Your Organic Resolutions For 2017

It's almost a brand-new year, and with the change of that last of the four digits comes resolutions to do better, more (or sometimes less), or more targeted things in the days to come.

Yep - New Year's resolutions. We have a love/hate relationship with them, don't we? On the one hand, change can be scary - and sometimes difficult. On the other hand, a fresh start is chock full of optimism and gives us something to strive for.

In my household, our resolutions run the gamut. For the kids, it's usually school, a hobby/talent (it was the violin for my littlest last year), or being a better friend....or keeping the room a bit neater. (That last IS optimistic!) For the two of us grownups, things tend to be more inclusive and larger, at least in our eyes. But whether large or small, any change in a positive direction can only be a good thing.

Looking to keep a healthier, more organic home? Here are some resolutions you may wish to add to your 2017 list. Happy New Year!

Read, read, read. Knowledge is power...and reading is always a good thing. You'll be surprised how much you learn about your family's health and what's really safe, or dangerous, to your household. Subscribe to organic blogs (I do), comb the library for information, sub to newsletters. Fresh information is constantly emerging on toxicity and health, so stay on top of things.

Put down the devices. Addicted to your electronics? Who isn't? Even in our as-green-as-possible (and getting greener all the time) household, we find it tough to put down the tablet, phone or laptop. But when you DO put down (and - gasp- even turn off! Yes, really) the devices, you'll be surprised how much you find to do that enriches your life. You'll start talking to one another again (rather than texting from the other room), you'll take walks, you'll laugh together, you'll play board games. Put the electronics away, give your brain, eyes and body a break from the EMFs and wake up to who you really are and what you like to do when your entertainment isn't put right in front of your face.

Support local growers. Small-scale farms CAN be expensive...but they don't have to be. We've had more luck contacting local farms directly than at farmer's markets, which are lots of fun (yes, we go! As often as we can) but often come with a higher price tag. That's too bad, because local growers have a tough enough time as it is, but what's a family on a budget to do? Find out what farms surround your area. Find their websites if they have one, or call/email and ask when specials are and what will be coming into season. In-season produce is generally less expensive and fresher than stored fruits and veggies. You'll be healthier with fresh picks, and growers will be encouraged to keep on fighting the big fight in the face of larger-scale, non-organic farms.

Consider ditching the plastic - or at least, reducing it. We switched over from plastic cups to metal, glass or ceramics as our final frontier in this area, but there are all kinds of ways you can reduce or eliminate plastic use in the home. Store food in ceramics or glass (yes, you'll need to take greater care not to break them...just like in the old days). Use fabric grocery bags. Each time you replace a plastic item, you're one step closer to a more natural life in this regard, so take little steps for now if that's all you can do. Every effort counts!

Start gardening. Gardening doesn't have to be a giant effort. If you're short on space, try container gardening, or plant herbs in pots and put them on your windowsill. Even an apartment balcony can house a few potted tomatoes, onions, and even small fruit trees. When you grow your own food, you have control over whether or not it's entirely organic, including the soil you use (so add composting to your resolutions list, too!).

Switch to organic bedding, fabrics and upholstery where possible. It's not just the synthetic materials - many commercially available home textiles are treated in order to make them fire-retardant. While that's all for a good cause, it means more chemicals are added to what you sit on, wear and sleep cuddled up in each night. Switch to cotton or wool.

Whatever resolutions your new year brings, may 2017 be your best, happiest, and healthiest year ever!