Eco-Friendly Tiny House Styles: Guest Post by Rose Burke

There are many reasons people decide to join the tiny house community. Some are looking for an off the grid lifestyle while others want the freedom to travel with their house in tow. Without a doubt, the most common reason people opt for living in a tiny house is that they want to reduce their carbon footprint. Ultimately, occupying a small space forces you to be more eco-friendly, even if that wasn’t your original intention. If you’re interested in changing your lifestyle by reducing the number of resources you use each day, find inspiration in these eco-friendly tiny house styles…

Eco-Friendly Tiny House Styles text with tiny house in side of hill image

Solar Powered Tiny House

When a tiny house is built on wheels or in an isolated area, you can’t always get electricity by plugging into the power grid. This factor has inspired members of the tiny house community to come up with some incredibly unique eco-friendly options. One of the most popular electrical alternatives for tiny houses is solar power. While the initial setup can be expensive, they can significantly reduce your electric bill. Over time, they pay for themselves while providing your tiny house with electricity.

Solar powered tiny house

Wind Turbine Powered Tiny House

Since solar power can sometimes be unreliable, it’s essential to have a backup plan. For this reason, those who are designing an eco-friendly home will often use both wind and solar power. Wind turbines can provide your tiny house with electricity during storms and cloudy days when your solar panels might not be getting enough sunlight. Of course, there are more reliable backup options such as a generator for those who can’t go without electricity.

Wind turbine tiny house

Tiny House Natural Lighting

A tiny house with an open design plan offers natural light during the day, eliminating the need for powered lamps until the sun goes down. While some houses do this with wall-length windows, an outdoor porch can have the same effect. Allowing natural light into your tiny house will also give the illusion that it’s larger than it really is.

Natural light

Tiny House Bathrooms Using Composting Toilets

Composting toilets are ideal for the eco-friendly members of the tiny house community, as they’re waterless. While it’s possible to hook up a traditional toilet, that would require being hooked up to a sewage system. If you’re taking your tiny house on the road or want to save some water, then a composting toilet is definitely the best option. They’ve advanced to the point where they can feel no different than being in any other bathroom. Here are the composting toilet options:

• Split systems which secure the composting tank carrying the waste below the toilet and is considered separate from the unit.

• Self-contained systems which store waste in the pedestal of the toilet.

• Continuous systems which allow waste to run out into a compost pile continually.

• Batch systems which separate the waste, composting them at different times.

Bathroom

Tiny House Community Vegetable Gardens

When you’re living off the grid, you can’t just hop in your car and make a trip to the supermarket. The same goes for those who like to travel. For this reason, having a personal vegetable garden has become a popular trend in the tiny house community. Someone with a stationary home will have more room to build their garden, but that doesn’t mean those who keep their house on wheels can’t participate as well. Additionally, many tiny house dwellers who rent pieces of the same land will come together to build a community garden. This allows people to work for their food, but also to have the freedom to pack up their house and move on when they want.

Tiny house veg garden

 

Tiny House Built Out Of Recycled Materials

Since most tiny homes are made on a budget, it only makes sense that they would be created from recycled materials. While some tiny house builders use wood or sheet metal from old and demolished structures, others repurpose storage containers, train cars, school buses, or anything else they can get their hands on. And that’s just the exterior. The interior tends to be eco-friendly as well. Everything from the house’s insulation to the lighting fixtures are often made of recycled or repurposed materials. Even those without a creative bone in their body will find themselves working on a few DIY projects if it means staying on budget.

Recycled house

Summary

As you can see, when it comes to choosing a tiny house style that’s most suitable for your needs, there are a number of eco-friendly options to choose from. To what degree you decide to reduce your mark on the environment is ultimately up to you. By taking on a tiny lifestyle, you’re already taking a big step in the right direction!

*This is a guest post.

Maximising Space in Your Home

As autumn draws in, you might be thinking about how to make your home cosy for winter. Clutter, or general lack of space, can take away from that homely feeling and often prevents us from fully being able to relax. Finding ways to maximise space in your home, so that everything is organised and has its place, helps us to create an ideal environment for those winter lazy days…

Maximising Space in Your Home text with image of shelving in a small room

Storage

Wall to wall and/ or floor to ceiling shelves help to keep everything tidy so the rest of the room has more space. Storage can also be used to section off rooms and provide various areas within your home, creating useful spaces for different purposes.

