Tag Archives: sustainable living

The Sustainable Market

industrial style dining table close up

Facebook images of rubbish being washed up on beaches, the banning of microbeads in cosmetic products on the news, the disappearance of plastic bags from supermarkets (leading to you taking your shopping to your car in a basket if you’re like me and forget your reusable bags)…the issues that the world has with regards to the rubbish that we create and how we deal with it is something that no-one can claim to be ignorant of.

Locally to us at IronFire, there was a recent meeting at Morrisons of local shoppers who all took back their plastic wrapping to the manager in the trolley load, and the pubs are no longer providing plastic straws, only paper ones. We are all taking notice – seeing rubbish on beaches at the weekends, it can’t be ignored – and the passion that some people and businesses are showing is in turn inspiring others. (Iceland are paving the way as they are aiming to be the first plastic free supermarket by 2023). Looking at your kitchen and bathroom shelves though, we seem inundated with plastic and throwaway materials and it can seem that there is no easy way to get around this. Well, look no further! Here we are with a short guide (we love a list) to some products that we have found online that can help you do your bit in keeping the planet plastic free…

  1. Waitrose have announced that they are going to stop providing paper cups for their free coffee, and many coffee shops will give you money off of your takeaway cappuccino if you take in your own reusable cup. KeepCup say that they are “there for the everyday changemakers” – a mantra which we love, after all if we can all make small changes then they will amount to a lot. Their reusable cups are made from tempered glass and they also manufacture a barista standard cup, all of which are available in multiple colours and sizes. Worth the investment if you frequently indulge in a takeaway coffee or can’t walk around Waitrose without a caffeine hit!
  2. Did you know that many teabags are made of plastic? As a tea-addict, my contribution to the plastic issue just from my habit has shocked me somewhat. The big players – PG Tips and Tetley – both contain plastic, but if you are looking to be more plastic free, then simply change your tea-bags over to Aldi, the Waitrose Duchy brand or Pukka tea (their peppermint and liquorice flavour is amazing). Alternatively, look at making your own teabags or using loose tea. You never know, it could always lead to a sideline in fortune telling!
  3. No one wants to be a bit smelly, even at the expense of the planet, but Salt of the Earth deodorants are on hand (or armpit) to tick both of these boxes. Designed to be not only sustainable in manufacture, packing and distribution, they are paraben free and perfect for people with sensitive skin. They also offer a massive refill bottle so that you don’t have to continually replace the original. What’s not to like!
  4. Lush shampoo bars seem to be a bit of a weird idea at first – who even uses soap apart from your nan?!? – but each of these bars are the equivalent of 3 x 250g bottles of shampoo. Saving you not only money but also keeping your plastic usage down massively, and your hair clean and full of bounce! The reviews are great, with people claiming never to go back to normal shampoo after using this product.
  5. Cling film. Plastic. But without it you end up with pockets and a handbag full of crumbs and bits of lettuce. Not an endearing lunch for even the hungriest of people. So here’s the alternative – beeswax wraps. Made in Stroud from cotton with pine resin and local beeswax to help them ‘cling’, these wraps do seem like a costly investment at first but can be reused for a year simply with by washing with water and soap. And once they have been used to their maximum, they can be thrown on your compost heap as are fully biodegradable. Fresh food and a crumb free bottom to your handbag, all guilt free!
  6. As it is just thrown down the toilet, loo roll may not be at the forefront of your mind when thinking about living sustainably apart from buying the recycled version in the supermarket. However, they come in plastic packaging, and the roll in the middle needs to be recycled (or made into Jesus and Mary and various others who you are NOT ALLOWED TO THROW AWAY EVER). Who Gives a Crap manufactures toilet paper that is made from recycled paper and books, comes in a recyclable cardboard box and is fully biodegradable as well as being ok for septic tanks (not sceptic tanks – definitely no doubt). Not only this, but they give 50% of all of their profits to help build toilets in third world countries. No bum deal here.
  7. Ecover are launching a clean world revolution, and want us to join! Abandon your Mr Muscle and enter the realms of eco-friendly cleaning right here. An eco-sound factory, all products made from plant-derived materials (no nasty chemicals) which include no phosphates which inevitably end up back in our water, and a war on single use plastic all mean that Ecover are maintaining their lead as one of the most popular and effective cleaning solutions for planet aware cleaners. A recent study showed that inhaling the chemicals from kitchen and bathroom cleaners can be as bad for your lungs as smoking 20 cigarettes a day, so while it may not be fun to be scrubbing bathroom dirt away, you can at least make it healthier both for yourself and the planet.
  8. The Natural Bed Company make all of their beds from wood that has come from sustainable forests and never from endangered tropical sources. All made in the UK, they share our passion for not using the fast wood that has been used in the construction of cheap furniture from China and the suchlike. Not only beds though, they also offer fully organic bedding for a bedtime experience that is just dreamy!
  9. Last but by no means least, IronFire Industrial Furniture (I’m not going to miss us out now am I!) have a range of industrial style furniture that is only available online. Our products are made by British craftsmen using sustainably sourced products; keeping the forests healthy and our time on the roads shorter. Sustainable and a bit stunning!

