How to quit fast homewares
You may have heard about fast fashion and the negative and detrimental impact it has on the environment and the garment workers making the clothing.
Well I'm here to tell you that this issue is not just with what we choose to wear but what we choose to decorate our homes with. We all want to make our abode feel more 'homely' and have it nicely decorated and reflecting our personalities. After all it is our sanctuary, after a long week at work it's where we relax and rejuvenate.
But a lot of the time in the fast world we currently live in, we're purchasing single use, non recyclable homewares - think of those cheap scatter cushions or the cool occasional chair from the local budget retail store, the $10 plush throw rug for the couch.
If you take a look at the labels, most of the time they are made from synthetic materials such as polyester that are not biodegradable. And the cheaper the product, generally the less time it'll last. Talking about the price, if you stop to think about how cheap this imported item is, after all the other costs are taken into account - the materials, production costs, transport, import taxes etc etc - it begs the question - what's the person who made the product being paid? And is it a fair living wage?
It can be daunting thinking about all the changes we must make to live a more conscious & ethical lifestyle but the aim is to reduce to being with, with the end goal being zero - waste.
Here are some tips to help you decorate your home in a more socially responsible way (trust me, you will feel better for trying it! There's a feel good factor and something empowering about making positive changes in your day to day, especially when it's about something bigger than yourself);
When looking at textiles such as scatter cushions, throw rugs and bed linen, opt for 100% natural fibres such as organic cotton, hemp and flax linen. Avoid polyester, rayon and nylon. The aim here is going for materials that are biodegradable, so if they ever have to be discarded they won't become rubbish and sit on the earth for hundreds of years to come.
Choose brands who promote ethical & sustainable production and practices. They'll be transparent about their role in being socially responsible and often they have charities they work with whom part profits are donated to.
Shop vintage or second hand. Scout out your local stores or look online at places like E-bay, Gumtree, Trade Me or Facebook Marketplace. You can find amazing decor, furniture, vintage lighting, textiles and artwork, it's endless. Plus you'll have something totally unique that isn't doing the rounds on Instagram where every man and his dog has the same thing! #boring
Look for products made from recycled materials. There are companies now who are making textiles from recycled plastic bottles, they look and feel like a fabric - amazing technology!
Repair what you have if it's possible. If you need help good old YouTube is the place to go.
Re-purpose tired looking pieces - a fun project for the weekend! Get some inspiration from Pinterest.
Buy from a local maker who crafts their products using quality eco friendly materials. It's also a plus to support your communities local small businesses!
Purchase from fair trade stores like Oxfam or Trade Aid, their products are mostly made from natural eco friendly materials by artisans who are supported by organisations ensuring they are paid a living wage and have access to all the things we take for granted, like clean water & food, healthcare and education.
Before you even look at doing any of the above when wanting a new item for your home, ask yourself these questions;
Do I really need it? Can I find another way to freshen up the interior of my home without bringing something new in? You can try re-arranging your rooms, swapping artwork or other decor around to create a different look, or even something as simple as some fresh flowers in a vase can give you those zhuzh-ed up feels! Pick some foliage from your garden and get creative.
Decluttering your home and doing a major spring clean can also make you feel more calm and centred in your home, without the need to re-decorate for the time being.
The motto's 'buy less, choose well' and 'you get what you pay for' rings true. If you want to buy something brand new, spend a bit more and buy quality. And buy it because you love it. It will last way longer and you'll value it far more as it won't just be an impulse purchase giving you a temporary rush of happiness but it'll bring you joy for many years to come. Plus you're much more likely to have it repaired if it ever needs it, meaning it won't end up in landfill and gives it a much longer life cycle.
At the end of the day, if we can make an effort to support ethically made, hand made, artisan made, charity stores, fair trade and socially responsible brands and introduce more of the 'slow interiors' concept into our lives, the better off our world will be.
Would love to hear what you think about fast homewares and how you might be making positive changes with decorating your home. Leave a comment below.