The days are getting shorter, leaves are beginning to fall and summer is officially over. Before settling in for the season, there are many ways we can look around our homes and ensure that everything is ready for the colder months ahead.
Here are some great eco-friendly tips for Fall:
- Have your furnace inspected and cleaned.
- Replace air filters
- Clean your fireplace, to ensure maximum efficiency
- Install a programmable thermostat
- Ensure that all vents, baseboard heaters, and registers are free of obstructions so the air moves freely.
- Open the blinds during the day to attract warmth. Close them at night to retain the warmth.
- Reverse the direction of your ceiling fan. The fan should run clockwise so that is pushes the air up against the ceiling and down the walls to gently recirculate the warm air.
- Check windows for air leaks and replace the caulking, if needed.
- Ensure weather stripping around doors is in good condition and replace, as needed.
- Don’t overfill your refrigerator as the cool air can circulate more easily with fewer obstacles.
- Clean the ducts and area behind the dryer
- Bring out your blankets, sweaters, and socks so you can snuggle up rather than raise your thermostat.
- Add a blanket to your bedding to keep you warm during the cooler nights.
- Clean your roof gutters and make sure downspouts are pointed away from the house.
- Reduce your house temperature one degree at a time to help lower the energy used in heating your home.
- Insulate your water heater and pipes. Turn the temperature on your water heater down to 120 degrees.
- Shorten your shower times and install a low-flow showerhead to lessen water used and the energy to heat the water.
Now that your home is ready for the fall you can cuddle up, relax and enjoy the beauty of the season!
According to the Journal of Medical Entomology, bed bugs have a favorite color. These creepy little bugs are attracted to darker colors, with over 28% being attracted to red and 24% preferring black. The preference for darker colors is due to the fact that the bugs can burrow and hide more easily in them as opposed to sunny locations. To help minimize the chance of bed bugs being attracted to your sheets, you should switch to ivory or white, as they are much brighter and therefore offer less appealing hiding places.
Another great way to prevent those bugs from getting into your mattress is to encase your mattress in an OMI organic cotton Mattress Barrier Cover. Our barrier covers are made from tightly-woven 100% certified organic cotton and close with a heavy-duty brass zipper. Unlike other synthetic versions, our soft, breathable organic cotton barrier offers a more healthful sleep. The barrier is available in different depths and sizes to meet your specific needs.
For the full study from the Journal of Medical Entomology click HERE.
I have a few pet peeves, and one of my biggest is an unmade bed. Every morning, after I’m up and dressed and before I leave my bedroom, the bed gets made. It’s that simple. However, I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t believe in making their beds in the morning; you’re just going to crawl back into it in the evening, so why bother, right? I know I can’t be the only one out there who sees this as a messy way to start a day (or end it, for that matter), so It thought I would do some digging…and digging I did. I’ve come across a few reasons why you SHOULD make your bed in the morning, and have listed them below:
First and foremost, when you start your day by making your bed, it will give you a sense of accomplishment. It’s a great way to start your day by having that small feeling of success before leaving your bedroom. It only takes a few minutes, so skip the snooze button and make this a new habit.
Come bedtime, it becomes a positive state of mind as you climb into a freshly-made bed. After a long stressful day at work, going to bed with a positive note will help you to sleep more restfully and deeply.
It’s been shown that a clean space helps to lower your stress. I know that personally a messy space raises my blood pressure and stress level, so it only makes sense that a clean space lowers it. Try it – put your clothes away and make your bed in the morning. You’ll be surprised at just how much easier things become when you are more relaxed and calm.
There is the obvious: It will prevent embarrassment from unexpected company if they happen to go near your room and see the messy unmade bed. Have you ever been in this boat?
Last but not least, it leads to other good habits. Imagine how this could grow. Look around your room, for starters; put your clean clothes away and your dirty clothes in the laundry basket. It’s the little things that make a big difference. It will lead to other rooms, too, and before you know it, you’re a cleaning machine and your house shows it!
With Earth Day fast approaching, now is the time to start incorporating some eco-friendly ideas into your everyday life. In my search for fun ideas I came across several great ways to not only celebrate Earth Day, but keep the eco-friendly ideas going throughout the year.
- Plant a tree
- Clean up a park, lake, trail, river, beach, or other natural site
- Go for a walk
- Plant a garden
- Start a compost pile
- Make an indoor herb garden
- Implement a recycling system, or ensure that your current system is the best it can be
- Pay bills online
- Stop paper bills and bank statements
- Limit your water usage
- Reduce energy consumption
- Lower your water-heater temperature to save energy
- Visit a farmers’ market
- When shopping, bring your own reusable bags
- Ditch the plastic water bottles and use a reusable bottle instead
- Bring your own coffee mug when visiting a coffee shop
- Check your home for water leaks
- Plan a vegetarian meal once a week
- Skip the baths and take a shower
- Take a shorter shower
- Adjust your thermostat one degree higher in the summer and one degree lower in the winter to save energy
- Eliminate excess junk mail by removing yourself from unnecessary lists
- Use rechargeable batteries
- Unplug appliances when not in use
- Wash laundry in cold or warm water
- Have a picnic
However you decide to spend Earth Day, be sure to try to lessen your impact on the planet by changing one thing you do. Be sure to get outside and enjoy the beauty of nature!
