for their newsletter to get information.
GROW YOUR OWN VEGGIES
I did not inherit my mother’s green thumb. She used to grow so many things and they would flourish. A couple years ago, I discovered and purchased the Lettuce Grow Farmstand (pictured below) https://www.lettucegrow.com/. Part of their tagline is “no green thumb required”. It is so much fun and gratifying to grow your own veggies. (BTW, I never thought I would get excited about this). It is a hydroponic system and uses 95% less water than if you were to grow the same things in the ground or in soil.
USE LOW VOC PAINTS
If you have ever painted anywhere in your home, then you know what that paint smell is like. That smell is called off-gassing and it is not good for us, is not good to inhale, and can cause headaches in some people. Getting headaches from our products is not good. The funny (not funny) thing is, that we have gotten so used to so many products doing this that we think it is normal. It is not! Products should not be doing this to us. This is especially important if you are painting a room for a baby nursery or maybe an elderly person. But we all deserve to not have these things irritate us.
They do make less toxic paints that are called low VOC paints (VOC stands for volatile organic compounds). They are usually a bit more expensive, so if that is not an option, a Feng Shui trick is to add some essential oils to your paint. The oils help offset the fumes, plus you can do it with intention, such as adding lavender to the paint for your bedroom for calm, or rose for love. Citrus like orange or lemon are uplifting and could be used for a living room. You can use about 20 drops per quart. And of course you can add essential oils to the low VOC paint as well. In either case, do it with the intention of infusing the positive energy into the space.
CUT DOWN ON THE USE OF PAPER TOWELS
This is super easy to do. I still do have paper towels, but I use way, way less. I now use cloth napkins when I eat and then throw them in the wash when they need it. For cleaning, I use microfiber cloths or if something is really dirty, I have older rags that I use. I have a designated bin for the cleaning cloths and rags and when it is full, then I do a separate load of laundry just for those.
SPEAKING OF LAUNDRY…
We say in Feng Shui what’s closest to you has the greatest impact, and our clothes, sheets, and towels are some of the closest things to us. I highly recommend changing out your laundry detergent to a more eco-friendly brand. Also, replace those dryer sheets with non-scented ones, use wool dryer balls, or even let some of your items air dry. I do that with my shirts and jeans. It also lengthens the life of your clothes.
AVOID SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCES
Air freshener sprays, plug-ins, and even candles can be harmful to us. There are lots of healthier versions. You can use essential oils and make your own DIY sprays, use diffusers, or there are even plug-ins specifically designed for essential oils. A couple brands that I like and trust are Young Living and DoTerra. All essential oils are not created equally so make sure to use a reputable brand.
These have been just a few random ideas, and I hope they gave you some inspiration. So much of this work is just continuing to open up our eyes and notice more and more of our surroundings. Again, any changes make a difference. It can be quite an intimidating and frustrating topic. When I first started learning about how harmful so many of our everyday products are, and about the idea of our carbon footprint, I got really depressed and overwhelmed. But now I just do the best I can and know that we can each make a difference.
“It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little.”- Unknown
I shall sign off today with another quote- “The earth is what we all have in common“.
If you want even more Earth Day/Green tips, click here
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