A Simpler Life Series: Letting in the Air

We’re creatures of habit.  We do the same thing over and over because it’s how we’ve always done them.  Some of these things make our lives easier; some make them more difficult and dirtier than we realize.  You and I have talked about some of these things before like canceling our excess catalogues so we don’t have to deal with them.  I think that there are so many other things we could be doing to make our lives less difficult.

The impressive thing to me is that these simple gestures not only make our lives easier and cleaner in the long run, but they also help the environment.  Many don’t even sacrifice your budget or your busy schedule.  Heck, some might even free up your schedule a little.  Why don’t we talk about them?

I thought it might be important to have these discussions every Tuesday.  We haven’t had a series on Making This Home since our Greener Christmas Guide, and maybe you’d like some ideas for making greener choices that don’t sacrifice your budget or your busy schedule.  Heck, some of them might even free up your schedule a little.  You can participate as much as you wish, and I hope you share the things you are doing and feeling in the comments.

To kick off the column, today’s suggestion is rather simple.  Just open your windows.  Let the fresh air in.

open window

You’ve probably heard that the air in our homes is more toxic than outdoor air, even in the city.  Our furniture, our cabinets, our carpets – they’re slowly releasing nasty toxins like fermaldehyde.  If we don’t open our windows every so often, they stick around.

When we make hot tea, take a shower, line dry our clothes, or do anything else that adds moisture to the air (including our breathing), we’re also creating an environment that’s conducive to mold.  It loves warm, damp environments.  The problem is growing as construction technology makes our homes tighter.

Then there are all of our cleaning products – you know, the things with labels like “toxic” and “hazardous”.  They’re supposed to be getting rid of bad stuff in our homes, but if we don’t get a little air circulating through our houses, I’m afraid they’re kind of adding to the bad stuff in our houses.  If you notice your eyes watering or nose running, it’s a big red flag; you need some fresh air because your body doesn’t like what it’s getting.

Increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning…  Furnaces that don’t have access to exterior air because they were poorly installed…  Yucky mildew… The list has potential to be long.

If someone were to ask me what the biggest difference is between the habits of Germans and Americans, I would say it’s the windows.  Germans open them; Americans don’t.  (You might notice that our kitchen window is open in almost every picture we’ve shared.)

The next time you come back home, take note of the smell and humidity level in your house as you walk in.  Is it stuffy?  You don’t notice these things when you’re in the house for a couple of hours.

open window2

So today try opening the window.  Feel the fresh, clean feeling that only a bit of air can offer, even if it’s just for a brief minute.  Feel European if you want; I know you’ll feel a little more alive.  We always do when we visit German friends who have their windows cracked even now.

If it’s absolutely freezing at your town (like when we had -15 weather and made ice cream), still try for just a minute.  It makes for such an Inspired Room.

Your thoughts?  Have you had anything you’ve encountered in your life on this topic or the idea of living a simpler, greener life?

(images by Making This Home)