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deliberateLIFE engages today's globally-conscious citizen in building a better tomorrow. We believe choices matter – so we vet ideas, products and organizations to make it easier for today's busy professionals to live well and do good.







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Why Buy Local Vintage Furnishings?

Fay Johnson

by Kelly LaPlante

We all know that the things you choose to bring into your home make a difference. Where they are made, how they are made, how the makers are compensated—for the conscientious consumer, factors to consider can be overwhelming, paralyzing even.

I'm lucky, I suppose, that when I started on my path as a sustainable designer, there weren't a lot of options. "Green-washing" wasn't a thing, yet. I didn't have thousands of companies vying for my sustainable spend. At the time, it was very clear to me that buying secondhand furnishings was the best, easiest and most efficient way for me to produce sustainable interiors.

Today, there are plenty of excellent companies who are doing a phenomenal job of producing new items that are healthy and enriching for both people and the planet—and, believe me, I spend some serious cash with these companies. That said, I still regularly make the case for finding a piece at your local vintage store. Here's why:

Local = Good

Recently, I accepted a stint as the Guest Editor for Trove Market—an app and website that helps people buy and sell vintage or pre-loved furnishings, locally. Theirs is a mission that definitely resonates with me. Supporting your neighbors = good for your local economy. Buying something from someone nearby, rather than having it shipped from overseas = good for the planet. See where I'm going, here?

Also, I admit it, I like instant gratification. Finding something local means I don't have to wait. I can go pick it up today!

They Don't Make Them Like They Used To

In this current era of disposable furnishings (need I even mention the "I" word?) it feels incredibly satisfying to find a great old piece that has already stood the test of time and has plenty more years to go. Not to mention that our design forefathers were pretty damn fantastic. There's a reason mid century modern never goes out of style.

I'll (Not) Have What She's Having

Nothing is worse than spending good money on your furnishings, only to see the exact same pieces all over Instagram. I can think of a particular rug that, last year, suddenly became the go-to piece for designers from Los Angeles to Brooklyn. How disappointing to put all that work into a project and then feel like a key component is nothing more than a carbon copy!

Having the same piece as everyone else also pretty much guarantees that you are going to get sick of it faster. Buying something vintage solves that problem—it's uncommon to see the exact same piece twice, much less hundreds of times.

The Damage Is Done

Aside from a few extraordinary companies who are achieving a net zero carbon footprint, even sustainable manufacturers leave a mark on our planet. That's not to say that they aren't doing a lot of extraordinary things, like creating jobs and producing eco-friendly goods that are safe to bring into our homes. But, from time to time, I just like to feel like my purchase results in no new ecological damage, whatsoever (save for the 1/8 tank of gas I use to go pick it up).

The footprint of that old table or chair was made decades ago— and my purchase relives a tiny bit of the demand for new production. Gold star for me.

The Thrill of the Hunt

This is really what inspired Trove Market. The founders love hunting for diamonds in the rough, and so do I. When you find the perfect vintage treasure at the perfect price, you feel like you hit the jackpot.

It's a feeling worth chasing.



Kelly LaPlante is a sustainable designer, entrepreneur and journalist. She is the author of écologique: the style of sustainable design (2008) and was the founder and Editorial Director of Standard Magazine (2010-2013). Currently, she enjoys serving as Guest Editor at Trove Market. You can find Kelly at kellylaplante.com, or via Instagram and Twitter @kelly_laplante.

4 Ways to Make Your Clothes Last Longer

Annmarie Rodriguez

By Annmarie Rodriguez 

1. Put your jeans in the freezer.

If your jeans have an undesirable odor or you're worried about their color fading with too many washes, place them in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer. The cold temperature will fight off the bacteria causing the smell. Doing this allows you to wash your jeans less.  

Both you and the environment win!

According to Levi Strauss Co., "If everyone in the U.S. washed their jeans after every 10 wears instead of just two (the national average), we would save enough water to meet the annual water needs for the city of San Diego (or San Jose, or Dallas!) and enough energy to power 1.3 million households.” 

