E113 – Conscious Consuming and Changing Buying Habits – Sustainable Homes and Living Season E3

In this episode of the podcast, Frances welcomes back Sally Flower from Home Sanctuary to chat about buying in a more conscious manner. We discuss the changes in consumer buying behaviour in a world full of advertising and messages to consume and want more, when actually it’s not necessary.  

There are plenty of tips and ways that we can buy in a more conscious way, that will not only save our wallet, but also add to our overall happiness. Sally and I talk about how this can be achieved in this super informative and thought-provoking episode.


Key tips for when someone is buying something new 

1. How did it get to me: 

  • Can I consume something that has limited impact in construction? 
  • Is this using raw materials or recycled materials? 
  • How much packaging does this item have that can’t be reused 
  • Who made it? 
  • Who is benefitting from this purchase? Is a large retailer benefitting, or a small bespoke manufacturer or person benefitting?  
  • Are staff being paid properly to produce this item? 

2. How long will its life be with me: 

  • Is it really going to be well-used for many years or is it something that is being purchased for a ‘hit’. 
  • Is it something that’s going to be working well with everything else that I own?  Is it going to fit in my home and lifestyle?  
  • Does it have multiple uses?  
  • Do I already have something at home that could do what this does?  

3. Think about the items End of life: 

  • If I no longer want this item, what am I going to do with it?  
  • Is it high enough quality to donate?  
  • Is it going to be recyclable?  
  • Can I upcycle it?  
  • What is its shelf life with me? Am I going to have it for a long time?

Thoughts on ‘fast fashion interiors’ mentality? 

“Fast fashion interiors” – Regardless of what it costs, the mentality that you can just throw it out eventually is what makes it cheap 

We need to change the way we feel and view products. Purchasing will always come back down with your base level happiness.  

Change the fundamental ways that you buy. It’s the intention behind the purchase that matters. 

How to be a more conscious consumer 

  • Make sure you don’t already have it.  
  • Declutter – you may find you have it or something similar 
  • Think if you already have something similar that you can use instead of purchasing a new one 
  • Borrow it 
  • Can you buy it used/ second-hand 
  • Is it repairable? 

Being a conscious consumer with home renovations and new builds 

  • Retrofitting and repairing is always better than building new 
  • Building a more sustainable home is about the design and how it’s built. 
  • Using materials that have environmental credentials – eg Green Tag 
  • Filling our homes with things we love because if they mean something, they will stay with us longer  
  • Buying quality items that will last instead of ‘cheap and cheerful’ 
  • European approach -save and buy really good quality that you plan to keep for years 
  • Do not buy everything at once. Live in the home first and work out what you really need based on how you use different spaces. 

You’ve mentioned that there is now a heap of things you no longer buy. Please share with us, what you are no longer buying, and why? 


Two easiest things that you  can do to become a more sustainable consumer 

  • Always choose less (plan and create boundaries) Recycling will not save us) 
  • Support the businesses paving the way 

Anything else you would like to share with our listeners to help them on their sustainable consumer journey? 

  • It’s a journey- we are all at different stages. 
  • Lead by example. Lead in a way that you’re encouraging people to take on the sustainable steps rather than condemning them for not doing the right thing.   

Find more about Home Sanctuary 

Website: https://www.homesanctuary.com.au/  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/homesanct  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/homesanct 

10-day Challenge: https://www.homesanctuary.com.au/challenge-sign-up 

Sustainability Blogs: https://www.homesanctuary.com.au/sustainability 


Learn more in our blog “Designing with Sustainable Materials” which you can access here.  

I have dedicated a whole chapter about Sustainable Money Savers in my book ‘Your Forever Home. Order your copy here. 

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