True, all of these solutions may not be suitable for everyone but if we all just make little changes to our everyday habits this may make our beaches, air and water cleaner for that bit longer for the generations to come.

Buying Furniture for Your New Home? What to Avoid and Money-Saving Tips

Exciting news we have a guest blogger – Maria Jose is a Marketing Specialist and does Content Marketing at Porch.  She is passionate about animals and her hobbies are reading, writing, traveling and music.  She shares with us some handy tips on the particle ways of buying furniture for your home and shows that you can produce sustainable furniture.

If you’re gearing up to move into a new home, there are probably a ton of things to take care of on your to-do list. Buying furniture is one of the most important and biggest investments you’ll make, so it’s always a good idea to make sure you choose the right pieces at the right price. There’s a lot to consider when you’re furnishing a new house, from the dimensions to the durability and much more. Check out this guide featuring some advice on what to avoid, along with actionable, helpful tips to make your next furniture buying adventure easy and, most importantly, affordable.

Modern Living room design image
Modern Living room design image

If you’re gearing up to move into a new home, there are probably a ton of things to take care of on your to-do list. Buying furniture is one of the most important and biggest investments you’ll make, so it’s always a good idea to make sure you choose the right pieces at the right price. There’s a lot to consider when you’re furnishing a new house, from the dimensions to the durability and much more. Check out this guide featuring some advice on what to avoid, along with actionable, helpful tips to make your next furniture buying adventure easy and, most importantly, affordable.

10 Important Things to Avoid When Buying Furniture 

White room with doors image
White room with doors image

There are some common furniture buying mistakes that people make, which often leads to buyer’s remorse. Here are the 10 most important things to avoid when buying furniture for your new home, along with some suggestions.

Not measuring: Measuring your space before you buy any new furniture is absolutely crucial. If you don’t measure, your furniture might not fit through the door, or it won’t fit properly in the room. Record the dimensions of every room of your home, noting the length and width in feet. You should also draw a basic layout on paper to help you choose the right size furniture for every space. A sectional won’t fit correctly if you have a small living room, for example. Measuring furniture includes checking the length, width, depth, and height of every piece. This will ensure that every item you buy fits nicely in its designated spot.

Painting first: You might be tempted to paint your new home before you buy new furniture. However, it’s much easier to purchase furniture based on the colors in the room after it’s already there. Go ahead and furnish the rooms in your home, then choose a beautiful paint color to match so everything coordinates nicely for a cohesive look.

Not scaling: Proper scale and proportion are key to a functional space. Make sure your new furniture works well in the room and doesn’t overcrowd it. If the furniture is too large in proportion to the size of the room, everything will feel cramped. If it’s too small, the room will feel hollow and empty. Choose everything in tandem so that every item works well with the other to create a correctly scaled space

Not considering your lifestyle: If you have children or pets, you need to select furniture that fits your lifestyle. Choose upholstered pieces that are easy to clean and maintain if you have a lot of foot traffic and a large family. Having beautiful furniture in your new home is important, but it won’t do any good if it isn’t functional too. Look at each item and think about how it will fit your lifestyle before you purchase.

Stool with a cat image
Stool with a cat image

Being unrealistic about maintenance: All furniture undergoes regular wear and tear, but some materials are easier to maintain than others. Always make sure that your new furniture can be cleaned easily and that it’s not too difficult to repair if something ever gets broken. Search for furniture that’s easy to care for, so you’re not spending all of your time worrying about maintaining it or keeping it clean. Stock up on products to help you maintain it, like wood furniture polishes and waxes, leather conditioners, and a quality vacuum cleaner to get rid of crumbs between sofa cushions.

Buying everything at once: Buying furniture is exciting, so it’s easy to feel like you need to buy everything at once. Furnishing an entire room or even your entire home all at one time could lead to buyer’s remorse later. Focus on the most important pieces first, like the bed for your bedroom, the dining table for your dining room, and the sofa for your living room. You can always add new items to go with it later once you determine which styles, sizes, and designs will work best in each room and for your specific lifestyle.

Getting into an “impulse buy”: Don’t get lured into furniture trends and make an impulse purchase that you’ll regret later. Take your time and research furniture, looking carefully at things like customer reviews and examples of furniture in different homes. When you take your time buying furniture, you’ll be much happier with the outcome.

Prioritizing style over comfort: A beautiful home filled with stylish furniture is important, but your comfort is more important. Don’t sacrifice your comfort just to give your home a stylish look. If your new furniture is uncomfortable, you’ve essentially wasted your hard-earned money. Try to find pieces that meet somewhere in the middle, blending beautiful design with supportive and comfortable features.

