Four months ago I moved to a lovely little house in the country. I LOVE IT. It has charm, character and a great size garden. Mostly though I love it because it is as close to natural as I am going to get right now whilst maintaining some kind of modern comfort. I wish I could give it all up and go and live like a bear in the woods but I'm just not there yet. I like having a washing machine and a bathtub. I also like to live as naturally as I can. It's really important to me and the more steps I take towards a natural, simple life, the better life seems to be.
The house I live in now is made of cob (straw, sand and clay mashed up together) and it's over 400 years old. It has a thatched roof and wooden doors. The windows are very old with little holes in them and they are single glazed. There is no central heating but rather the cottage is heated using a range stove. As dusk approaches, I can hear birds and mice inside the walls bedding down for the night and the best bit, everything in the cottage is wonky!
Why does it matter (to me) to live in a natural home made of natural materials? Unless a modern house is very well ventilated the building materials will be releasing toxic fumes and over the years these accumulate in the air and slowly poison us. (If you eat a typical modern western diet, the poisoning is probably happening rather quickly) Then there are all those furnishings and things we stuff into our houses. Many of them are not natural and if they were, i.e. a leather sofa, they get treated with fire retardant chemicals that further release toxins into the air. We would better off taking a risk and better care in our homes and avoiding pesticides in our kill bugs in our carpets and fire retardants on our furnishings. There are other ways, wool is naturally flame resistant. I would rather my furnishings be stuffed with wool, horse hair and the like and that I take full responsibility to be careful than to have anything toxic and harmful in my home. It is rather challenging to find completely natural furnishings and when I do, they are often very expensive.
Over the past 3 or 4 years I have been slowly removing all toxic items from my home. One item by itself probably isn't harmful, however a house full of chemically treated, unnatural items, over a lifetime certainly is. The carpet in our cottage is old and marked. I don't want a new one because new carpets are loaded with toxic chemicals. My little ones play on the floor often, children are very sensitive and I don't want them rolling around on known cancer causing chemicals so we keep the shabby old carpet and lay sheepskin rugs all over the floor.
All of my bedding is now organic and natural materials only so my body can breathe at night. (Polyester bedding prevents the skin from breathing). My pillows are made from organic kapok and covered in organic cotton. I made them myself because they are rather expensive to buy. Most of us sleep for around 8 hours each night. That is a long time to have your face pressed against something toxic and breathing it in deeply. Therefore we want to be sure that the material is natural and of good quality. We need to sleep on, press our skin (the body's largest organ) and breathe deeply next to pure, natural fibres.
It's not just natural fibres either, we need organic natural fibres such as cotton pillowcases because if they are not organic , the cotton is drenched in pesticides. Maybe these wash out over time. When money has been tight and I cannot afford organic clothing and furnishings, I buy second hand because at least the items have been washed many times and there is a chance that the pesticide levels are reduced compared to new items. Still, I can't be sure this is true so I have much less and always try to buy organic. It is well documented that many cotton growers get seriously sick and this is believed to be due to the heavy use of pesticides. I don't want that kind of cotton on my bed, in my bedroom, in my home .... heck, I don't want it anywhere on this beautiful planet so I am not supporting this madness anymore!
Before I finish up here I just want to mention children's pajamas because this is what brought my awareness to toxic clothing and furnishings in the first place. Did you know that many babies and children's night clothes are treated with known cancer causing chemicals? This is done to protect them in case of a fire. What is going to protect them from these toxic chemicals? When I discovered this I started researching how natural and safe clothing was. It turns out it is not at all when you consider the fibres used, if they are natural then how are they grown and then the dyes added to the clothing. It's all become so complicated, unbalanced and unhealthy and it need not be.
I need to end on a positive note and I need to live in a positive mindset and I still do believe it's a beautiful life so here are my solutions (for me and my family) so I can find peace with these issues. I choose not buy new non-organic clothing and I no longer support those making money of toxic clothing and furnishing. I choose to wear only natural fibres (exception wellies and a raincoat, although I am working on an alternative). I am gaining skills so that I can make my own clothes. I may not rely on these skills to meet all of our clothing and soft furnishing needs but I want to be able to make them if I choose. I am teaching my children these skills too. We are learning how to knit, sew, felt, crochet, spin and dye fabric. My latest project was gnome hats and my children love them. I will probably stick to wearing mine in the house as the villagers already think I am a bit strange, lol! Thanks for reading. Blessing to you.
For further information regarding toxins within the home please explore the following report