In today’s post we’re exploring how to create a healthy home, from products we use to the choices we make, to help us feel our best.
Since moving to our new place in February, I’ve spent quite a bit of time making tweaks and adjustments to make the space feel just right. The right colours, patterns, furniture. Like many folks, I really enjoy interior design. It allows me to unleash my creative side in a way that’s different from other outlets I enjoy. And it’s especially enjoyable because we get to physically BE in the space we design and benefit from the comfy feelings that our homes provide.
But a home is so much more than just its design. There are things we can all benefit from improving when it comes to the inside of our home, such as air quality, the types of products we use in various rooms, the food we stock in our kitchen, how clean, tidy, or organized our space is (nobody is perfect here!), and how our home makes us feel overall.
From kitchen organization to household products, this post covers 12 habits for creating a healthy home. All of these are things I personally do that have helped me create a space that’s conducive to a healthy lifestyle and supportive of mental and physical health over the years. Let’s dive in!
How to Create a Healthy Home
1. Keep Kitchen Stocked & Organized
Keeping your fridge and pantry stocked with good food regularly is the best place to start when it comes to making healthier choices easier. As Errick McAdams once said, if you keep good food in your fridge, you will eat good food. One of my favourite quotes!
It’s also a great idea to go organize your pantry and cupboards so you have a more functional kitchen space. Do a good clear out of anything expired, rearrange items to make them easier to access (try using various jars or baskets), and have a list of staples to keep stocked.
Check out my posts on 10 Foods I Always Buy and Meal Planning for Beginners.
2. Grow Your Own Veggies, Herbs Or Sprouts
Growing your own veggies is a great way to bring bring nature indoors and have fresh food right at your fingertips. There are so many herbs, vegetables, or sprouts that you can easily grow, either in your kitchen, on a windowsill, or in your backyard or balcony.
Here are some ideas:
- herbs like mint, basil, cilantro, or parsley
- vegetables like kale, cucumber, zucchini, broccoli, or green peas
- try growing sprouts from legumes like green lentils or mung beans, or broccoli sprouts from small seeds
Many vegetables can even be grown from scraps (the end bits that are often tossed away). Such as green onions and romaine lettuce. Plop these in water and watch them grow!
A great way to bring nature indoors is getting some houseplants. My plants are by far some of my favourite parts of my home. I adore them so much! Not only do they bring life, colour, and a sense of calm to a home, but many are also air purifiers. Some great houseplants for air quality include:
- spider plants
- snake plant
- peace lily
If you’re new to having houseplants, start with some low-maintenance varieties like spider plants, snake plants, and pothos.
4. Freshen Air Naturally
Speaking of air quality, avoid synthetic air fresheners or sprays. These types of products compounds that we inhale and can be detrimental to our respiratory system. Instead, try these:
- Open your windows: this is a great way to bring fresh air into your home. Air can get stale and stagnant, and it’s good to let that breeze blow through.
- Fresh flowers: just like houseplants, flowers are a great way to bring that nature element indoors with a burst of colour and beauty, but also fragrance. Many fresh flowers have a beautiful scent that can freshen up the home.
- Essential oils: there are plenty of essential oils that smell wonderful and can add a boost of natural fragrance to a home, without the soup of chemicals found in traditional air fresheners. My favourite way to use them is to add a few drops to a diffuser. I like lavender, bergamot, eucalyptus, orange; and woodsy blends with cedarwood and frankincense.
Note: don’t go overboard by diffusing all day everyday. Essential oils can be irritating to the lungs for some people, and some are toxic to pets. Opt for companies that prioritize quality, purity, and GC/MS testing. My non-MLM favourites are Aura Cacia, Rocky Mountain Oils, Eden’s Garden, Plant Therapy, Aromatics International, and Saje Wellness.
5. Eco-Friendly Cleaners
There are a number of wonderful versatile eco-friendly cleaning products that are better for health, respiratory systems, and the environment.
I’m a big fan of castille soap (Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds is a favourite of mine), but you can also get creative with DIY cleaners like baking soda and vinegar. Lemon essential oil is also effective at removing sticky residue and grime.
