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HOW TO FIND ECO-FRIENDLY & SUSTAINABLE FURNITURE IN THE MODERN WORLD

Interest in sustainable furniture continues to grow as eco-friendly technology, like electric cars, become mainstays in our everyday lives. Green furniture companies are sprouting up in response, producing furniture that is sustainable and eco-friendly for the environmentally-conscious consumer.

What Is Green Furniture?

Sustainable furniture is based on the closed-loop cycle of recycling. The goal of sustainable furniture companies is to design furniture that can be continually reused, disassembled and then reused again – or that can be used throughout a lifetime (or two). Most sustainable furniture companies also focus on reducing the environmental impact of their items, such as using reclaimed materials or non-toxic furniture stains.
The environmental impact, and importance, of buying eco-friendly furniture is often overlooked. Traditional sofas, beds and other furnishings, are major polluters of our homes.
Additionally, the EPA suggests that indoor air quality is often 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air quality. Given that we spend 90 percent of our time indoors, purchasing furniture that’s good for the environment and our personal health is important. Many people are curious to learn how to find eco-friendly and sustainable furniture, as well as eco-friendly furniture companies.

HOW TO FIND SUSTAINABLE FURNITURE

Finding sustainable furniture all begins with research. It’s easy for companies to claim their furniture is green or eco-friendly, but many organizations now certify sustainable furniture materials. Educate yourself about these certifications and what qualifies furniture as sustainable, and you’ll be able to make smart decisions regarding your furniture purchases.

What Are Sustainable Furniture Materials?

Sustainable furniture materials include a variety of resources, from reclaimed wood to LED lights. The type of material, as well as how it was obtained, factor into its sustainable classification. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), for example, certifies wood as sustainably harvested. Sustainable, responsible harvests ensure that the natural ecosystem remains in place and is able to maintain itself. As a result, the forest continues to grow and produce wood. Tree farms and forests are examples of areas that qualify for certification.

Recycled and Reclaimed Materials

Some eco-friendly furniture companies use reclaimed or recycled materials, like wood, glass and iron to create sustainable furniture. Old furniture, homes and other structures often provide the reclaimed items. Companies have even used factory wood scraps or flawed wood pieces for their sustainable furniture. Wood is a popular choice for manufacturers because it’s durable, even if it’s been mishandled throughout the years. Reclaimed pine, for example, is a popular finish for the Cristallo table.
The Rainforest Alliance helps determine if a piece of furniture actually uses reclaimed wood. The non-profit organization provide the Rediscovered Wood Certification to qualifying furniture pieces. Sustainable furniture may also be certified Cradle to Cradle (C2C), which in part says that the furniture can be dismantled. Its individual parts can be recycled at a facility or reused in other furniture. Easy furniture disassembly also allows for quick and easy repairs, which extend the life of the piece.
Furnishings consisting of recyclable materials, like most plastics or metals, help eco-friendly furniture companies by saving them from purchasing additional resources. Recurve is an example of a chair made from recycled aluminum.

Non-Toxic Lacquers

The familiar “new car” smell associated with cars, furniture and other items is a result of manufacturers using unnatural and sometimes toxic substances, like solvent-based lacquers, to treat or finish a product. Solvent-based lacquers contribute to the pollution in your home by emitting, or off-gassing, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), like formaldehyde. Water-based lacquers are a green alternative to finishing wood furniture.
Furniture can be certified by Greenguard or Oeko-Tex for low toxicity rates. Unfinished furniture can also be found, though you’ll still want to varnish it with natural wood finishes to extend its life and protect it from heat, moisture and general wear.
If you’re unsure if a varnish is solvent or water-based, check the label. Most varnishes will note if they have a low VOC, which is what you want.

CLEANING PRODUCTS

The best way to to clean your green furniture is with green cleaning products. It will help your pieces last longer, while protecting the environment. That's why we like EcoSense cleaners from Melaleuca. These Melaleuca products are super concentrated, so the company ships less water and uses less plastic than other brands. Melaleuca's EcoSense cleaners include Clear Power Glass Cleaner, Sol-u-Mel stain remover and Rustic Touch furniture polish. None of them contain chlorine bleach, ammonia, formaldehyde, or any other harmful, toxic substances, so you can use them knowing your furniture, home and family are safe. But don;t take our word for it: Check out the Melaleuca reviews online to see what customers have to say about their experience using these products.