Sacrificing quality for price: Saving money on furniture is always a good thing, but you shouldn’t skimp on quality. Look for great deals on furniture that will still provide you with a quality piece you’ll use for years to come. Remember that new furniture at an extremely low price usually means that it’s made of low-quality materials, and it might not hold up to a lot of wear and tear.

Overfilling the room: If you buy too many furniture pieces, it can make the rooms in your home feel cramped and overcrowded. Adding too much furniture will end up making your home feel cluttered, which can lead to higher stress levels. Try to stick with the basics first, then add accent pieces as needed.

How to save money when buying furniture

Saving money on furniture is easy when you keep these helpful tips in mind.

Plant pot full of money and a plant growing pot
Plant pot full of money and a plant growing pot

Shop Online: Shopping online is one of the easiest, most effective ways to save money on everything from furniture to décor and more. Look for websites that offer free shipping to save even more. Before you click the “purchase” button, make sure you read the customer reviews thoroughly to ensure that you’re getting a good deal and a quality item.

Garage Sale: Scour local garage sales to find decent quality furniture. In many cases, homeowners simply need to downsize, or they don’t want to take perfectly good furniture with them for a move. You can always negotiate with the seller to bring the price down even lower, too.

Buying antique furniture: Not all antique furniture costs an arm and a leg. Shop at some local consignment stores to score a good deal on beautiful antiques. The perk of buying antique furniture is that it’s typically made of durable materials, and it’s built to last, so you’re getting more out of your investment.

Repurpose and recycle: You don’t have to buy every single thing brand-new for your home. In fact, some of your furniture can easily be repurposed or recycled. An older coffee table can look new again with a fresh coat of chalk paint. Go through the items you already own to see how many of them can be repurposed or reused in other rooms or for different reasons.

Refurbish: Refurbished furniture can look just as beautiful and last just as long as new furniture. Switch out hardware, add a fresh coat of paint or finish, or reinforce furniture to make it stronger. Simple changes to existing furniture can make it look brand-new and give it a new purpose without breaking your budget.

Upcycle: Upcycling furniture is similar to refurbishing, and it involves adding your own personal touch to each piece. You can make any piece of furniture look brand-new with some simple changes like painting it, adding new hardware, or taking it apart and rebuilding it to turn it into something new.

DIY: If you’re handy with a hammer and nails, don’t be afraid to try your hand at some DIY furniture. Building your own furniture creates feelings of pride and a sense of satisfaction. It’s also an excellent way to save money on new items like tables or chairs.

Get sales alerts: Sign up for sales alerts from some of your favorite furniture stores. Many retailers offer deep discounts at various times of the year, which means you could save a lot of cash if you’re patient.

Time your shopping: Many local furniture salespeople have quotas and work on commission, which means they might be willing to offer you a deal at certain times of the month. Ask if they can provide you with a deal or throw in free delivery to help you save a bit of extra money.

How to care for and maintain your furniture

Lady sat on sofa, exhausted from hoovering image
Lady sat on sofa, exhausted from hoovering image

With so many furniture styles and options to choose from, it’s important to maintain and care for each item to keep it in good condition. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when it comes to furniture maintenance.

Do’s

  • Remove dirt, dust, and debris from wood furniture, often using a soft, damp cloth or paper towel.
  • Take care of wood furniture by polishing it regularly and using a gentle, silicone-free furniture cleaning product.
  • Repair scratches as soon as possible, using a furniture touch-up pen that matches the finish.
  • Keep furniture out of direct sunlight, especially leather and wood, which can become discolored and dry out over time.
  • Only use cleaning products made for your furniture’s specific material to avoid damage.
  • Wipe spills immediately whenever liquid comes in contact with your furniture.
  • Rotate or flip seat cushions every few months to keep them comfortable and looking new.

Don’ts

  • Do not use an all-purpose cleaner, bleach, or abrasive cleaning products on your furniture.
  • Don’t put off dusting your furniture. Airborne particles can build up on wood, leaving a layer of dust and grime that may scratch the finish.
  • Never add a tablecloth to your tables until they’re completely dry.
  • Do not arrange your furniture near radiators, heat or air vents, and air conditioning units. Extreme temperature changes can easily damage furniture.
  • Don’t sit extremely hot or cold beverages or food directly on top of your furniture – use a coaster or protective cover like a tablecloth.
  • Avoid placing your furniture close to the fireplace or wood-burning stoves.

If you just got married, just became independent, just moved to college, or are just ready to start buying furniture for your new place, be sure to keep these helpful tips in mind. Remember to measure the rooms in your home as well as the dimensions of your new furniture to find a perfect fit. Choose furniture that fits your lifestyle, and shop garage sales and websites to help you find the best deal so you’ll have fabulous furniture the whole family will enjoy for years to come.

 

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