Woman sat on chair reading. Wall to wall ceiling to floor bookcase behind her

Put things higher up

If possible, keep things off the floor. Try to put shelving above eye level to give a spacious feel to the room. Wall mount your TV too if possible. The more stuff on the floor, the more closed in and cluttered a room feels. Shelving and cupboards help to spread things out; display on shelves what you want to see and hide in cupboards what you don’t.

Wall mounted tv in a modern room with nature themed decor

Furniture

Fewer but well chosen pieces of furniture will maximise the space you have available. Small, low furniture gives the impression the room is larger.

On the otherhand, larger furniture can be multi-purpose so uses space effectively too. For example, opt for a day bed or bed with underneath storage.

Use Rooms Effectively

If you have a particularly large room, or open plan, you might want to consider making these rooms multi-purpose. For example, you could create a small office space in the corner of your kitchen. You can use storage to partition rooms too, as explained above.

Kitchen with a desk and chair in the corner. Multi-purpose use of space.

Outdoors

It is very useful to have some form of outdoor storage, to get some of your belongings out of the house completely. Sheds can be handy, depending on what you want to store. Garages also provide excellent storage, and/ or can be used as an extra working space as well. When trying to maximise space indoors, remember to think of your outdoor spaces too!

A solid shed for storage

Do you have any tips for maximising space in your home? I would love to read them in comments!

*This is a collaborative post.

Energy saving tips: Are solar panels right for my home?

On paper, the prospect of using solar panels – otherwise known as solar photovoltaic or solar PV panels – to meet your home’s energy needs looks very promising. Imagine always having a stream of free electricity on tap, with its availability affected only by the sun.

This is the ideal, anyway – but, in practice, not all of this would be borne out. There are various issues to consider if you are undecided about whether to opt for solar panels…

Energy saving tips: Are solar panels right for my home?

Do you have a suitable roof?

Thinking about whether or not to have solar panels fitted could essentially be pointless if your roof wouldn’t be suitable for them anyway. You should rule out solar panels for a north-facing roof, as it won’t get enough direct sunlight, warns the Energy Saving Trust.

Your roof also needs to be sufficiently strong to hold up PV panels,as they are heavy, Which? cautions. A roofing North East firm could strengthen your roof if you live in the local area.

Do you primarily aim to save carbon or money?

People tend to decide on solar panel installation due to the possibility of trimming the household’s greenhouse gas emissions or its financial expenditure on energy.

In your case, you need to decide which of the two is more important to you. Though you could yearly save as much as two tonnes of carbon, the financial savings are not always so clear-cut, as the installation would typically cost over £5,000 and so could take a disconcerting while to pay for itself.

The feed-in tariff is getting slowly reduced

In an attempt to somewhat make up for the initial financial blow of a solar PV installation, you could apply for the feed-in-tariff (FiT), a government scheme that pays you to make your own electricity.

However, in July 2018, the government revealed its intent to bar new applications to FiT from April 2019. You would only be exempt if you both commission your installation and get a complete MCS certificate issued prior to 31 March 2019; you could apply for FiT until 31 January 2020, Which? says.

Investigate whether you would need planning permission

The good news is that, for the majority of domestic solar panels, planning permission isn’t necessary – provided that these panels are below a particular size. However, we still urge you to get in touch with your council to learn for certain.

You would require planning permission if, for example, you want solar panels added to a listed building or a building either in a conservation area or on a World Heritage Site.

Solar panels

Are there other costs to consider?

Once a solar PV system is in place, you shouldn’t expect to have to spend a lot of time on maintaining it due to its relative simplicity and absence of moving parts. Still, within 25 years, you would have to replace the inverter at a cost of roughly £1,000 in many instances. There is evidence that you might even need to replace it much sooner than that.

*This is a collaborative post.

Eco- Friendly Options For Your Interiors

After recently finishing off decorating a room, it can sometimes feel like you could start over as it just isn’t looking how you imagined. But, constantly changing your home’s interior can not only be costly to your bank balance, it can also have a big environmental cost. Even when starting a new project from the ground up, there are a number of environmental considerations to make in each step.

