It's your home. The one place where you come to every night to recharge and find peace of mind. It's the place where you spend time with friends and family, where you go on quality dates with yourself, and maybe also where some of your most amazing and creative work come to life. In other words - it's your cave, your sacred zone, the little bubble of magic that defines who you are. So of course you want to make it special and fill it with things that make you feel comfortable and cozy, and invest in stuff that will make your life easier to live. But, what exactly are those stuff, actually? And how do we know when we really need something versus thinking we want something just because that's what everyone else have?
We live in a society today where more is better and where the bigger the place, the better your life. My recent years of traveling and moving around, constantly finding myself in new homes and places, has taught me a thing or two about the true value of life. Sprinkle on top of that my growing conscious of a sustainable and responsible way of life and I've found myself falling in love with the minimalist in me. Understanding that less is actually more, and where shopping with love and intention will bring life to your home like no other furniture ever could. I've gone from materialist to a modern version of a hippie, and I'm here to share with you how I've decided to furnish and magic-fy my San Francisco home. The minimalist, eco, and future-conscious way!
1. Ask yourself what you really need
Too many things in a home can just make if feel cluttered and burdened. Of course you want furniture and kitchen appliances that will make your life comfortable, but the line crossing from "comfortable" to "redundant" is very thin. So before you buy something, ask yourself what purpose this new thing will bring to your life and how often you will actually use it. There's great value in being true to yourself and knowing where your passions lie and what you think you want just because society (or the latest magazine) tells you so. Not much for baking bread? Then maybe a bread machine isn't at the top of your list, is it? Besides, if you get one and never use it you're just gonna feel bad about not baking bread, which (honestly) most people don't do anyways.
2. Wait until you find what you really want
It's easy wanting to have your whole home put together at once, making it tempting to just go to one store and get it all. However, there's an added kind of magic when you're patient and wait for the right couch to come to you or when you only invest in the kind of art you know you'll want to keep around for a lifetime. There's nothing conscious or sustainable about buying things that's just "good enough" (even if it's cheap), a conscious home owner takes a chill-pill and buys with intention. So make your home feel like you, and go on that treasure hunt to find the gems you will want to hold on to forever.
3. Up your life with second hand!
I cannot emphasize this enough - go find that second hand!!! When it comes to furnitures the most beautiful pieces are oftentimes those that were crafted mid-century and that has that magical history touch to it, kinda like it's telling a story from a past life. Besides, today when so many people are moving around all the time having to let go of things they can't take with them, it's really easy to find good deals online. So pop on Craigslist to find your local listings or, like my husband and I do a lot, go searching the streets for things that someone has put out to gift away. Remember, what's one's trash can very much be someone else's treasure.
Right now the following items in our home has (honestly) been picked up off the streest: A side table (located in the bay window) a fully functioning floor lamp, a book shelf, two paintings, a bowl, a few plates, spatulas and other kitchen stuff (found a whole box of new things when I was out walking one day), silver wear, pie forms.
Bought second-hand online or at garage sales: Our couch, wooden bench in the hallway, our bed-frame, a mid-century chair, kitchen table, coffee mugs, glass jars, oven supplies.
4. Find ethical and sustainable options
Some things are very hard to buy second hand, like linens, towels and other home textiles. But for those items you can find options that are consciously made and with the intention to lessen the burden on our environment. One of those companies (which we have fallen in love with and chosen to have in our home) is Coyuchi, a Bay Are based company committed to making thoughtfully designed, quality goods with processes that are both friendly to people and the planet. On their website you find everything from bed linens, towels, duvets, comforters, interior design items and even clothes. You can read more about Coyuchi and shop their products here.
Coyuchi for Life - a Circular System
One of the things I love the most about this company is their effort to help you recycle your linens and home textiles when they're no longer good. If you sign up for Couyuchi for life you can have new towels and linens sent to you by subscription and they will take care of your old ones, making sure they don't end up in landfills and killing life. Read more about it here.
