Going green when furniture shopping

Going green seems to be on our minds nowadays more than ever. We recognize that there are lots of ways we can shrink our carbon footprint whether it be by recycling paper goods or opting for reusable items in place of disposable ones. One arena we might not think to lower our footprint in is furniture shopping. There are, however, a few steps you can take to make a more conscientious purchase for your home.

When foraying into the green/sustainable shopping lifestyle it is always best to keep the term reduce, reuse, recycle in mind. Before running out to buy a new piece of furniture, albeit one with a smaller footprint, ask yourself how vital the piece of furniture you are looking for is. Is it highly functional and does it fit in well with your other pieces? Or is it a purchase you are making on a whim that does not have a purpose or fit in seamlessly with the rest of your decor? It is important to start with the big picture in mind and find a piece that you can keep, and love, for years to come.

Start with upcycling – check to see if you have something similar lying around the house that could be altered. Ask friends and family if they have unused furniture that would fit the bill and check second-hand shops in your area for pieces that will do the trick. If you are handy and/or creative think of ways a piece can be altered to better suit the needs of your home.

Try DIY – Consider making a piece on your own from scratch. Not only will it be an engaging project for the weekend you can be proud of but you will also have complete control of the final outcome allowing you to create a one-of-a-kind custom piece. When DIY-ing choose paints that are VOC(volatile organic compounds)-free lumber with the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification. Many popular paint brands now offer VOC-free options in their color lines and can easily be found at home improvement stores.

Look for labels – when shopping for a new furniture piece look for labels. Certification labels, that is. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has a certification for wood that is responsibly sourced, the Rainforest Alliance has a Rediscovered Wood Certification for items made with reclaimed material and Greenguard is a certification for items with low-toxicity.

Sustainability is on our minds more than ever as climate change is becoming more and more evident of an issue and the toxicity of everyday products has become concerning. With some time, patience and research not only can you be well equipped to make your furniture choices well-informed ones but also have fun along the way.

Stay Safe Using a Portable Generator

When the power goes out many people turn to portable generators for electricity. Portable generators are a great asset to have but they can also pose serious safety hazards if not used properly.

Here are some tips on how to stay safe when operating a portable generator:

Always read and observe the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation.

Use heavy duty, outdoor rated extension cords with a wire gauge adequate for the appliance load.

If you are hard-wiring the generator to your home only use a qualified electrician to connect the generator to the house wiring.  Make sure the electrician also installs a manual transfer switch to prevent a backfeed and prevent damage to your generator, wiring and appliances when power is restored.

Only operate a generator outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Remodeling Your Home

Remodeling or home improvements – new flooring, an updated bathroom, a room addition – can add a great deal of satisfaction and enhance your enjoyment of your home. Home is a place to relax, unwind, and feel comfortable, so home improvements that add to your satisfaction of the quality of life in your home are usually worthwhile. While there are many reasons to embark on a home improvement project, the important point is to be sure you are doing it for the right reason for you.


Safety in the home should always be a primary concern, before comfort and convenience. If steps are rickety, electrical wiring old or faulty, or the ceiling in danger of falling in, these jobs demand priority.

  • Falls are the major cause of disability or death in the home. Consider adding motion detection lighting on all stairways and repair any damaged flooring or stairways that could cause a person to trip and fall. Replace or repair stairway handrails, making sure they are firmly anchored in a manner that will support the full weight of a person.
  • Accommodate Lifestyle Requirements

    You may want to make your home accessible for a family member with a disability, or made modifications to adapt the home for easier living as you age. Wider doorways and bathroom changes to accommodate a walker or wheelchair may be required. For advice and possible help with the cost of adapting your home for disabled access, the Housing section listed on the Disability.gov website provides information for planning and carrying out the right kind of home improvement for your specific needs.

    Return On Investment

    When planning a remodeling project, be aware that you may or may not get your money when you sell the property. However, that is not the point. If you plan to stay in your home for an extended period of time, it should be a place of comfort that accommodates your needs and that you enjoy. That being said, it is wise to not over-stretch your budget. There is no point soaking in your new bathtub if you are worrying about how you are going to pay for it.

    If you plan to sell your home in the near future, think carefully before spending money on any home improvement project. While some improvements can help sell your home, it is unrealistic to expect to recoup your costs through a higher sales price. Market statistics indicate that few home improvement projects give homeowners a 100 percent or more return against the cost of the project. However, improvements may greatly affect your ability to sell the property, particularly if you have enhanced curb appeal.