Choosing interior design pieces that are environmentally friendly is definitely something that you should consider. Eco-chic is becoming a large part of many professional designers work and something they are beginning to actively promote. Of course, going eco-friendly doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on your design.

Reusing & Recycling

Book chair #reuse #upcycle

Before you make the decision to makeover your room with a great new design, you should take into consideration what is working already. Maybe you have a set of cabinets which are serving a purpose that couldn’t be replaced, so there is no need to remove them. Perhaps consider moving them to another place within the room. If you don’t like the colour, you can simple spruce them up with a few coats of paint to match your new interior colour scheme.

Another great idea is to switch around your curtains or drapes between rooms. If you have a set of curtains/drapes which will not match up with the new design, perhaps you can change them with another room in your house, rather than going out and purchasing a new pair. If you don’t have anything suitable in your own home, then why not see if you can swap with your friends?

Recycling Glass

Recycled glass table

With a number of suppliers coming up in the past few years offering recycled glass to be used in your home. A wide variety of design options are available for using glass within your home, with specialists even developing recycled glass into a source material used in wall tiles.

The tiles produced from this recycled glass give a great reflective sparkle and really catch the light in a unique way. This means that they are the perfect addition to any bathroom. These recycled glass products can also be used on your kitchen counters, lighting panels and even on your table top. If you are looking to use either a quartz or granite in your design, then you should consider replacing these with recycled glass, which makes for a smarter and more environmentally alternative.

Timber

When it comes to timber, you are best avoiding any furniture which uses hardwood (high density) within its construction. Hardwoods are mainly brought in from tropical rain forests, which are already being heavily depleted. There are a number of environmentally friendly options available in terms of wood furniture, so make sure you take a look around before deciding.

If you are wanting to go with a hardwood then you should make sure that you look out for the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) mark. Eco furniture which is often made using reclaimed wood and saw dust, can often be a lot more stylish and fitting for a room than hardwood. So don’t go abandoning the idea straight away.

Other options to achieve a more wooden look whilst being environmentally friendly is to choose a real wood venetian blind for your window dressing. These blinds are made using wood from sustainable forests and have a very low impact on the environment throughout their production.

Hardwood floors

Eco-Chic Flooring

Choosing the right flooring for you interior can be challenging, especially when considering one that is made using a sustainable material. However, there are many suppliers who are seeing the demand for this style of flooring and the popularity it currently has. If you are looking for a floor that is hard wearing then bamboo is definitely a great choice! With bamboo having a high fiber rating than most hardwood flooring and being overall very strong.

As bamboo has a very short grow time which means that it can be harvested regularly unlike with hardwood. It has a great underfoot feeling and is a great natural material which can be recycled after it has been used. Another option would be to use interlocking eco floor tiles. These are made from hard wearing recycled material and look fantastic whether you use them in your kitchen or bathroom. With another benefit being that they give great thermal insulation.

Paint

VOC free paint logo

A number of paint products contain harmful chemicals, these are known as VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds). Therefore, it is important that you choose a paint which doesn’t contain these compounds (VOC Free), especially if you are painting your children’s bedrooms. Reusing your past paint trays are a better choice than going out and buying new ones. Of course, if you’re a first time buyer or have only just moved out of your parents home, you won’t have any old paint trays. Instead, you could select reusable paint trays, which are made using recycled cardboard.

*This is a collaborative post.

Make Your Home Green: One Room at a Time (Guest Post)

It’s easy to say you want your family to go green and live a more socially responsible lifestyle, but when you start to actually think about putting a plan into action it becomes overwhelming. Many people’s first impressions of sustainable living include practicing recycling and refraining from leaving the water running while you brush your teeth. In reality, there is a lot more to living a completely environmentally friendly lifestyle.

A great starting place to focus on is your home. This is the place where your family gathers and where you spend a large amount of your time in your life, so it’s an important place to consider when you want to go green. In order to cut back on the intimidation factor, this guide will break down room-by-room how you can encourage more sustainable practices in your home…

Make Your Home Green: One Room at a Time

Living Room

Natural Lighting

The living room is one of the easiest places in your home where you can embrace natural lighting as an alternative to keeping bulbs burning. Keeping your curtains open and allowing natural sunlight to light up your living room will be better for energy efficiency and there’s also just something about natural lighting that makes you feel better.