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How to Safely Transport Furniture

Transporting heavy furniture is not an easy task, but following some of these tips can make it an easier and safer process. If you are a first-time home buyer, or simply moving out for the first time, it is important that you don’t hurt yourself or wreck the furniture or the house.

Don't Transport Furniture with Items Inside

If you are trying to move a bookcase, make sure you remove all the books from inside it. Although this one might seem obvious, a lot of people try doing this so as not to have to package as much. Same thing goes for furniture that has clothes or other items; this will only make furniture lifting heavier than needs be and items will most likely fall out in the moving process. Make sure you box up clothes and books until they can be placed back where they belong.

Shipping Cases

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Shipping cases are furniture designed and can store chairs, stools, and tables all in one. This allows for more efficiency and room in the moving truck. Usually, the shipping case weighs around 30 pounds.

Safety

When carrying heavy furniture, you can easily hurt your back. Make sure you bend your knees slightly and lift with your legs, instead of your back. Your back should remain straight. To transport furniture safely, it is important that you stay safe, so also invite neighbors or friends to help you out.

Check Condition

It is important that you check for any existing damage to your furniture before transporting it. Record the damage and take pictures of it as well. With second hand furniture, make sure the seller includes all details of furniture damage to settle disputes later.

Take Apart

Removing knobs or any other protruding items from furniture is essential. This is important for glass items as well, because they can break easily. Make sure you place the knobs, nuts, and bolts in baggies and label them so as not to lose.

Insurance

If you are using a furniture hauler to transport your furniture, they usually provide insurance to cover any damages or loss. The amount of insurance you want to pay is up to you. There are many different insurance costs and coverages you can choose from.

Moving furniture can be daunting, and the hardest task, but it is not impossible. If you’re careful, cognizant, and proactive, you can mitigate the challenge and make the experience almost enjoyable.

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5 Dangerous Kitchen Design Mistakes

The kitchen is where all of the hard, dangerous work takes place. There are countless dangers - floor spills, faulty stoves and damaged electrical appliances - that await anyone who enters. Fortunately, there are ways to avert these dangers if you plan to pursue kitchen remodeling. Learn about 5 dangerous design mistakes to avoid incorporating into your kitchen layout.

1. Lack of Storage Space

Not having enough storage space in your kitchen seems harmless, but it's not when people start pushing and shoving into each other. Not enough space means that people will overload the cabinet and pantry shelves with excessive weight. Too much pressure could loosen the bolts and have the shelves collapse on top of each other.

2. Poor Lighting

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Poor lighting in any room is a major defect that causes dangerous accidents. In the kitchen, the best chefs accidentally cut themselves or use the wrong ingredients in their recipes. Install LED lights that provide sufficient brightness for years of use. Install task lighting that shines light directly onto the stove, sink or counter.

3. Mixing Water with Electricity

Keep electrical sockets at least one foot away from water sources. Do not encourage people to plug in electronics and let cords dangle in the water. Don't allow the blender and toaster to get splashed by water from the nearby sink.

4. Lack of Counter Space

Not enough counter space is dangerous when the counter overflows with items. Not having enough electrical sockets is an issue if too many electronics are plugged in and overload the circuits. People who use small counters will drop food and sharp objects that cause accidents, including slips and falls.

5. Wooden Floors

Wood gives an elegant, classic look to the floor; however, it may not be the best choice for kitchens. This floor must support a countless number of liquid spills, so use a material that is waterproof and leak resistant.

Un-laminated wood rots, and in the worst scenario, the wood pieces break off into sharp shards. Instead of average wooden floors, install tiles or wood that is laminated for anti-breakage strength.

The kitchen needs special attention since it is the most hazardous room in your house. Follow a few important tips to keep this area clean, comfortable and safe. Make sure you only use safe and natural cleaners in your kitchen and your entire home. Melaleuca products are the way to go, as they contain naturally-derived ingredients like vinegar and citric acid from lemons. And the products do a really good job based on Melaleuca reviews shared by customers online. Always put safety on the top of your list as a kitchen remodeler.