If you have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep, your bedroom may be part of the problem. There can be many factors that you don’t realize are keeping you from an entire, rejuvenating night’s sleep. The National Sleep Foundation put together this list of 6 simple changes that you can make to your bedroom to create an ideal sleeping environment.
Memorial Day Weekend is the perfect occasion to pack a picnic and head outdoors to enjoy the beautiful weather. First you have to decide what dishes to bring. Typical picnic foods can include hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, and cookies, which are not the healthiest choices (though they may be delicious). If you’re looking for better options, here are 10 healthy finger-food ideas for your next picnic outing!
2. Ants on a Log (celery with peanut butter and raisins)
3. Grilled Vegetables (zucchini, squash, mushrooms, etc.)
4. Pita Chips with Hummus
5. Homemade Trail Mix (dried fruits and nuts)
6. Turkey Sandwiches with low-fat ingredients (whole-grain bread, lettuce, tomato, sprouts, and low-fat cheese)
7. Shrimp and Lemon Skewers
9. Fruit Salad
10. Angel Food Cake (low in calories) with fresh fruit and fat-free whipped cream
Now that your basket is packed with delicious foods, it’s time to head out and enjoy the beauty of nature!
Spring is here, the flowers are in bloom, and it’s a beautiful sight, except for those who suffer from allergies. Allergens such as pollen can cause all sorts of symptoms for allergy sufferers, such as itchy eyes, congestion, and sneezing. Many people take prescribed or over-the-counter medicines that help allergy symptoms, but some of these medicines can cause side effects that are worse than the original problem. For a more natural solution to ease mild, spring-time allergy suffering, here is a list of 10 home remedies that may be helpful:
- It’s hard enough to avoid allergens outdoors, so try not to bring them into your home, too. Keeping windows and doors shut during allergy season can help keep pollen out of your house. Eliminate any cross breeze by shutting off fans that circulate air in and out of the house. Indoor air purifiers/HEPA filters are a great added step to keep your house as allergen-free as possible.
- While being outdoors it is difficult to avoid allergens, so one great step is to wear eye protection. Wearing sunglasses (with side shields) or goggles while outside will keep pollen and other allergens from landing in your eyes and causing swelling or itching.
- Taking a steaming-hot shower has two major benefits for allergy sufferers: First, the steam soothes sinuses and clears nasal passages. The second benefit is that the shower washes away pollen and allergens from the skin and hair, preventing the spread of contaminants into your home.
- Peppermint tea has essential oils that act as an anti-inflammatory, decongestant, and mild antibacterial. A nice warm mug of peppermint tea can help alleviate irritated nasal passages and a sore throat.
- For those who don’t want to take a shower every time they feel congested, a steam bowl is a simpler way to get similar results. Fill a large bowl with steaming water (add eucalyptus oil for added relief), place a towel over your head, and take deep breathes of the eucalyptus steam.
- Another way to clear your nasal passages is to use a saline nasal rinse. There are many different methods of delivering the solution into your nasal cavity, but the basic concept is to flush out the congestion and keep the passages dry.
- For those who can handle spicy foods, wasabi and horseradish are great for clearing your sinuses. Allyl isothiocyanate is the ingredient in these two foods that activates your sinus and tear ducts to promote mucus flow. Also foods like walnuts, flaxseed, and cold-water fish, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids, are great for fighting inflammation when eaten regularly.
- There are a variety of herbs and supplements which have been studied for allergy relief, such as spirulina, goldenseal, and eyebright. The plant extract butterbur has had strong results with reducing airway inflammation, as well as bromelain, which is an enzyme found in pineapple. The stinging nettle is a plant with natural antihistamines, which can be extracted, consumed through tea, or absorbed a variety of other ways.
- Consuming locally produced honey on a regular basis is thought to build up your body’s immunity to local pollens. When bees transfer pollen from your region into honey and you eat it frequently, it can slowly inoculate you against regional pollens.
- Since you spend a third of your life in bed sleeping, it is important to protect yourself from allergens in your bedroom. Dust mites are microscopic pests that live in warm, humid environments and feed on discarded human skin cells, therefore your mattress and pillow are an ideal location for them to live and thrive in. The excrement and buildup of dead dust mites can be the cause of allergic sensitivity. To protect yourself from being exposed to dust mites and bed bugs, consider purchasing OMI’s certified-organic cotton Bed-Bug and Dust-Mite Pillow and Mattress Barrier Covers. The tight micron weave prevents these pests from invading your mattress and multiplying, giving you peace of mind and a healthier night’s sleep. Here is a link to view more information about our barrier covers: