Advice for the New Year from bespoke Harpenden furniture business

PUBLISHED: 17:02 02 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:45 04 January 2019

Eucalyptus candles from Handmade in Harpenden. Picture: Handmade in Harpenden

Eucalyptus candles from Handmade in Harpenden. Picture: Handmade in Harpenden


Eat less, exercise more, get a new haircut etc etc, all of which are New Year’s resolution we all struggle to keep, right? I hear you. So, rather than listing personal improvement resolution ideas, I thought I’d share my resolutions for the New Year, which all revolve around taking better care of our planet, and our bank balance. So fasten your seatbelt (or just grab a cup of peppermint tea) as I share with you my tips to live more sustainably in 2019...without breaking the bank.

While shopping more sustainably makes a huge impact and I really do recommend doing so, there are also simple steps to live more sustainably. So enjoy and remember our steps to enjoying a more sustainable lifestyle will make a huge impact for our planet’s future.

1. Be more organised in everything that you do

Am I joking? No. Being more organised results in us being less wasteful. This includes simple tasks such as the way we go about our food shop, the journeys we do in the car or resources we use to complete a project or task. Also, you will save money by just being more organised!

It may sound like a boring one, but on Friday afternoons we drive to a local town and do our food shop, visit DIY stores and buy any bits we need at the shops. That’s three birds with one stone. That one car journey means we save money on fuel, save time on separate trips, and can support local businesses. Now, I know it’s tough when you’re a busy bee, but if we don’t try out simple things like writing a to do list and planning ahead (you don’t need to become a filofax freak), how would we know what we could be capable of?

Now you may have been expecting my first tip to be; go buy an electric car, (which if you can and you need a car, then please... go buy an electric car!) but many of us can’t afford that. However, it doesn’t mean a simple aim of being more organised can’t go a long way too. Henry and I now share a car which we traded in our own cars for. We’ve made sharing possible by being more organised in our plans and routes - and yes, that does include round journeys visiting parents! While our car isn’t electric, our more organised approach to making journeys allows us to share a car, do less miles and remind ourselves, and our customers, how many miles we’ve driven to make and deliver our products to customers.

Hopefully, one day we can continue being organised in something electric (and big enough for large slabs of wood), which won’t break the bank!

How will you continue meeting this point throughout 2019? Well just remember, being more organised is a gradual approach that definitely becomes easier. We started down this route a few months ago, and we have both become more organised people.

2. Reuse reuse reuse (...and repair)

You can reuse candle tins like we do as baby succulent plant pots

I know achieving a zero plastic lifestyle without spending a lot of money on your essentials is extremely difficult. But you can definitely reuse reuse reuse to minimise your plastic consumption. Besides avoiding plastic products and packaging (ahem, takeaway coffee, water bottles, carrier bags), find a way to reuse packaging or products you’ve already purchased and take care of them so they last a little longer (fold, don’t crunch).

Aside from not buying bottled water, we always carry a Chilly’s coffee cup and water bottle with us, take an old banana box and cotton bags to the supermarket for our weekly shop, and repair things around the house that break instead of replacing them (most recent example being a blown motor on our dyson, saving us £100s and helping the planet).

We always recommend reusing our candle tins and jars as beautiful miniature plant pots. We use all our used candle containers for baby succulents - to date we have yet to throw a single tin away as we’ve been gifting succulents in old containers to friends and family.

Where you can’t reuse, try to recycle and shop recycled. There are lots of products we use in our day to day that have now been replaced with a recycled or plastic-free equivalent. If you can make small replacements, try buying in bulk to spend less per item, especially for non-perishable goods. We have recently moved to recycled paper tape where we used to use plastic tape, and now ensure all our packaging is made from recycled material (it has always been recyclable). Also, if you live nearby your orders will always be hand-delivered as it definitely a lower-milage way of getting goodies from us to you!

3. Switch to LED lights everywhere. It’s 2019 now, you have no excuse!

You really have no excuse, these bulbs last (almost) forever. They don’t cost nearly as much as they used to, they are free from harmful mercury and they output the same light for much less energy than traditional bulbs.

4. Declutter and donate

Less is more with homestyle, and now it is for your wardrobe as well (promise). Help someone in need this year by donating your rarely worn clothes! We spent Boxing Day having a huge clear out and it was so liberating! I’ve been guilty of owning far too many items of clothing for every occasion under the sun. But having a simple and clutter free wardrobe is satisfying and highly recommended.

Fingers crossed, I keep it this way and 2019 won’t be filled with new outfits based on forever changing fashion trends (check out Stacy Dooley’s documentary “Fashion’s Dirty Secrets” for a sobering look at the damage this does) but simple outfits that can be repaired or replaced when required. To succeed with your decluttering, I recommend looking at your wardrobe and focusing on having one of each type of shoes you need, rather than variations of one type. From here you can focus on outfits that can mix and match well to reach that perfect pared-down wardrobe.

5. Eat well, feel incredible!

Eating well contributes greatly to your positivity and being more positive will give you more energy to better focus on the things that matter. Fingers crossed one of those things will be thinking about how to live more sustainably!

Now I’m a huge foodie, but also a major busy bee, so I know first hand it’s hard to eat well all the time. But try and spend time by making an effort in the kitchen to cook a delicious, hearty meal. Try to think about the amount of time you spend on your appearance (hair, makeup, choosing clothes, getting dressed), and spend the same amount of time cooking. If you invest time and thought into your meals you will feel better, look better and have a warm fuzzy feeling for wasting no food in the house and saving money as you’ve applied being more organised in your food preparation.

A resolution to eat better and be organised to minimise food waste is high on our list for 2019!

There you have it, my top New Year’s resolution ideas to live more sustainably without breaking the bank. Where you can, do look out for natural and organic beauty and home cleaning replacement products as they are better for the environment and better for your health. Also, when it’s gifting time and you’re ready to spend some coins on a loved one, think about a more thoughtful gift that’s more sustainable or local to you, which they would not usually treat themselves to.. hint hint ;).

I hope my simple suggestions above highlight that you really don’t need to break the bank to live more sustainably. Let me know your resolutions and ideas to live more sustainably in 2019.

Happy New Year!

Peace and love.

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