If you can prepare for this while you’re building or choosing a house, look into floor-to-ceiling windows. These are a great interior piece that make your space appear larger and they allow for more natural lighting in your home. You can also consider skylights to provide an easier path for sun to come in through the top of your room.

A living room with huge windows flooding the room with natural light

Energy

A staple in American living rooms is a television. To reduce energy usage in your home, cut back on the tv or even eliminate it from your home. Encourage your family to play games together, spend time doing outdoor activities, or reading in the evenings.

Furniture

When furnishing your living room, or any part of your home, try to use recycled materials or repurpose materials in your home. For example, a chair or stool can serve another purpose as a side table. It takes less energy to manufacture goods from recycled materials than from scratch, so try use recycled furniture to help reduce energy consumption in the grand scheme of things.

If you’re buying new materials, purchase from companies that are certified for using sustainable materials. You can also find furniture made with bamboo, a super sustainable material held together by glue rather than toxic chemicals.

Paint

Speaking of toxic chemicals, make sure the paint you’re using for your walls contains low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC) or a paint that’s entirely VOC-free.

Plants

Part of healthy living includes having good indoor air quality (IAQ). A sustainable practice to help remove pollutants from your air and live in a cleaner environment is to place plants around your home. Some plants naturally purify air and can help eliminate toxins to improve your IAQ.

A shelf full of artwork with a green plant in the corner of the room

Kitchen

Groceries

Industrial farming practices are harmful to the environment because of the mass use of resources and the chemicals emitted, so when you’re shopping for groceries, shop locally. Knowing your food was farmed locally will make your meals even more meaningful and personal.

Recycling

The kitchen is the biggest area in your home to focus on your recycling efforts since your family will be consuming food daily. Some examples of waste that can be recycled are plastic containers from yogurt or sodas, cardboard cereal boxes, and aluminum cans. Learn about what materials are recyclable and then set up bins for designated items. Be conscious of the items you’re shopping for too so you can plan in advance to use recyclable materials more often.

Laundry Room

Would you be shocked to find out that 39% of a garment’s environmental impact comes from the care of the consumer? If you think making minor changes to your life to follow more eco-friendly practices isn’t making much of a difference on the world, this fact can prove you wrong.

Some simple steps to get you started are washing your clothes in cold water, reducing the amount of loads you’re doing by waiting longer to wash items like jeans, using toxic-free detergent, and line drying your clothes.

Washing hanging out to dry

If you’re ready to look into other changes, you can pre-treat your clothes with an enzyme spray to hold you over between washes. You can also soak your whites in oxygen cleaner to remove sweat stains without having to run the clothes through the washer.

Bedrooms

Your Bedding

The main factor defining your bedroom is your bed, so you should make sure it’s environmentally friendly. There are tons of factors to consider in a mattress to make sure you’re getting your best sleep for your best health, and the sustainability should be one of them.

Look for organic mattresses made from 100% natural materials, or companies that are approved by Oeko-Tex or have a GREENGUARD certification. There’s also a plethora of options for organic bedding materials to dress your mattress in so that your bed can be “green” from headboard to toe. And when it’s time to get rid of your mattress in about 7-10 years, be socially responsible and donate or recycle.

Bed and bedside table

Sleep Aids

Have trouble sleeping at night? Don’t turn to pharmaceuticals. Instead try natural sleep aids like a warm cup of herbal tea. You could also do nighttime yoga. Stretching your body out helps relax your muscles and your mind making you ready for your best ZZZs.

Bathrooms

Water Usage

You’re probably using water the most in your bathrooms, so it’s a great place to start when you’re looking to cut down your carbon footprint. Simple steps include taking shorter showers or using LED bulbs for your lighting. For shorter showers, try a 5-minute shower timer that sticks to your wall and helps you monitor your time spent scrubbing off.

Larger steps to take to be eco-friendly in the bathroom include investing in low-flow toilets and motion sensor sinks to cut back on water usage.

Outside

Decor

For your outdoor decor, use repurposed furniture from inside your home rather than purchasing new items. You can use old chairs you’re no longer interested in having in your home or give an old piece a new function by converting a coffee table into a planter.