*For explicit directions on how, check out this video from Apartment Therapy.

2. Use Lemons Or Baking Soda

To get out unwanted armpit stains use lemons or baking soda. For especially tough marks, put baking soda and water on the stain, let it soak in for a few minutes and then wash.

3. Use Hairspray Or Clear Nail Polish.

Snagged your tights and worried that they'll rip? Spray hairspray or paint clear nail polish on the tears to keep them from running.

4. Shave Off The Lint & Fuzz.

Got a bunch of loose lint and fuzz on your sweater, jeans or jacket? Use a razor to shave them off and restore it back to its non-linty greatness! Then, use tape to take off any left over pieces. 

*Note: the blade on the razor will only take off the surface level fuzz. 

[Image from Cotton + Curls]

Sweater Weather

Seth Strickland

Everyone who reads this magazine in a tropical climate can ignore this post. 

For the rest of you: here in the Northern reaches of the East Coast, summer's lease hath all too short a date, and it's nearly time for temperatures to drop and for all of us to pause at a long-neglected spot on the rug and reach for... (cue Psycho  violins) the thermostat! Well, it's not that scary. Cheap thriller tactics. But, as deliberateLIFE  shows you in our issues (and issues - hah!), every decision you make is important for you and for others around you.

Resume scene.

You're reaching for the thermostat, but what kind is it? Not something you've thought of? Let's consider it. If it's one of those thermostats which look like bronze macaroons with a watch-like dial on the top, we'll talk to you in a little bit. Stick around.

If you have a programmable thermostat, listen up. Most people (the author among them) have not ever actually programmed  that sort of thermostat. We're going to encourage you to figure out how to do that if you don't know how - ask the techie friend, the neighbor who turns your laptop on and off when it's broken, a precocious nephew. You'll want to set the temperature of your house to automatically lower at night. Or, you can set up a whole-week program designed to keep the house cool when you're not there, or you're unconscious. Because, if you 1. get eight hours of sleep (as you should!) and 2. turn your thermostat down for those eight hours, you'll save something like 1% of your energy use per degree turned down. Amazing! Try five degrees cooler per night, and see if you can get it down to as much as 15 degrees cooler. You might already know this, but we figured we'd give you some numbers.

Now, for you macaroon people - you can do this too. You'll just have to remember every night to turn down the ol' thermostat. One percent per degree might not sound like a lot. But, if you bump down your thermostat ten degrees every night year-round (it works with the AC too, only the opposite way), you could look at saving 10-15% on your energy bill, and if your house is heated by fossil fuels, you're conserving that much usage which helps make a dent in the 22% of the country's energy usage attributed to residences. 

And now for the fun part! 

For ye olde sufferers (the victims of hard-handed dads who turn the thermostat down to 55 degrees), or those who want to take one or two (degrees) for the team, remember the existence of sweaters. They're warm. They go with everything. They can come from the Alpacas who live down the road (for some of us). They're also renewable insulation - a natural & (possibly) organic way to keep warm. And, best of all, you can knit them for each other. 

So, this lovely autumn, we at deliberateLIFE  encourage you to turn down the thermostat (or program it to do so!), and bundle up a little more. And, if you're savvy, knit a sweater for your buddy/significant other/child/dog. Not only is it soothing, you're helping lower your personal energy consumption.

Fall deliberately.

By Seth Strickland 

Save The Rain

Fay Johnson

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The Case for Saving the Rain

Have you ever thought about the connection between how neighborhoods and cities are designed and how the rain impacts our environment? The impermeable surfaces that surround us—from vast parking lots to endless roads—can collect billions of gallons of water in just one rainfall. If that water is not redirected for beneficial uses, it can transport pollutants into our waterways. We seldom think of rainwater as a culprit in the pollution problem, but the influx of water into our sewage systems during a big storm carries contaminants from our streets into our waterways and the ecosystems that depend on them. Residents, especially those in single-family homes, can take one simple step that can dramatically change the impact rainfall has on pollution: collecting rainwater.

