The Simple Living Approach to Home Improvements

by Rachel Laurendeau on July 30, 2012

I will be the first to admit that in the world of home improvements, remodeling and renovations, materialism and over-consumption abound. It is so very easy to get lured into the “latest and greatest” things when you are walking through a showroom or hardware store and, like a magpie, I do love things that sparkle. There is also the ever-pervasive attitude in our society that we have to keep up with the Joneses. Every time we see another home remodeling show on TV, renovation magazine or visit our sister-in-law’s newly designed master suite, we want more for ourselves. I try not to get lured in too often, but it does happen to the best of us. Here are a few tips to take the materialism and over-consumption out of your next home improvement project.

Before you start on your next project, stop to think about whether or not you really need this home improvement.

• Is it a necessary upgrade that will make your home more structurally sound, or fix an actual problem?

• If it is more of an aesthetic project, do you need to completely gut and remodel or is a smaller scale option available? For example, if you are remodeling your bathroom, bathtub refinishing is a great alternative to tearing it out the existing tub and hauling it away to the dump to be replaced by a similar product.

• Will this project help your home be more energy efficient or help you conserve water or other resources? Replacing old drafty windows or water-hungry toilets with modern energy and water efficient models is a sound and warranted investment.

• Can you update your home without demolishing anything, thus saving trips to the landfill?

• If you are removing things from your home, like old bathroom fixtures, can you donate them to a local charity of sell them on a swapping or buy and sell website? I’m sure someone would be happy to buy your slightly scratched up tub and have it look like new through tub refinishing.

• Can you purchase any of the things you need for your home improvement from a swapping or buy and sell website? If you are buying new, how about ensuring that the products you are using are made of recycled content or that they are energy efficient.

• Can you re-use or repurpose any of your belongings? Your old kitchen cabinets would make great cabinets to store tools or sports equipment in the garage or basement or an old door can be refinished and used as a headboard.

Simple living is good for the budget, good for the environment, and good for the soul. Stop and take stock of your real home improvement needs before you start your next project.

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