Gardening

Create compost piles from the materials in your kitchen to help you start a garden. You can grow your own vegetables and herbs too.

A painted green hand holding a plant

Transportation

Instead of emitting gases from your car daily, ride a bike instead. Bikes are practical, environmentally friendly, and will give you more physical activity during the day to help your health.

Creating a Green Home

If you’re interested in getting used to environmentally friendly practices but you’re still new to sustainable living it may seem challenging and overwhelming. Taking it step-by-step will help you naturally progress into new practices. Don’t try to change your entire lifestyle in one day. It’s a process that takes time and research.

When deciding how to move towards a more eco-friendly life, adopt a minimalist mentality away from consumer culture. This will help you cut back to the essentials and be on your way to having a green home.

Author Bio

Laurie Larson is a freelance writer from Durham, NC. When she’s not busy writing, she enjoys spending time out in nature and reading her favorite books.

 

For more ideas on creating an eco-friendly home, see this guest post on Motherhood: Real Deal

Cleaner Home Hacks

You may find it hard to believe, but some people love housework. They thrive on the constant cleaning that is needed. Most of us feel the opposite though, and do it because we have to, not because we get any pleasure from it at all. Anything that will make the chores simpler is very welcome…

Cleaner Home Hacks

Declutter Your Home

Nothing will make your home look messier and hardest to clean than clutter. Create some storage space, put things in storage in your garage or shed, or get rid of some. Ornaments are just dust collectors, and although it can be nice to have one or two in your living room or dining room, do not have loads. You have to clean them before you can clean the shelf they are placed on, so they just create more work.

Look round your kitchen and see what appliances are taking up space on your work surfaces. Do you use them all often, or could some of them be fetched out of a cupboard for their occasional use? Decluttering your kitchen makes it much easier to clean, and you will have more room to work on your surfaces.

Bathrooms can have toiletries, bath toys, makeup and anything else put away until they are needed.

Simple To Care For Flooring

A dirty or dusty floor gives the impression of a dirty or dusty room, so keeping your floors looking pristine can make the whole house feel better. Carpets can be a lot of hard work and if they get stained they may be ruined. Real wood floors are expensive, and although they can look brilliant, they only stay that way with a lot of care.

The simplest way to have a floor that looks good, is stain and water resistant, and is easy to maintain too, is to install laminate flooring from Factory Direct Flooring. It not only has these advantages, it is cheaper than most other floor coverings.

Vinegar And Baking Soda

These two items that many homes will already have in their cupboards can help to make short work of some of the hardest cleaning tasks. Simple things like putting some baking soda in with your wash will make the clothes come out brighter. Soaking watermarks with white vinegar, which you can pick up on Amazon cheaply, for a while will make them much easier to clean. Mixed together they can work wonders on a dirty oven or grubby pots and pans.

Forget the chemical cleaners. With these two products, you can do amazing things. Put some vinegar in water in a bowl in your microwave and set it to high for 5 minutes. Wipe out with a paper towel for a spotless microwave oven. If you have any stubborn stains, have the setting for 10 minutes.

Two short cycles of your dishwasher, the first with vinegar in a bowl and the second with baking soda sprinkled on the bottom, will bring your dishwasher up like new, and get rid of any nasty smells coming from it.

Mop dustpan and broom

There are lots of tricks to make your home cleaning less of a chore, and these three tips are just a start.

What are your top tips? Let me know in comments!

*This is a collaborative post.

5 Tips on Staying Safe While You Garden: A Guest Post by Gardenknow

With our garden often just a few steps from the comfort of our home, sometimes it’s easy to forget the risks associated with gardening. In this post written by Gardenknow, we explore tips on staying safe while you’re doing your gardening. Below is a list of 5 simple steps that will help keep you safe when you’re doing your gardening…

5 Tips on Staying Safe While You Garden: A Guest Post by Gardenknow

1. Wear Protective Gear

Regardless of the task you’re doing it’s always important to consider protective wear. Even for jobs as simple as weeding, it’s recommended that you wear knee pads. Although this isn’t the most strenuous task, years of bending down to weed without knee protection could quite easily cut your gardening years short.

