3 years and counting

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been in our house for three years now. On the one hand it feels like this has been our home forever, I’m fairly certain that our eldest doesn’t remember the four other homes that he had before this at all. On the other hand though, three years have gone by so fast and even though things look really different, there are lots of projects still left that we want to do.

Some of the things we’ve tackled in the past three years:

Things that we still want to do:

Honestly, when I write it all out like that I’m both impressed by everything we’ve done, and slightly overwhelmed by everything we have left.
With the projects we’ve done in the past, and with future projects we plan to do, we’ve always tried to be careful during the renovation process. It’s so important to take the extra precautions when you’re rehabbing a house because you never know what might be in the materials, especially in older homes. One of the reasons that the hall bathroom was such a priority when we first moved in is because there was a mildew/mold issue on the flooring in front of the tub that went down to the subfloor.
As much as we want to make our home a beautiful and functional place for us to live, we also want it to be a healthy and safe environment. That’s why when the Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Center reached out to me to help spread awareness I was happy to. Here is a great checklist you can use to help gauge your own home’s health.

//Don't disturb asbestos//
Luckily, our home isn't quite old enough that we needed to worry about this, but it's always a good idea to get your home checked just in case. Especially if you're going to be tearing into the flooring, walls, or ceiling where asbestos is usually found in the materials used in older homes. Exposure to asbestos fibers and breathing them in is the primary cause of mesothelioma so you want to be extra careful. There are professionals who can test for it and then safely remove it if found.

//Avoid unnatural cleaning products//
This is one that I don’t follow 100%, but I do try to be careful about what and where I use certain products. Plus, over the years I have been trying to simplify so I have been cutting down on my total number of products. One of my absolute favorite cleaning products is vinegar. It might have strong odor, but it is great for getting stainless steel all shiny and it is my go-to laundry aid. When one of my children has an “accident”, it’s great for getting out the smell not only in their clothing, but from wherever it took place. I also use it about every other time I wash towels to help them stay fluffy. Another natural cleaning product I love is lemon essential oil. This is wonderful for dusting my wood furniture and leaves the house smelling so good!

//Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms//
When we moved into our house we only had one or two and a lot of blank spaces where others should have been. We purchased replacements for all of them and, after a very loud and confusing unplanned late night fire drill (still have no idea why the alarm kept going off), I am very happy to say that we KNOW they work. ;)

//Cut down on air freshener use in the home//
I really dislike air freshener sprays. They usually have such an overpowering scent and after you spray them you feel like you’re inhaling them. However, in a house with four little ones with two in diapers, you can imagine it can start getting pretty foul sometimes. I used to like the plug-in scents, but over the past year have fallen in love with wax warmers. The scents are so nice and there are some really great brands out there (did you know Burt’s Bees makes wax melts?!). Plus, unlike with candles, I don’t have to worry as much about one of my children burning themselves… or our house down. Another thing I like to do is put a few drops of essential oils in a mug of water and sit it on top of our wood burning stove when we have a fire going to diffuse the scent.

//Ensure proper ventilation to prevent moisture that can promote mold growth//
When we redid the hall bathroom we replaced the fan with one that was a little bit more efficient, and had a light. When the weather is good I also try to open the high window a little bit when we’re in there giving the kids baths or showers. Our master bedroom doesn’t currently have a fan in it but when we remodel we plan to put one in. We also pretty much always either crack the window in there or leave the door open to the bedroom while we’re using the shower.

How do you help keep yourself and your family safe during home renovation projects? What tips do you have?