References

How Stuff Works

Personal Injury Lawyer

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5 Most Dangerous Household Items

Keep your family safe by doing a check around your home for dangerous household items. Here are a few tips on what to look for.

 

1. Wood Burning Stoves and Fireplaces

 

Burning wood in a stove or fireplace can give off dangerous fumes such as carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is practically undetectable to most people, because the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are non-specific. The best way to detect any dangerous levels is to have electronic detectors. Make sure to have carbon monoxide and home security detectors throughout your home to alert you if these fumes accumulate to dangerous levels.

 

2. Area Rugs

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Tripping and falling on an area rug is a common household occurrence. A fall can be especially dangerous for an elderly person. Throw rugs, like large area rugs or runners, are among the most hazardous household items. Throw rugs can be even more dangerous than stairs, since people walk across rugs more frequently than going up and down staircases. Remove any unnecessary area rugs from the home or secure them onto the floor firmly. Check the rugs periodically to make sure they're still firmly secured.

 

3. Extension Cords

 

Overloaded, outdated or poorly made extension cords are a leading cause of fire and injury. Purchase only cords that have been approved by an independent testing laboratory. For outdoor projects, use only extension cords marked for outdoor use. Never load an extension cord beyond its capacity, which should be clearly printed on its label. Be sure to replace cords that appear worn, frayed or burnt. Don't run extension cords under carpets or throw rugs where they can overheat.

 

4. Clothes Dryers

 

Clothes dryers present a double threat. One is a source of potential fire, the other child entrapment. Always be sure to keep the lint trap free of excess materials to avoid a fire starting. Make it a habit of checking the lint trap before using the dryer. Also, always supervise young children around the dryer.

 

5. Space Heaters

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Space heaters are one of the most common origins of household fires. Never leave a space heater unsupervised. If you're leaving the room for more than a few minutes, turn it off. Always place heaters at least three feet from beds, furniture, curtains or anything else that's flammable. Also, always be sure to turn off space heaters when sleeping.

 

Keeping your family safe in your home is always a top priority. Taking extra precautions with household items helps keep you and your family safer.

 

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5 Tips for De-Cluttering Your Home

The notion of having an uncluttered, simplified life with fewer things is attractive to many. There are benefits to owning fewer things like less debt, less to clean, more money and time for different passions. Consumerism and materialism lead to anxiety and depression. These people are ready to remove the clutter from their life, and you might be ready too. Unfortunately, when you and everyone else builds the courage to finally do it, you find yourself wondering where and how to even start. Hopefully, these five tips will help get you on your way.

 

Look for Storage Units

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You might as well do this first because you are going to need it. According to Storage Units Chatsworth, storage units are a great solution for keeping items of sentimental value. There are things you rarely look at, never use but will never throw away. This is not necessarily hoarding. Things of sentimental value or things you want to eventually pass on to kids or grandchildren still take up space and time, so a storage unit is the perfect place for them. You can go and dig them out when the time is right.

 

Start Filling a Trash Bag at a Time

At the beginning of your organizing journey, a good first step is towards simplicity is to grab one large trash bag. Then, just start filling it with as much stuff as you can. You will notice a lot of it belongs directly in the dumpster, but there will be plenty of bags you can take to the Salvation Army for the less fortunate.

 

Take the 12-12-12 Challenge

The 12-12-12 Challenge is a popular way to increase the simplicity in your life. First you find 12 things to throw in the trash. Next, you locate 12 items worth donating. Finally, you find 12 item you can reorganize into their proper place. That is 36 things you have quickly organized in your house. You could tack another 12 items on for things in your storage unit too.

 

The Four-Box Method

It is important to do this for every item in every room. You need to buy four large boxes for every room. One box is for items to keep, another for trash, another to donate and one to relocate items. Every item in every room must be labeled for a box. It is important.

 

Use Your Imagination

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This is a powerful psychological trick to employ before and after you begin for motivation and reward. Ask yourself how much you would pay for your house before you start cleaning it up. After you have organized it, ask yourself the same question. The difference in the figures will astound you.

 

Many people feel anxious, overwhelmed and even defeated at the idea of removing clutter and possessions from their homes. It is perfectly natural, but it can't stop you. It does not have to be as painful and dramatic as some people make it out to be, especially on television. You can come up with creative, fun ways to do it. It is not the end of the world. It is the beginning of a less stressful life.