For more intensive jobs such as string trimming, remember to always wear the appropriate head and eye protection. All it takes is for the one time you forget to wear your visor, a rock to be flung up into your face to cause serious damage.

2. Stick to What You Know

There’s no two ways about it; gardening is addictive. However, don’t let this lead you to jumping into tasks you haven’t done before without any prior consideration. This can lead to safety risks for you and others around you.

We recommend reading guides for carrying out tasks prior to attempting them. This way you’re going into it with some understanding of what’s required. An example of this would be in our pruning guide post which you can read here. We detail the tools, techniques and precautions required before attempting pruning.

3. Drink Plenty of Fluids

If you were planning a trip somewhere involving lots of physical exercise, you are likely to consider staying hydrated. Gardening should be no different. Again, due to gardens being so close to the comforts of your home this is something that’s often overlooked.

Staying hydrated is vital, operating machinery within your garden will take lots of your strength. This is why it’s vital that you make sure you have all the nutrients needed for a long days work in the garden. This applies to food as well as staying hydrated.

Hand holding plant and woman smiling in background.

4. Bend Properly

We don’t want to make this post sound like a manual handling induction, but please don’t forget the importance of bending with correct form. Bending is one of the most common exercises in gardening. You’ll often find yourself bending down to remove weeds, or picking up branches and leaves.

Remember to always bend your legs and keep a straight back. We’re sure many of you do this already but it’s vital we emphasise how important correct form is in preventing injury.

5. Wear Sunscreen

This is something tons of people forget all about when gardening. Often you’ll pop to the garden for a job that would take minutes then end up spending hours there. Remember, whether you’re going out for 5 minutes or 5 hours skin protection is vital.

This doesn’t only apply for the summer time either. Whether the sun is glaring down or not, you’ll still want to make sure you have all the protection you can from UV rays.

Author Bio

Linda, a writer at Gardenknow, has a real passion for spreading her knowledge gathered through decades of gardening experience. She runs the website along with her Husband Paul. They formed the site as a way to document great quality information gathered through their combined gardening experience with the hope of sharing this with others.

Home Buyers Bible: Make Sure You Do These Things Before Your Move

Moving house can be an exciting time in your life, but it can also be pretty nerve-wracking as well. You are going to be parting with more money than you ever have before in your life, so you need to be sure you are making the right choice. There are so many things that can go wrong in the process of buying a home, as well as so many things that people aren’t even aware of these days.

You need to make sure you are in the best position to be making the right choice regarding your new home. There is so much to think about, and this is such an important process. It is essential to think about how you can make the ideal choice and pick the perfect home for you. There are a lot of things you need to do before your move, and these are some of the most important.

Home Buyers Bible: Make Sure You Do These Things Before Your Move

Check Out the Area

Head to the area before you actually finalise any kind of move, and check it out. This is something you should be doing at the start of the process when you are choosing where you want to live. Visiting a town or city before moving there is the best way of getting a feel for it, and this is something you need to do asap. You will soon be able to tell if it is a nice area or one that should be avoided.

Understand all the Costs

There are a lot of costs involved when you buy a home, and this isn’t just accounting for the deposit and the mortgage payments. There is stamp duty, solicitors fees, you may have to pay estate agents if you’ve used any; there is also tax to think about. It is so important to know what all the costs are before you actually confirm or finalise anything because you need to know if you can afford it.

Hire a Surveyor

Before finalising a place, you would like to buy you need to make sure that the home is in the best condition it can be. This means getting in touch with companies like Allcott Associates Surveyors and bringing in professional surveyors. They will be able to assess the quality of the home and make you aware of any structural issues. This is something you have to do early on because it will help inform your decision.

Modern apartment block

Finalise Your Sale

Before you buy your new home, you are most likely going to want to make sure you have secured a sale for your existing home. This is crucial because you are going to need to sell the home before you can afford to buy the new one. So, making sure you have secured a sale before you actually buy is really important, and all about timing.

It is pretty clear that you’re going to need to make sure you get these parts of the process right before you move forward. They are essential for ensuring you have the perfect home, and that you’ve made the right financial choice for your future. Think about all the decisions you have made before, and consider what it takes to make the perfect choice here. These factors will set you well on your way to making sure you have chosen the home of your dreams.

