Although 2020 presented some unique challenges for most of us, 2021 is a chance for new beginnings. Each new year is an opportunity to utilize lessons learned from the previous, and here at LIM Living we certainly had many lessons learned as we made (and sometimes stumbled) our way through 2020. While many of us will still be starting the new year in lockdown, it’s still time to get back on track! What better way to kick off 2021 than adopting some sustainable resolutions to transform your space into a more healthy and sustainable one?
No matter where you’re living, here are 6 simple changes you can make in your household to take-on an eco-friendly 2021.
1. Start Your Journey to Downsizing and DeCluttering
By only living with what you truly need, you consume and produce less waste. When you make an impulse buy or purchase a single-use item, there is a strong likelihood that both the packaging and eventually the product will end up in the landfill. Why spend your money on future trash if you can avoid it? Start your year by going through your clutter and asking yourself if it serves a meaningful purpose in your life. Once you have your pile, make sure that you rehome everything so it doesn’t end up in the landfill! Donate to your local charity, thrift store, or even sell old belongings online! Check out Poshmark to rehome clothes, or Craigslist for more general items.
Once you’ve decluttered as much as possible, you’ll likely want to keep it that way! When you do want to purchase something new, some good questions to ask yourself before you make the purchase are:
- Do I really need it?
- Do I really want it?
- Where will I put it?
- How often will I actually use it?
- Do I already have something similar that I could use instead?
While embarking upon a minimalistic lifestyle can feel truly overwhelming at first, you can ease into these habits by starting little by little. Even taking a break of a few days – or even weeks – as you go through each room in your home and decide what you should and shouldn’t keep can help break down the task and make it feel less daunting.
2. Shop Local
While making the commitment to buy only what we need is a great step, we do have necessities, so it is nearly impossible to not purchase anything at all. When you do need to buy groceries, furniture, or day-to-day items, try to purchase locally sourced products! Not only can you get a better deal, but you’ll also save excess fossil fuels by reducing the overall transportation process of these items. Check out your local thrift stores, farmer’s markets, and Facebook Marketplace for gently used items in your area! You can even find a directory of farmers’ markets near you here and here!
3. Upgrade to low-flow fixtures and energy-efficient appliances
According to the EPA, the average American family uses over 300 gallons of water a day and 10,649-kilowatt hours a year. If you’re in the market for new appliances and are looking to reduce your water and electricity usage, consider upgrading to household devices that contribute minimal impact. When shopping, try looking for labels and certifications like WaterSense and ENERGY STAR. You won’t only save thousands of gallons and hundreds of kilowatts annually, but you will also save money. You can check out a general estimate of how much you might save by switching to WaterSense labeled fixtures here and EnergyStar certified appliances here.
All of LIM Living’s home’s appliances and fixtures are both WaterSense and ENERGY STAR certified, so clients know they are creating a limited impact on the environment, all while being able to do their day-to-day activities comfortably. You can learn more about the sustainability efforts by LIM Living here.
4. Look for reusable or “upcyclable” wood/bamboo, glass, and stainless steel/aluminum alternatives to one-time use plastic packaging
So you’ve made the commitment to only buy what you need and to shop locally, but you can’t always avoid those items with relatively short life cycles. We still need things like toothbrushes and deodorant (and maybe you aren’t ready to DIY your life yet!) Luckily, there are many innovative companies on the market that have created more sustainable alternatives to plastic items. Next time you purchase toothbrushes for your home, look for bamboo instead of plastic (and watch out to make sure those bristles aren’t plastic as well.) Swap plastic Tupperware and water bottles for glass, or try using bar shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Not only are these changes better for the earth, but they’re better for you too. Once you’re done with a single-use container, get creative with ways you can upcycle it! That old glass peanut butter jar makes for a great herb vase. With a little bit of inventiveness, old bottles, mugs and bowls can be converted into some truly stunning light fixtures. Next time you’re about to toss something, don’t be afraid to get creative to find another way to get some more use out of it. We even find that we usually prefer the repurposed versions better than the originals!
5. Craft Your Own Cleaning Products for a Polished and Healthy Home
A clean home is a happy home, but an eco-friendly home is even happier! Many cleaning products found on the market contain icky chemicals in plastic containers that are awful for the planet and questionable for your health. Use those upcycled containers from tip #4 and make your own cleaning supplies with simple products. Budget-friendly household items make your home sparkle while having less of an impact on the earth. Try out our favorite DIY all-purpose cleaner that is only 3 ingredients!
In a glass spray bottle use
- One part distilled vinegar
- One part water
- 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil
6. Get a Green Thumb this year with native vegetation and learning to compost
Start a garden at home with native plants, or in-season and/or local produce. By researching and choosing to plant what is local, you’ll likely use less water and fertilizer, since this vegetation naturally thrives in your location and has built a defense against endemic pests.
Take it a step further and see if some of your favorite veggies can be easily grown in your climate! By growing your own food, you are reducing the need for fossil fuels used in transportation that would ship your food. You are also minimizing the chemicals used on farmed foods that harm the environment. When you are starting out, test the waters by growing only 2-3 produce items that your family often eats.
Why toss out your scraps to a landfill when you can compost them for your garden? Composting reduces the need for chemical fertilizers with rich nutrient soil. Composting can be easy, even if you are living in a micro-home! Get a small compost pail for indoor kitchens, or a larger bin for your outdoor garden. Check out the EPA’s guide to composting here!
You can start the path to a less-is-more lifestyle in 2021 by implementing just one or all six of these resolutions. Every decision you make can set you on the path to creating a greener planet. Try executing one of these changes each month or every other month to gradually make a lifestyle change. Giving one a shot? Let us know on Instagram what you are doing in the New Year to better the planet!