Yes, You Can Use Rugs (Even With Allergies!)

Our goal at Holistic Spaces is to help you create a nurturing home where you feel safe, nourished and uplifted. This can include anything from the way you choose to design your space to the type of artwork you hang to the materials of your furniture, bedding, rugs, etc. This last aspect of creating an ideal home can be incredibly important if allergies are a concern for you. Fortunately, you don't have to forego beautiful rugs to avoid the sniffles!

If carpeting is a problem for you because of allergies (or even if you live in New York City, where carpeting is rare), rest easy in the knowledge that washable rugs and hardwood floors are actually much better, health-wise! It's easy to understand with hardwood floors; they're easier to clean and contain no fibers to trap icky dust mites and the like. Hardwood is notoriously not so great on cold feet, though, so don't kiss rugs goodbye! If you choose washable rugs and pay close attention to the material, it is absolutely possible for gorgeous rugs and allergies to co-exist.

Swing Low (Pile)

First things first, opt for low-pile rugs. While lush, thick carpeting is comforting during the cold winter, it offers many more places for mites and allergens to hide out, which is no good for those of us who are sensitive. In choosing shorter threads and less plush materials, we can add rugs to our space and still breathe easy.

Go Natural

In the same vein, check out natural material options, for a variety of reasons. Many natural materials, like jute, contain organic substances like tannin that repel some of the gross creatures that make us sneeze and tear up. In addition, there are a variety of companies who produce jute and other organic rugs that contribute directly to Fair Trade practices and serve to help others in developing countries and save on your pharmacy bill. 

Keep It Clean!

Finally, no matter what type of rug you choose, make sure to clean it regularly! This should go without saying, since part of having a holistic space is having a clean space, but especially in the case of allergens, it's important not to skip the rugs. Vacuum rugs regularly with a HEPA filter to ensure you're picking up everything you can, and be sure to take them out for a good shake from time to time! 

If you've read any of our rug posts and wished you could add rugs to your holistic space, this is the way to go! By taking care to pay attention to materials and styles and keeping your space clean, we're confident you can bring rugs into your space without buying an extra box of tissues. If you decide to go for it, let us know! 

by Anjie Cho

Go Fair Trade in Your Holistic Spaces

Go Fair Trade in Your Holistic Spaces.jpg

October is Fair Trade Month, which is exciting for us, because Fair Trade principles align closely with what we work toward in creating truly nourishing holistic spaces. There are numerous organizations dedicated to moving us closer to a Fair Trade society, and though each of them has their own set of specific standards and guidelines, there are a few underlying principles that really define what it means to encourage Fair Trade. 

First, let's define "fair trade." According to Merriam-Webster, fair trade is 

a movement whose goal is to help producers in developing countries to get a fair price for their products so as to reduce poverty, provide for the ethical treatment of workers and farmers, and promote environmentally sustainable practices.

Following this general push to ensure that producers around the world are treated fairly and humanely, Fair Trade principles require that organizations participating in this trade meet the following guidelines:

  • Seek to create opportunities for disadvantaged producers
  • Maintain clear and understandable processes and procedures
  • Establish fair prices that will both benefit producers and find sustainability in market
  • Refrain from engaging in any sort of child labor or forced labor
  • Refrain from discrimination for any reason, including but not limited to, age, gender, caste, nationality, HIV status and political beliefs
  • Provide good working conditions
  • Provide training and beneficial opportunities for workers to build their skills
  • Actively promote fair trade
  • Respect the environment

These conditions ensure that employers and companies not only reach out to third-world producers to take an active part in relieving poverty, but that each of these service providers and producers are treated with humane, dignified conditions that establish an enhanced quality of life. 

This is all great, but what can each of us do to help encourage fair trading in our society? We can seek out Fair Trade products! The most common Fair Trade items are coffee, wine, fresh fruits and handicrafts. When you're creating a holistic space, Fair Trade handicrafts can be a fantastic way to fill your space with beautiful items while helping others at the same time! 

Keep an eye out for:

  • hand knit, organic textiles
  • hand carved statues and home decor
  • hand embroidered wall hangings and other art made from natural materials like jute. (Organic cotton is farmed with much higher regard for our environment, and often by family farmers in disadvantaged areas. Likewise, jute is a 100% biodegradable and recyclable rain-fed crop that grows predominately in Bangladesh and other Indian countries. )
  • fair trade essential oils, (like the ones we use in our home mists!)

Like everything, there are products that will give the impression of Fair Trade without meeting the requirements, so be sure to look for a Fair Trade seal and do your research! Check out My Favorite Things this month to get your search started!

by Anjie Cho

Visit the Holistic Spaces Store

My Favorite Things: 5 Fair Trade Autumn Essentials

Welcome to My Favorite Things! Each month, we highlight products to help you create a holistic lifestyle that inspires and nurtures you, so that you can be happier and feel supported.

October is officially Fair Trade Month, during which we're all encouraged to focus on making purchases that align with fair trade practices around the world. Seeking out fair trade goods is a spectacular way to do our part to ensure that our environment and workers and employees around the world are not exploited in any way. In honor of Fair Trade Month and the new season, we've gathered up our favorite fall essentials that contribute to fair and honest working conditions around the globe!

Organic Cotton Throw

Fall is the time to add warmer layers to your space, and this organic throw is an incredible addition. It's not only 100% organic cotton with eco-friendly, non-toxic dyes, it's sourced ethically in India and produced on Fair Trade farms and mills. 

Throws even come in a reusable storage box, and a portion of proceeds goes to stop human trafficking. If you want to embrace the season in feng shui style, opt for white to symbolize the Metal element and Completion area of the bagua, which are associated with fall. 

Available at: Boll & Branch

Jute Market Bag

As the weather cools, It's time to head to the farmer's market and choose seasonal veggies to nurture your body and spirit. We've talked before about bringing your own bag, and this one is perfect!

This jute market bag is hand knotted and stretches to accommodate various market products. They are created by CORR: The Jute Works, a Fair Trade Bangladesh organization that works to help rural women provide for their families and provides beneficial trainings on everyday issues. A portion of funds from craft sales go to helping children attend school as well!

Available at: serrv

Recycled Metal Bells

One of our favorite ways to say hello to fall is through the feng shui cure of circumambulation (here's what that means), and these bells are a great tool! 

Handmade in Moradabad, India as part of a workshop through Noah's Ark, a Fair Trade registered handicraft marketing organization, these recycled bells are perfect for circumambulating to activate clarity and joy in your space for the new season. Since they're metal, they also add the metal element, which is related to autumn! 

Available at: One World Projects

Focus Spray with Essential Oils

Here at Holistic Spaces, we're proud to also use Fair Trade where possible, including our apothecary mists, no. 1 Happy and no. 2 Focus, which are made with Fair Trade essential oils

Autumn is time for grounding ourselves in preparation for winter, and as we near the holiday season, stressors and busyness can make focus difficult. Our Focus spray helps to provide grounding and meditative focus and is safe and eco-friendly! 

Available at: Holistic Spaces

Plant-Based Dry Skin Brush

Skin is our largest organ, and it can get sluggish during the change to cooler weather. Dry brushing can help to give your skin and lymphatic system a refresh to ensure that you're eliminating toxins as needed throughout the autumn and winter.

This brush is made with ethically traded cactus bristles, harvested and manufactured by a group of indigenous Nanhu women called Ya Munts'I Behna. 

Available at: The Body Shop