Remember though that there is a difference between “cleaning” and “disinfecting” (and even sterilizing). Cleaning, by scrubbing and the use of products like soap, help to remove germs, but not kill them (although soap can dissolve the membranes of some viruses). Disinfecting on the other hand refers to the use of chemicals to kill germs. In some cases, stronger disinfectants are warranted. Some that are less harsh for our bodies and environment include hydrogen peroxide, isopropyl alcohol (>70%), and oxygen bleach instead of chlorine bleach. Regardless, when selecting your cleaning products, avoid ones that use fragrance, artificial colours, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
As an aside, it’s important to note here that we don’t want to go crazy with killing germs all the time as this can have negative implications for our microbiome. Microbes aren’t always bad! Just use common sense.
6. Sweep & Vacuum Regularly
Having a weekly cleaning schedule can help us stay on track with cleaning regularly and keeping our floors tidy. Especially the floors! Don’t get me wrong though, crumbs will always find their way onto our floors. There’s no use in trying to be perfect about this, but sweeping regularly just makes things feel good.
Mopping regularly is also important. I have microfibre mop with a machine washable cloth and refillable container where you can add your favourite cleaning solution. It’s great because it’s not cumbersome like a traditional mop and bucket.
7. non toxic cookware
I often get asked about what cookware we use. We use the brand Green Pan for our pans. They’re non-stick and made from ceramic (instead of plastics like other non-stick pans), and are free of PFAS, PFAO, lead, and cadmium.
Some other great options are The Always Pan, cast iron (properly seasoned), and stainless steel.
8. Use less plastic
There are a lot of alternatives to common kitchen items like saran wrap, ziploc bags, and plastic containers that can be zero waste and better for our health overall. Glass food storage containers are a great swap to make, especially if we reheat food in them. Reusable silicone bags are also great.
Please don’t fret if you do use plastic. There’s no use in trying to live perfectly clean, non-toxic, zero waste lives (because it’s impossible). Just do your best and make swaps where possible!
9. Invest in Comfortable Bedding
We spend about 1/3 of our lives sleeping, so it’s wise to invest in our sleep. We want to be as comfortable as possible at night so that we can sleep well. I have organic cotton bed sheets (similar to these ones), and they are by far the most comfortable sheets I’ve ever slept in. I sleep like a baby with them! (There are many factors at play when it comes to good sleep though, so if you need some tips, read my post here).
Cotton is a breathable material which is one reason why they make a good choice for bedsheets. Linen is also a good option as it’s great at helping to regulate our temperature.
Don’t forget to wash your sheets regularly! It always feels so good to climb into bed with clean, fresh sheets, doesn’t it?
10. Design mindfully
When it comes to designing our space, even just having one specific area as your designated calm space is a great thing to have. Whether it’s your bedroom or a nook in your living room, situate things in a way that make you feel like you can retreat there. Consider items like blankets, colours/paint on the wall, artwork, and anything in particular that brings you joy.
11. Be Intentional About Belongings
Speaking of designing mindfully, one way to help create a calm and tidy space is to be intentional about what you buy. Whether it’s decor, furniture, or other items, make sure you ask yourself first: am I going to make use of this? Do I really love this? This helps to prevent the accumulation of too much stuff in our homes, which can translate to clutter that we just don’t need.
12. Be Light Conscious
One of the best things we can do is to let as much natural light into our homes as possible, especially first thing in morning! Seeing bright light in the morning helps strengthen our circadian rhythm. I’ve experienced this first-hand. Our windows are east-facing here so we get tons of morning light, and I wake up so much easier (a big contrast from the darker apartment we used to live in!)
If you have heavy drapes covering your windows, open them up. Do what you can to have as much light coming into your home.
As for lighting, opt for warmer lightbulbs instead of cold, fluorescent lights. I’m very particular about the lights we use, and I always opt for warmer tones through the bulbs we use, as well as lamps instead of harsh overhead lighting. Also, use candles! They provide such a nice warmth and soft, relaxing glow. Choose beeswax over paraffin for a cleaner burn.
I hope these tips were useful for you! Do you do any of these things? What healthy home habits do you have?