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5 Ways to Increase Domestic Accessibility for Seniors

Seniors have special needs that require consideration as the effects of age begin to take their toll. Many of them cannot function quickly or use much body strength. Some of them are wheelchair bound, and others have trouble seeing. Most importantly, elderly bodies don’t heal as quickly or as effectively as they did in former years. Injuries resulting from falls can have a devastating effect on the continued health of our seniors. If you are a child or a care provider for an individual reaching their golden years, there are some home-improvement modifications which can help improve and sustain their quality of life. Consider some of these suggestions:

1. Install a Stair Lift or Elevator

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Ramblers and one-story apartments are ideal for aging individuals, but moving is inconvenient and not necessary at every stage of aging. Alternatively, consider installing a stair lift to move from one story to the next or install an elevator. The motorized lift is designed for elderly people who have problems walking up the stairs and not just wheelchaired individuals. These devices improve mobility and safety.

2. Install Bathroom Safety Features

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The bathroom is the most dangerous place for seniors. Many of them spend a lot of time in the bathroom, and most of their accidents occur in this room. At the least, build lift rails near the bath and hand rails for ease of walking. Place rugs on the floor to prevent common slips and falls. Medicare and other insurance may even approve the installation of a walk-in bath if recommended by a medical professional.

3. Install Motion Sensor Lights and Doors

Install motion sensors that provide automatic controls for your lights and doors. You should be concerned about the overall safety of your senior parents at home. Innovations in home automation and security systems can protect against burglary and even alert you to accidents and wandering dementia patients. Research security systems for seniors that are affordable and reliable.

4. Eliminate Fire Hazards

Oil fires or electrical fires pose a significant threat to seniors. Smoke inhalation can seriously disrupt health, and aging bodies may not be able to respond as quickly to a fire outbreak. Dementia patients are particularly vulnerable, as they may leave on stoves and ovens or engage in other risky behaviors. Prevent fires by eliminating potential fire hazards around the house. Be cautious about where you put candles and flammable items. Install smoke detectors or sprinklers that turn on automatically.

5. Make Use of Handrails

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Install handrails that guide elderly people as they move around the house. Slips and falls are the most common accidents that harm seniors. Handrails can help improve mobility, independence, and dignity without exposing them to unnecessary risk.

Seniors want to be treated with respect and maintain their dignity. They want to feel that they are intelligent and valued. While the effects of age will inevitably take a toll on their independence, we have a responsibility to honor the elders of our generation by helping them enjoy their last years to the best of our ability. Accessibility, mobility, and safety are vital to this effort.

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The Difference between Green Furniture and Sustainable Furniture

Many furniture companies claim their products are “green,” a designation usually referring to material sourcing. Maybe their sofa frames are made out of dumpster-sourced scrap metal or their cushions are filled with used ticker tape. Responsible material sourcing is important, but it does not necessarily make something sustainable; that is, able to exist in perpetuity from an environmental and resource consumption standpoint.

When it comes to sustainability, size does matter. Here’s why:

  • One of the best ways, if not the best way of reducing our carbon footprints and natural resource consumption is to reduce the physical footprints of our homes.
  • Smaller homes produce less operational carbon emissions, (e.g., heating and cooling) than larger homes and are less resource intensive to build.
  • Smaller homes tend to discourage excessive consumerismmitigating that behavior’s attendant environmental impact.
  • Smaller homes typically support denser, more transit friendly communities, which, by their very nature, allow for a reduction in associated transit emissions.

Location, Location, Location

When thinking about sustainable housing, the name of the game is location, location, location. An EPA study found that an energy efficient single family suburban house plus a fuel efficient car can cut your carbon footprint by 34% as compared to a conventional, single family, suburban house and a car with average fuel economy. While this is a significant improvement over a standard single-family home, the same study found that living in an energy efficient multifamily house (i.e. housing with two or more units such as a townhouse or apartment) with access to public transportation reduces your carbon footprint by 62% - and that still assumes car ownership.

