Saving the planet is a little like finding your soul — it takes some work and creativity, but the outcome is a gift that will last generations. One day I was digging thorough the busy home of well-traveled inhabitants, and wondered how I could simplify my life, and at the same time prevent some of my embarrassing clutter from becoming a future archeological find. Separating trash is one thing but what if I took it to a new level, using what I know as a designer and a Mom?
The Next Step…
My husband is an architect and I am a designer. Our home is an eco-friendly tropical compound designed for family life. Before I got the bee in my bonnet to live daily life in a more “green” way, my husband and I had already done the heavy lifting of green architecture. We did an addition and restored a 1940’s English cottage. Our pool is solar heated and sanitized with a salt water system.Our pool cabana is thatched with local mexican fan palms. Instead of the usual front yard of water-thirsty lawn, we planted an orchard which includes bananas, avocados and a variety of citrus and organic vegetables. The rainwater from the roof is directed to the planted areas.
Then From There…
Then we took things a few steps further. I was looking one day at a cage of cooped up cuddly animals in my boys’ room and decided that their “fragrant” abodes might be best outside. In short, we built a rabbit hutch and employed the bunnies outside as a fleet of living composters. A hutch of hungry rabbits make quick work of kitchen scraps and turn trash into compost. My own private factory of munchers and poopers now make my gardens sing with beauty and bounty! The birds and turtles live outside on our compound as well. The kids now have responsibilities to feed their animals, turn the compost and tend to the garden. A bit like a mini farm in Santa Monica.
And What About Furniture, Clothing, Accessories?
Could these tired objects find new breath with a little creativity? My home is decorated with a collection of finds in the form of wooden furniture, paintings, eclectic textiles, antiques and a few simple upholstery pieces. One thing I’ve tried to do right is to purchase things that are both beautiful or useful. Now, whenever I have a penchant to hunt and gather, rather then buying more things, I simply rearrange the furniture. By moving pieces from room to room, in a host of compositions, and by adding an antique rug or an ethnic fabric that I’ve collected, the house feels reinvented.
Creating New Spaces
And I thrive to keep the trouble spots like junk drawers, magazines, and paperwork cleared out. As for clothes, I really have learned to abide by two rules: 1. Wear What You Have. 2. Swap or Donate What You Don’t Wear! And with growing kids I’m doing this every other month…
And as for the electronics, my battle is properly disposing of, or recycling what’s out dated and trying not to get too consumed in the cyber world!
Making A Difference
It is the best feeling to reduce one’s family footprint on the planet. For now, instead of aimlessly shopping, or staring at my screen, I think I’ll get the kids, go to my garden, and plant seeds for my soul.