The Team at Thomas Designs have been discussing easy ways besides our regular business practices to help create a more eco friendly world. The number one most wasteful places in the home is our beloved kitchens. Most have single use paper towels, plastic packaging, ‘non-stick’ pans and more. Though they seem to be convenient to use in the moment, in the long run that short cut creates much more of a long term impact than we can ever imagine!
We hate how many of those thin plastic vegetable bags we end up taking home from the grocery store. Reusable washable grocery bags are where it is at! Same with purchasing dry goods, keeping mason jars handy is a great way to help out as well! Here are some inexpensive mason Jars. and a link to an Etsy shop that makes beautiful and modern reusable grocery bags.
Nooo, Not our non-stick pans! Trust us, after a quick google search you will be wanting to get rid of every single one you have. Non stick and teflon pans are known to be toxic! It’s basically cooking your food on plastic. There are great alternatives such as ceramic pots and pans as well as cast iron! Here is a great article detailing the best way to dispose of your nonstick pans.
Paper towels are always convenient to have around but they are so wasteful! We use to go through one roll in just a few days until we started using our towel baskets. One is full of clean ones and the other we throw all of dirty towels. We end up washing them every other week and it really helps reduce the paper towels we use! Another option is washable bamboo paper towels that are reusable--Too cool!
Recycle Plastic Utensils
This one goes hand in hand with the non stick pan one. Heating plastic is NEVER a good idea! Replace with cheap and beautiful wooden/metal cooking utensils. You can get super cute personalized ones from Etsy here. FORGET plastic wrap and tin foil. We use beeswax wrap in this studio! This is something you can purchase or make yourself. Here is a blog about how to do that:
Thanks for reading and please share this with your friends. Let’s see how these small changes can help!
Remodeling your home is an investment of your time and money so considering what you want to focus should be taken seriously. To make it a bit easier, the Team at Thomas Designs came up with a list of the 3 things you can do to your home that will increase its resale value and three things you could put at the bottom of your to-do list.
Kitchens are one of the more complicated and expensive things to renovate in a home but the outcome and future resale value for that effort is shown to be very profitable. We love creating kitchens with innovative storage solutions and energy efficient appliances. Effective kitchens are usually at the top of any potential home buyers list and also great to enjoy before you sell. Who doesn’t love a brand new kitchen?
2. Curb Appeal
Home Buyers are looking for something that gets their heart pounding and the best place to start is before they even step in the home. The power of a fresh coat of paint, strategically placed stepping stones or low maintenance/ drought friendly greenery are quick fixes that could add a lot of value to your home in a rather short amount of time. Working with a designer to pull together an eye grabbing front yard will definitely be worth it in the future for selling purposes.
Everyone wants to have a beautiful and functional bathroom. Taking the time to invest in a classic, crisp/clean design will definitely be a crowd pleaser. Bathrooms are a great opportunity to add eco-conscience plumbing fixtures that will help with the cost of running your household.
If you are concerned about budget and need to keep the list down to a minimum, the cost to benefit ratio for the options below are not so great, so keeping these off your priority list may be a good option:
At Thomas Designs it is our passion to promote and use the most efficient home goods as possible. Today we are going to break down the pros and cons of investing in High Efficiency washers and dryers and if it’s all we hope it is.
Keep in mind, these are general statements about the technology and is not brand specific.
The pros to a high efficiency washer and dryer is that they are better for the environment than typical washer and dryers. The bullet points for the benefits are that they use less water, less energy, and less detergent! The reason behind this is because it spins slower than a typical washer. All these things add up to cleaner clothing and less dirty water to process.
There aren't really cons to the argument but there are things that must be noted. Due to the spin being slower, it takes a bit longer to wash and dry. Due to the slower spin, you actually need to purchase a specialised laundry detergent but these pods are better for the environment and use less soap. Beyond that, they typically cost a bit more than a run of the mill washer but the long term investment of helping out the planet while washing clothing is worth every penny!
After looking at different sites listed below, our opinion is that they are worth the hype! Personally we have used high efficiency washers and dryers and have loved them!
Uses Less Water!
Less energy (by spinning slower)
Less suds = better cleanliness!
Same cost per load
Takes longer to dry items
Cannot dry certain items like water proof items
Must use special detergent
Initially more money than traditional washers but better investment in the long term
1. Fresh Flowers or Suculents
We know that not everyone can spend moolah on new furnishings or has the time to repaint their house, so the first tip on our list is bringing home some fresh flowers from the a place like Trader Joes market. They have the best selection for little dinero. Need a vase? Go check out your local second hand store for unique and sometimes vintage finds! If you don't have a garden of your own take the family or your dog for a walk in one of our beautiful Bay Area neighborhoods and check out what's blooming. Ask your neighbors if you can cut some of their beautiful flowers; maybe you'll make a new friend in the process.