As one would expect, multifamily housing units are typically smaller than single-family houses. The median size of a new multifamily unit is 1,074 square feet, whereas the median size of a new single family home is 2,467 square feet. But with a smaller – albeit more environmentally-friendly – footprint can come some challenges regarding functionality, especially as a household grows or changes over time.

Let’s face it, it’s the desire for – or perceived need for – more space that frequently drives people out of central, transit-friendly locations in search of more square footage. Since housing in most urban cores is considerably more expensive than suburban housing on a per square foot basis, moving to a larger home in a central location can be cost-prohibitive.

Increase Function, Not Footprints

All this is to say that furniture is only as sustainable as its setting. Space-maximizing furniture solutions from Resource Furniture can remove some of the reasons that people move further out in search of more space, by increasing functionality without increasing the physical footprint. Every product from Resource Furniture is not only manufactured using highly sustainable methods and materials, but also provide the same level of comfort and functionality as conventional furniture pieces and they are designed and built to last. Each of nine Resource Furniture showrooms offers a vast selection of multifunctional, space-saving furniture solutions that allow people to live comfortably and luxuriously in a truly sustainable setting.

By multiplying the function of a single space, combining rooms, making existing spaces work more efficiently, and utilizing high-quality multifunctional furniture, less square footage is required. Needing less space, one can live more centrally, drive less, walk more and consume fewer resources. In other words – live a sustainable life, not just a green one.

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Getting Your Small Space Ready for the Holidays

Whether you’re hosting a large holiday dinner, a festive cocktail party or a casual brunch, the key to getting the most out of your space this season is with a flexible mindset.  Use these tips to get inspired for this year’s festivities and to plan ahead for next year:

Rearrange (and get creative!)
Rearrange your furniture to limit crowding and ensure there’s enough space to make you and your guests comfortable. The double-sided Flex Sofa is an ideal way to achieve maximum quality time with friends and family. A sofa with a wide, sturdy structure and movable backrests is perfect for perching on from all angles. Have fun decorating your space for the holidays, but make sure there is enough room on counters, shelves, and side tables for your company to place plates of food and drinks. Think of unique solutions to maximize your space by having items serve double-duty on the day of your gathering. Try clearing off a shelf on a bookcase to create a temporary bar or snack station.

What to do with all those coats?
Make sure you think ahead and plan for where your guests can keep their coats and bags – the last thing you’ll need in your small space is clutter! Short on closet space? Keep winter coats and bags out of the way by hanging them along a wall with hooks – like the Hidden – a much more organized alternative to piling coats on someone’s bed.

Making mealtime easy
Consider using a transforming table that can be extended to full size at mealtime to seat everyone while they eat, but can be tucked away or used for a different purpose when not in use. The Goliath console can serve as small bar area or snack table throughout the night, but come mealtime it can seat up to ten hungry guests.
If you can forgo the formalities of a sit-down meal, putting out a number of small plates around the room or having guests grab food buffet-style from the kitchen is a fun and social alternative to crowding around a table elbow-to-elbow. “Pot lucks and lounging around informally make for the best memories,” says Jacqueline Schmidt, Director of Design at Ollie. “Easy set up and clean up and more time to spend together, which is what matters the most!”

Accommodating for overnight guests
The holidays are a great time for gathering with family and friends, but sometimes those short-term guests can turn into long-term ones. Anticipate both your expected and unexpected guests by having a plan in place. A sofa wall bed system such as the Swing will not only provide you with an extra sleeping spot, but also features extra storage and can be folded up to provide space and everyday seating so that your home doesn’t feel too crowded.

Keeping things fresh
A lot of people crammed into a smaller space can make for a stuffy environment. If you can do it without freezing, open windows occasionally to provide circulation and air flow. You can also use air freshening sprays or candles to keep the atmosphere inviting and smelling good. Revive candles and room sprays from Melaleuca.com come in a variety of festive scents for the holiday season.

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Health Check: how to get off the couch and into exercise

Jordan Smith, University of Newcastle

Current guidelines suggest Aussie adults should accrue at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. However, 60% of us fail to meet this recommendation, and around one in six aren’t doing any regular exercise at all.

If this sounds like you, don’t despair. Studies show that any amount of physical activity is better than none. So there’s a strong rationale for getting off the couch, even if 150 minutes seems impossible.