Why should we care?
About 14 million tons of textile waste end up in landfills each year (in America alone!!), making the textile industry the second dirtiest industry in the world. And since that textile is oftentimes filled with toxic chemicals what ends up in landfills will do great harm to our precious planet and all life on it. Just to give you a quick fact to grasp: one bird is killed every second from textiles in our landfills. Yes, a bird per second! If you want to read more about it, check out this article by Alden Wicker in Newsweek.
5. Minimize technology
We live in a world that's been taken over by technology and even though speakers that talk to you and lightning systems that are controlled from your phone are pretty damn neat it's also pretty nice to cut down on the technology in your home. Call me old-school but I really like just sitting for hours by the dinner table and sip wine and talk about life. I also enjoy reading a book in someone else's company or try a new adventure in the kitchen by cooking something you've never tried.
Our lives have sped up to a tremendous speed these last couple of years and to be able to come home to a home that allows you to slow down is in my opinion incredibly important. So build a home for yourself that emphasizes just that. Make it a little complicated to stream a show so that, if you do, you at least no for sure that you're actually up for just that. Make rules of when you're allowed to be on your phones and try to give yourself at least 30 minutes to an hour before bed when you get off your screens and start to wine down. It will improve your sleep and also "force" your brain to take a break. AND - definitely put your phone on airplane mode and turn off your router at night, more about that here.
Trouble sleeping? Here are some more tips on how to improve your night time routines: 7 Bedtime Behaviors that will Help You Sleep.
6. Invest in a Non-Toxic, Eco-Friendly Mattress
Did you know that most mattresses in our stores off-gas toxic gas that you then end up breathing in during your sleep? And what do you think happens when that mattress gets thrown out and ends up in our landfills? You guessed it, those toxins goes into our water streams and will most definitely add to making our planet a dirtier place, killing animals and nature as it spreads. Which is why you should consider a more conscious choice next time you look for a mattress and I couldn't be happier than sharing Avocado Green Mattresses, a company on a mission to bring toxic-free and eco-friendly mattresses to the masses. Their mattresses are handmade with natural materials and gets shipped right to your door, and I must say I'M IN LOVE!! We've had ours for 6 months now and our sleep honestly improved from one night to the next. We both had trouble finding rest and kept tossing and turning all night, and once we switched to Avocado Green those issues were gone. You do spend about a third of your life on your bed after all so make sure you treat your health and our precious planet with respect!
For more on the topic, check out my Podcast interview with Jay Decker, one of the founders of Avocado Green's founders: Hey Change - Episode 028.
7. Find your Sacred Space
There's not secret to it, meditating will help you create balance in your everyday and bring peace of mind to your life. We recently installed a daily meditation practice before bed when we plant our butts on the floor and just sit quietly for 10-15 minutes. No pressure attached, just a time to allow ourselves to quiet our minds and bring our energy back to where it's supposed to be. Before we go into meditation mode we've made sure to check our last emails and said good nights to our moms, because it's airplane mode from there on!
You can meditate on a chair or a pillow on the floor and it's really just about finding a position that works for you. I've fallen in love with this meditation set from Project Full, made by hand with organic, natural and vegan materials! Check them out here!
8. Be creative and make it personal
Lastly, building a conscious, sustainable and loving home is really about being creative and finding pieces that will make it yours. Bring home sand and other signs of nature from your adventures, place them in a repurposed jar, add a candle and voila - coziness to minimized cost and with great deal of intention! You can also save old wine corks and place them in jars for decoration or use fruits and foods that do well on the counter to add some color and life. Try to stay away from buying too many flowers (unless they're local) as the flower industry is a pretty unsustainable one, and choose to invest in plants that will live long and become your buddy at home. A buddy that breathes you air and gives you love - quite literally.
Thoughts or question about the article? Any tips you've found on creating your own conscious home? Please send me a line!