Healthy Home

Jody Hollis

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The new year gives us the impetus for a fresh start. We often think of making personal resolutions about our health, but why not do something healthy for you and your home? Consider a health check-up for your home.

The easiest place to start is with the tasks that require the least effort.  Check the batteries on the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors that should be installed on each floor that there are bedrooms if you have a fireplace. Change the furnace filters. Open some windows in the daytime. We tend to keep our windows closed in the winter, which lowers the air quality in our homes. Fresh air lowers the airborne household contaminants as well as the dust, pollen, mould and even viruses in our homes.

Get organized. Tired of some of the décor in the room? Too many knick-knacks received as gifts and feel guilty you should display? Inherited furniture? You don’t have to keep everything! This is the year to sell it or donate it. Extra furniture and excessive decorative items (knick-knacks?) collect dust and make your home feel smaller.  Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, offers a simple philosophy about how to decide if you should keep the many items in our homes, “The best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it. This is not only the simplest but also the most accurate yardstick by which to judge.”  Try it this January!

Renovations may be in the works for 2018, but they too can make your home healthier. Consider removing vermiculite, asbestos and lead paint.  Professionals should do the removal of toxic substances. Don’t risk the health of yourself and family by attempting to do it yourself.  If you are considering painting some walls this year, be aware that manufacturers are now making higher quality paints that are durable and are low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The lighter the colour is usually the safest bet, as darker pigments contain more VOCs. The market also now offers drywall that absorbs VOCs.

All the Best for 2018!