2. Fresh Paint
This one takes a bit more time but can be a huge change to your space! Paint stores can provide "paint brush outs" which are 8.5 x 11 cardboard sheets that you can place around your home to make sure you love the color before you paint the walls. Small cans of paint are sold for under 10 dollars at most paint stores and it is usually perfectly enough to paint an accent wall. Not wanting to paint a wall? Repaint or refinish a piece of your furnishings to add a bit of spunk to the space.
3. New Linens
Our bedrooms should be sanctuaries. Think about the last time you got yourself a new set of sheets? Maybe it’s time to add a new set in to the rotation. We love the this Certified organic fair trade version by our friends at Pact! https://wearpact.com/bedding (they even have crib sheets) Also check out their fun basic 100% cotton clothes; we love to lounge in these babaies! http://tinyurl.com/yxsfce57
4) New Accent Pillows
This last one is applicable for any place that you have accent pillows! Take a look at Homegoods for new pillows at a discount. If you aren’t wanting to add more clutter to your closets, take a trip to the fabric store and find some fabric to make new covers for the pillows you already have! If your not crafty take a look to Etsy. We love to see what hand made treasures they they have! We're loving these beauties http://tinyurl.com/y6ddh8h7
Do you think your home needs a makeover? Perhaps you need to breathe new life into a dull office space? Whether you need to do one of these or both, you need a professional designer by your side to guide you. Choosing one can be overwhelming the first time around. Here are answers to some questions that can help you make an informed decision:
1. What should I do before hiring an interior designer?
All of us have different tastes which are reflected in our design preferences. This includes interior designers who may or may not have the same tastes as you do. Keep in mind when reviewing a designers portfolio that a great designer can design for any one so their portfolios will reflect this (ours definitely does!)
2. How can I work well with my designer?
It’s a working relationship like any other so you should not be afraid to voice your opinion. Of course, like any challenge, you may have differences of opinion on colors, design elements, style, etc. but that is normal and part of the process. However, if the designer refuses to listen to your needs and/or keeps talking over you, then you should look for someone who you can connect with aesthetically.
3. Which rooms can and interior designer work with?
Most interior designers are skilled when it comes to designing kitchens, office spaces, living rooms, closets, bathrooms along with other home spaces. Some specialize in designing for physically challenged individuals, children, and seniors, while others have their own niche.
by Alice Robertson
Since the first modern landfill was opened in California in 1937, the United States has changed the way we deal with trash and unwanted household items. However, there is a better way. Instead of being part of the problem, you can be part of the solution by going green in your home decluttering efforts. Through small actions, such as using green cleaners and setting up neighborhood swaps, you can make a big difference in your home and community.
Forget Retail: Sale and Swap
Every American creates, on average, 4.5 pounds each of trash every day. Much of this waste is made up of perfectly usable items, such as clothing, furniture, and appliances. When you have a house full stuff you no longer need, consider setting up a neighborhood swap or hosting a yard sale. A neighborhood swap shop, according to PlanetPals.com, is an excellent way to repurpose tools, food, office and school supplies, and sporting goods. It’s also an opportunity for you to get to know your neighbors and proves that one man’s trash is another’s treasure. Similarly, hosting a garage sale is an excellent way for you to turn your belongings into cash. Money Crashers’ offers advice on organizing a successful garage sale.
In addition to your overall decluttering efforts, you can keep chemicals and nonbiodegradable plastics to a minimum by utilizing green cleaning techniques. Homemade cleaners, such as these from Good Housekeeping, are non-toxic and utilize common kitchen staples, including vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda. A maid service, which costs between $117 and $225 in the San Francisco area, can help you tackle the initial interior cleaning. Discuss with your preferred service provider ahead of time your insistence on natural products.
When You Can’t Reuse, Recycle
There are untold billions of pounds of perfectly recyclable goods clogging up both landfills and the ocean right now. Aside from metal, plastic, and glass, you can recycle paper and cardboard, lightbulbs, batteries, and electronics. Waste Management reports that 29 percent of waste in the US comes from paper products. Invest in a photo scanner for pictures and documents and store these online, which will not only free up space but will reduce your environmental footprint.
