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We are moving and I would like this to be a chance for our family to refine our NFL efforts. I'd love a little guidance because we are in a place to start new in so many areas (something that's difficult for me to do in the midst of daily life).

First, we're renting a new place to live. I already know that we'll be looking for a place that's not too big but I'd love some other suggestions like what to look for with air quality and general issues around where and why type of housing one chooses. (health as well as environmental issues)

I'll also need new cleaning supplies (laundry, dishwasher). This has been something we aren't so great with so I'd really benefit from some basics.

We'll be choosing utilities and I posted about Green Power, which is something I'll look into. What else?

I've considered joining a co-op for organics but there isn't one in my area. There is a delivery service but I'm not sure about this. Maybe I could find a farm to visit once/week. Thoughts? Also, I'd like to switch to only organic meat but that will mean finding some alternatives for DH who eats quite a bit of meat, which we couldn't afford if we switched to organic. Alternatives to ready made meals would be helpful as well because DH likes a fast, easy meal from time to time.

That's all for now, Thanks.
 

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I think there are some basic things you can look for with the next home that will be helpful for air quality. Flooring is important on the interior. Synthetic fiber carpet can outgas if it is fairly new, but as it ages it becomes a magnet for dust and mold down deep where it is not easy to see. Better to have floors that are natural hard surfaces, such as wood, ceramic, cork, bamboo, concrete, or linoleum and use area rugs to provide warmth. Also, check the state of the walls- are they old plaster or a new material. If plaster, make sure they are not crumbly or chipping. Walls that were painted before 1978 will likely have lead in them. Also check around windows for flaking paint.
Really, whenever possible, look for the real material instead of imitation. So, look at the cabinents and try to find real wood instead of particle board with a melamine or laminate cover. Countertops are usually laminate, but they can easily be replaced with butcher's block, tile, sheet metal, or even glass with out being to expensive.
Another important feature that effects air quality is siding and insulation. Stay away from vinyl... it has a hole lot of draw backs for the one year it looks nice. Wood, cement board, stucco, stone, brick, even metal siding are much better because they less likely to trap moister and grow mold in the insulation. It is important to have good insulation and if you have to add or update, it is better to find insulation that is not fiberglass or treated with fermaldehyde.
We are members of a coop and we get to participate in regular sales and get more coupons than noncoop shoppers. We try to eat organic as much as possible. I try to stock up on pantry items when they are on sale and store them til we need them (flour, canned goods, rice, etc.) We do price shop a little bit because one of the conventional stores has about 3 organic products available, but they are cheaper than our coop. We also joined a buying club and buy things we regularly use in bulk, such as veggie broth, lentils, coconut milk, and so on.
 

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Will there be a Target nearby? If so, I really like their 'Method' cleaning products. Environmentally friendly diswashing, laundry, multi-purpose cleaners and soap. Otherwise, you can always make your own!


I like what pp said about flooring, exterior, interior surfaces. We live in an old stucco house with hardwood flooring throughout - love it! What part of the U.S. are you choosing? If it's cold, depending on the type of apartment you rent (new vs. old), make sure that the window and door seals are tight. If it's a new apartment, you'll definitely want an air filtration system. Dust particles from construction can take a year to cycle out.
 
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