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Essential Tips For Moving Home

Are you planning to move home? I personally have moved over a dozen times in my life, including property purchases and sales, to and from rentals, as a single, in a couple, and with Squiggle. Our last three moves have been since becoming a parent and that is not easy, that’s for sure! Moving can be stressful whether you have a family in tow or not, but there are ways to help ensure a smooth(er) move. Here are some tips, based on our experiences…

Essential Tips For Moving Home text with image of hand holding keys

House Hunting

There are so many tips for house hunting, I think this would need a post of its own! In very brief summary; consider the area, local facilities, what the neighbourhood and that particular road is like, the house itself (layout, type of build/ style, state of repair etc…), your actual neighbours and so on. Ask questions of the vendor to find out why they are selling too.

First Time Buyers

As first time buyers, we were a little over eager and rushed into it somewhat. We also totally underestimated the costs involved!

My advice would be to haggle and don’t be afraid to walk away. Take your time to think about what you really want from a home; what your priorities are and what you are prepared to compromise on. Take into account the cost of surveys, solicitor fees, stamp duty and actual moving day costs, as well as any other expenses, and make sure you have enough set aside for any unexpected eventualities too!

House with a for sale sign

Buying and Selling

We found buying and selling hugely stressful and had a horrendous experience. We made alot of rookie mistakes, but we were also quite unlucky, and I think we certainly should have chosen our solicitor more carefully too, to be honest. I won’t go into the finer details on this post (maybe one day!) but it’s not an experience I would like to repeat!

All of my above advice for first time buyers applies here too. Remember there will be greater expense, especially in solicitors fees, if you are buying and selling at the same time. Make sure you have a good solicitor and keep in regular communication with your chain.

If you need to pull out during the process for any reason, do not let other members of the chain pressure you into proceeding regardless, if your reasons for doing so can not be fully resolved. However, if the chain starts to crumble elsewhere down the line, see if there is any way of helping to resolve the issues as this is mutually beneficial. The bottom line is, moving home is a huge expense, so only go ahead if and when you are 100% sure.

Renting

We have rented many homes, some short term and some longer term. We rented when we were younger but we also rent our family home now too. These days we are very specific about what we are looking for but before we had a child to consider, we were somewhat more versatile!

If you are renting, you need to think about whether it is a long term let (worth asking about the landlord’s situation in our experience), is it furnished or unfurnished, and do they allow pets. If it is a shared house, you also need to consider who your housemates will be of course. If it is a family home and/ or long term let especially, you are also likely to want to take into account the tips mentioned for house hunting above too.

Practical Tips For The Actual Move

My top tip for the actual move is to enlist plenty of help! Depending on how much stuff you have, how busy you are, and how far you are moving, largely dictates how much help, and what type, you are likely to need.

Squiggle and Andy carrying items from van

Many people, including ourselves, pack up their own belongings to cut costs and save some money, rather than paying a full service removal company. We have often hired a van ourselves too, especially if we are only moving locally. However, I would recommend getting some friends or family to help, or alternatively hire a man with a van to assist. We did this before and it certainly relieved some of the stress!

For example Man and Van services – The man van operates in the London area and offers a cost effective solution to moving home or office. There is a choice of a smaller van if you have less stuff or a larger Luton van for a whole house move. As long as you can fit all your belongings and furniture into one load, or if it is just a very short journey (for example we once moved just a few streets away) then this often a more economical solution that a larger removal company and more practical than doing it entirely yourself.

Another tip is to be organised. Arrange to get the keys as early as you can in the day to allow yourself more moving time. With rentals you can allow yourself a small overlap, if finances and circumstances permit, to take the pressure off somewhat. Bare in mind when buying a house though, the keys are not usually released until the solicitor has received your money. So make sure they will be available and easily contactable on the day!

Do you have any top tips for moving? Tell me in comments!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Do You Know What Stuff Not To Flush? (A Really Useful Guide To Drains)

Do you know what should – and more to the point, shouldn’t – go down your drains? A whopping 93.9% of people declare that they are confident knowing what should and shouldn’t be poured down the drain or flushed down the toilet, leaving only 6.1% saying they are not too sure.