If you run a business or have an unusually large collection of electronics, contact your local green disposal company for options. Green Citizen in the Bay Area is one such company that accepts electronic waste and either dismantles and disposes of these items responsibly or refurbishes them for later use. By keeping electronics out of landfills, you not only eliminate mass but also reduce the number of harmful chemicals that leach into the surrounding terrain. Components of our smart devices and computers contain heavy metals, such as mercury and cadmium, that can have a long-lasting and far-reaching negative effect on the environment.
It’s not always feasible or desirable to get rid of everything. If you’re moving to a larger home or have a collection of heirlooms you would like to pass down to your children or grandchildren, a self-storage unit can help you keep your living space clean without giving up the things you love. However, make sure your storage unit is environmentally friendly by choosing an insulated facility and packing your possessions in sturdy, biodegradable cardboard containers.
We only have one world. It is up to us to ensure that it remains beautiful throughout our lifetimes and for generations to come. Start at home by reusing and recycling where possible and maintaining your commitment to environmental sustainability when it’s not. Simple actions can make a big difference, and your good choices may create a ripple effect within your community.
Image via Pixabay
s Fall begins many of us are reminded of the New Year’s resolutions we made in January, be it to go to the gym more often, work less, or the dreaded get organized resolution.
We make these promises to ourselves with the best of intentions but end up getting sidetracked with our busy lives and our motivation wains. What we all need is a little encouragement and help! It is a proven fact that if our live and work spaces are well-organized we will live a more productive life. Or as Gretchen Rubin, author of the best-selling Happiness Project puts it “outer order contributes to inner calm. ” Seems easy enough but just how can we accomplish this? We have found this process to be helpful so keep clam and carry on...
1. First identify the problem: Simply state “I’m un-organized and I need to do something about it. ” Take a deep breath and be proud of yourself for taking the first step. This may sound a little silly but trust me it works.
2. Make a list of what you would like to accomplish (one small area at a time). For example you may want to clean up and organize your desk. First get rid of unnecessary times, then group things by type (i.e paper, office supplies, binders etc.) then you can put them away accordingly. You may need bins or drawers inserts or cabinets so make a list and measure to get the most optimized results.
3. Do it now: Don’t wait! Make it a point to start organizing and de cluttering today. You can start with a small project such as organizing the “junk drawer” or simply tiding up your space by putting unused things away but just start. This success with give you courage to move on to the next (larger) project.
4. Get help: For many this can be an overwhelming task. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you just can’t seem to get started on your own ask a friend for support. Or hire a professional organizer. We actually enjoy doing this and they may be able to help get the job done in half the time. A good book to consult is “If I could just get organized” By Karen Jogerst
5. Enjoy the process and keep your goals in site. Though this might be challenging but try to focus on the progress you’re making not what you have left to do. Put on music, pour a glass of wine whatever will make the process more enjoyable and have fun with it!
6. Reap the benefits: Acknowledge what you have accomplished and realize that living an organized life is a journey not a destination.
Top 15 things to get rid of or donate now:
1. DVDs you have watched and won’t watch again
2. Cushions, pillows or bedding that have lost their plumpness or are worn (TIP – If you love the cushion then you can re-fill with a faux down feather insert which will give it new life)
3. Clothes that don’t flatter you or that no longer look their best – either worn out or misshaped
4. Junk mail / old paperwork that is piling up
5. Hair or personal products you never use
6. Old used up pens
7. Greetings cards from past events (keep only those that are truly sentimental)
8. Shoes that hurt when you wear them
9. Out of date newspapers or take out menus
10. Used candles where the wick has worn down and can’t be lit again
11. Tupperware or plastic storage containers with missing lids
12. Children’s outside play equipment or Outside furniture that is faded, broken or past its best
13. Decorating / DIY supplies that you don’t require in your home (fixtures that you have since removed, old wallpaper etc…)
14. Excess loose change – gather it up and get it to Coinstar or donate it
15. Excess coat hangers (especially the wire ones!)
Good luck and we hope you enjoy your new more organized surroundings!
“You leave old habits behind by starting out with the thought, ‘I release the need for this in my life’.”–Wayne Dyer
Hello everyone! I am so excited to launch my new and improved blog site. I have so much to say and share in hopes of enhancing peoples lives and your environment making it a better all around place to live.
I opened Thomas Designs | Design with a Conscience in 2009 after working for some of the best Bay Area Interior Design Firms. Design is my life and my passion! Having my own firm has been a great experience and I am looking forward to an abundant year for us all. The purpose of this blog is to share my experiences in design, organization and a positive life style with anyone that is interested in listening. I have learned so much from others along the way and I'm a firm believer that we can all work together to obtain the knowledge that we need to lead an overall happy and healthy life.
Thanks for visiting my blog and be sure to check back regularly for new fresh design ideas and inspiration!