The Problem

Imagine a parking lot and all that you find on the ground. Car fluids, cigarette butts, litter, and often salt. When rain falls or snow melts on these debris-covered surfaces, it sends thousands of gallons of water and trash straight into the sewer system that ultimately runs into our larger waterways. The average US middle-class home has approximately 2,500 square feet of impermeable surfaces. Depending on the region, approximately 60,500 gallons of rain falls on those surfaces per year. In most cities, wastewater from your home shares the same system as the storm water, so when there is heavy rainfall, the sewer can’t handle the added volume, and it spills into the wastewater system, with both now becoming the runoff into our rivers and streams as Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO). When you add up the effect of all the houses, roadways, and parking lots in a city, they create billions of gallons of polluted water that then travel through our sewer systems and enter our waterways. When this high volume of polluted water leaves the sewer system and enters the rivers and streams, it can contribute to erosion. And when erosion continues over a long period of time, it can lead to flooding in the surrounding areas, which destroys wildlife habitat.

A Viable Solution

Redirecting, storing, and using storm water systems is both simple and cost effective. It can benefit homeowners and the ecosystem by reducing a household’s water bill and lowering the amount of pollutants that enter our waterways. Some household solutions include rain barrels, cisterns, splash blocks, soaker hoses, rain chains, pervious concrete or surfaces, and rain gardens. Other more industrial options include curb cuts, bio- swales, and retention ponds. These solutions are a great way to start addressing the issue of runoff in urban environments.

One of the easiest ways for homeowners to do their part is to install a rain barrel. Rain barrels collect the water from your gutters and save it for you to use around your home. In addition to helping address the issue of runoff, rain barrels save you money by lowering your water bill. As homes require less water from the municipal water facilities, it lowers the demand for treated water. Some sewer providers, especially those managed by municipal or city governments, offer incentives for utilizing rainwater management systems, including discounts or financial incentives to install rain barrels. Your sewer company is a good resource to find out more information on regulations and incentive qualifications.

Estimate your annual collection with this rainwater calculator.


Read the full article, with installation instructions, in Issue no. 3 of deliberateLIFE. Available for purchase on iTunes and in our shop.  

Spring Cleaning The Natural Way

Terry Chi

Springtime is here and the sun beckons us to make things shine! In a salute to the spring, we’ve compiled a list of safe, affordable cleaning solutions that won’t harm Mother Nature or you.

White vinegar

  • This bacteria-killing solution dissolves dirt, soap scum, and hard water deposits from smooth surfaces.
  • To create a spray cleaner, mix one cup of white vinegar and one cup of water. To increase the potency of this mixture, heat it in the microwave. Undiluted white vinegar can also be used as a cleaning agent.

Baking soda

  • As a mineral powder, baking soda has natural scrubbing capabilities. Sprinkle it on a damp sponge and use it to scrub your bathtub and sink.
  • For slow-running drains, mix a half to a quarter cup of baking soda with a little water and let it stand for at least two hours (overnight is best) in your drainpipe. Then flush with hot water.

Lemon juice

  • The juice from this acidic fruit cleans hard water deposits and soap scum easily and can also be used to shine brass and copper.
  • To create a cleaning paste, mix lemon juice with vinegar or baking soda.
  • Cut a lemon in half and sprinkle the top with baking soda. Use it to scrub dishes and plates. Note: lemon juice can act as a bleaching agent.
  • Drop a lemon peel into the garbage disposal to freshen the air.


  • Ground up from the endosperm, or “hearts,” of corn kernels, this white powder has effective absorptive qualities.
  • Use it to absorb grease stains in your carpet. Cover the stain with cornstarch and leave for 20 minutes or until the grease is absorbed. Use a vacuum to remove the powder.
  • Clean your children’s stuffed animals by dusting them with cornstarch. Keep the toy in sealed bags overnight and then throwing them in the dryer for 10 minutes on low heat.
  • It can also be used to absorb mildew around your home.