There’s no doubt about it, the past couple of years have been a rocky ride for all of us, and we can be forgiven for letting some of our healthy habits and best-laid plains fall by the wayside. But now that 2022 is here, it’s time to get things back on track with some New Year’s resolutions for the home.
Say it with us: This year I’m going to …
Moving around your house scooping up unnecessary items in a whirlwind-like fashion is the fun part. The not-so-fun part is working out what to do with said items without throwing them in the bin or dumping them in front of an op shop already overloaded with people’s unwanted belongings.
With a little bit of research, you’ll find that even the most random items can be rehomed. Companies such as Upparel will collect sealed boxes of clothing, clothing scraps, pairs of shoes, socks, bags, sheets, curtains and more, while second-hand mattresses can be collected by outfits like Mattress Recycling Australia. Of course, there are always online marketplaces.
It’s one of those things we’re always about to start doing. The truth is that composting is actually far easier than it seems and the planet will thank you for sparing it unnecessary methane emissions.
If you have a backyard, simply buy a compost bin, position it somewhere in your garden (placing it in the middle of the veggie patch means it can also leach nutrients into the soil) and work out what can be put in there (eggshells, coffee grounds, vegetable scraps, brown paper bags) and what can’t (dairy, meat, old iPhones). If you live in an apartment, fear not: there are small-scale alternatives to get the job done.
While it can be tempting to jump on the latest trend or stock up on cheap household items that tick the box for now, there’s a lot to be said for investing in items with longevity.
We’re talking solid timber furniture, wool or handmade rugs, artwork by local up-and-coming artists and good quality appliances. Not to get too “Marie Kondo” about it, but go for things you’re genuinely in love with – these will stand the test of time.
The pandemic has shown us the fragility of both the global supply chain and small businesses. Shopping in your own community has huge benefits for local economies (not to mention lowering your carbon footprint). It means becoming a destination shopper whose day involves visiting the butcher, baker and candlestick maker, just like in the days of yore! It means shopping at bulk food shops and farmers’ markets, cane basket in hand. And it means being a little more organised, but it’s worth it.
Do a scroll through Instagram or TikTok and you’ll see plenty of influencers who have a knack for making everyday objects look good – even food sitting idly in the fridge or pantry! This carefully curated look is something you can easily achieve in your home, too.
For a super functional and super stylish space, all you’ll need are jars (which you can then refill at your local bulk food shop), labels, calico bags and the know-how to properly store your fruit and vegetables.
Herbs, for example, can be wrapped in damp paper towels and stored in an airtight container in the fridge, while your bread, garlic and onions can live in a calico or mesh bag. (The plastic containers drawer and medicine cabinet are next, but, baby steps).
While not all of us can build passive houses, there are plenty of little changes we can make to improve our personal energy rating. This goes for renters, too.
Start by turning off appliances at the wall, choosing energy-efficient appliances, doing your washing on sunny or windy days when it can dry outside, swapping out fluorescent light globes for LED or other low wattage options, and making use of curtains and blinds to keep heat in or out. Choosing electric over gas, installing double-glazed windows and improving your insulation will help, too.