Infographic % of people knowing what should flush or pour down drains

But are they correct? UKDN have conducted some research to find out more about what people put down their drains – What The Flush? – and discovered that many people don’t quite have their facts straight after all.

Do You Know What Stuff Not To Flush? (A Really Useful Guide To Drains)

Down the Drain

When asked what items they pour down the sink, almost a quarter admitted to pouring cooking oil (24.7%) and coffee granules (24.7%) down the sink. Worse still, just under half the people surveyed – 43.5% of them – pour sauces down their drain. Other culprits included meat fat (22.3% of people) and actual food leftovers (18.4%). So it seems some people don’t have it quite right after all…

What do you pour down the sink infographic

Bathroom Habits

The research also looked into what goes on in the bathroom; which items people flush away or pour down their bathroom drains. Whilst I was less surprised to see that 18.6% confess that their hair goes down the plug hole, I was disappointed to find out that a small minority of people still flush away their sanitary wear (10.6% for tampons and 8.6% towels) and was even more shocked to discover that 5.5% of people flush away nappies, 3.7% cigarette butts and 4.7% also dispose of condoms this way too?! Wet wipes are a massive issue as well, so it was sad to see 14.1% of people are still yet to get the message about those.

What items do you flush or pour down bathroom drains? Infographic.

So what’s the issue?

There has been plenty of media attention about wet wipes lately, the main problem being that they are made of non biodegradeable plastic. Packaging is often misleading too, stating they are flushable, which causes a huge amount of concern for our environment. Some research suggests wet wipes account for as much as 93% of blockages in UK sewers and many campaigners would like to see a ban on them altogether.

But, of course, it is not just the wet wipes that are the issue here. Even the kitchen items which, whilst in theory might seem less of an issue as at least these are more organic matter, still block up drains. Oil can solidify, food lumps together, sauces congeal, and so on.

All of this combined is then the real major issue; because put together it creates a solid mass known as a fatberg. A fatberg is a congealed lump in a sewer system formed by the combination of non-biodegradable solid matter, such as wet wipes, with grease or cooking fat. They have become an increasing problem in recent years. The remains of a massive fatberg found in London sewers is even on display at The Museum of London to try to highlight the problem!

How would you feel if a fatberg was discovered in your street? Infographic

In addition to this issue, other single-use plastics, which never break down completely and cause huge issues for marine life, are also being sent off to pollute our environment. Along with the various other items, if they don’t turn into fatbergs and block our sewers on the way, still end up somewhere they shouldn’t be! All of which leads to damaging effects on our environment, water and wildlife. One way or another, it causes an issue.

Furthermore, when our drains get blocked at home, harsh chemicals are often then required to unclog them too, leading to yet further pollution. Clearly the best solution would be to just stop doing all this in the first place!

Plug hole

Top Tips

So here are my top tips to help keep drains unblocked and to develop more environmentally- friendly habits in your home…

• Avoid putting oil, fat, sauce, coffee and food waste down your kitchen drain by disposing of it correctly. For oil, fat and sauce either let it solidify then tip it into the trash, or pour it into a non- recyclable container and throw it away. Small amounts of solidified waste can be put in with food waste in some areas – check with your local council. Coffee granules and all food leftovers also go in your food waste bin.

• Keep hair out of your bathroom drains by brushing it thoroughly before you shower. Use a plug hole guard if you are prone to shedding and ensure you remove any trapped hair then discard it before it has a chance to disappear into your drain.

• If you use coconut oil (or any other type of natural oil) to wash your hair, try to rinse it off into a bowl so that it doesn’t wash down your drain. Failing that, run the hot tap for several minutes straight after rinsing, provided the tap comes out with very hot water. Or pour boiling water down the drain straight after use.

• Try to replace disposables with reusables if at all possible. If you do use single-use items, dispose of them correctly. This usually means in the bin, unless it can be recycled!

• Use home-made unblocker if needed. Try using baking soda and white vinegar to clear your drains. It will fizz up and create bubbles instantly; pour it down the drain as quickly as possible. Follow it up with boiling water later on.

• Contact UKDN drain unblocking service if you are experiencing issues with blocked drains. Sometimes a professional is needed!

I hope this advice is helpful. Have you discovered any useful drainage tips? Let me know in comments!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.