woman holding a small glass jar

6 Tips to Make Your Home Storage Sustainable

Because going green starts at home.

Sustainability as a way of life has several interpretations and perspectives. That being said, it is important to understand its meaning to correctly apply it in our lives. The Oxford Dictionary definition of sustainability is “the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance”. This means we do not use up the resources that our future generations will need later.

Another definition I came across is this one from Investopedia: “Sustainability is most often defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. It has three main pillars: economic, environmental, and social. These three pillars are informally referred to as people, planet, and profits.” What I love about this definition is that it also considers the money we spend, along with the environment and future generations to come.

Fighting consumerism is a constant battle. We are always tempted to buy more and buy better. When spending our money, we need to be mindful of what we spend it on, so that it can be better used for the more important things in life like education, health, and recreation. If all people bought only what they needed, made that last, and bought less, this planet would be a happier place. 

Here’s How You Can Green Your Home Storage

When decluttering and organising a home, you should be aware of what can be donated, repurposed, and recycled. In my experience, many homes already have solutions that can solve many storage problems – they just haven’t been recognised. Here are six tips to help recognise and create storage solutions that are sustainable

1. Reuse Storage Containers

Be aware of all containers, baskets, and bins in the home. Are there some items that are not really being used to their full potential? Can some be moved to a different cupboard or room where they would make more sense? Often, we buy storage containers for one specific reason. However, as we change over time, our homes change too. The reason you bought that storage item might no longer exist, and it could be repurposed elsewhere.

For example, I might have bought an attractive basket to store my daughter’s toys in the living room and, now that she no longer plays with those toys, I would rather use the same basket in the hallway to store the family sports equipment. Similarly, you might have containers, say, in the kitchen that you no longer need, as you bought some new bins for your fridge. You could take the old ones and reuse them in the bathroom to keep toiletries sorted.  

2. Repurpose Furniture

Are the moveable furniture items being used to their full potential? Are those set of drawers being used regularly or for long-term storage? Can you move some furniture into another room or space where it will be better utilised?  Some cube storage units can be flipped on their side to create a different look and function. Maybe a set of drawers can be moved from one room to another where it can be better used. Before buying new storage cabinets, analyse what is already in the home. Before throwing old furniture out, check if there is a way that it can be repurposed to provide better storage elsewhere in the home. 

3. Buy Neutral Colours

When buying storage items, buy containers that are neutral in colour – clear, white, cream, grey, brown, or black. You might be tempted to buy something with a pop of colour to suit your current aesthetic. However, over time, this might change. And if your storage containers are neutral, they can be kept in a space longer without clashing with the colour scheme. They can also be moved around to different areas of the home, fitting in easily with the surroundings. 


When buying hidden storage like containers and bins that go inside cupboards, keep all the colours – preferably white or transparent – identical if possible. This will make the cupboard or cabinet appear calm as the colours are monotone. When buying visual storage items like baskets on display, buy neutral colours or natural textures like wood or grass that can fit in any room you have. Doing this will allow you to keep these items for longer, saving you money to spend on décor rather than storage items. 

4. Stick to a Budget 

You can find storage items in almost any home store nowadays. Plastic bins, fabric boxes, and natural baskets are available in most shops at various prices. Let’s say you’re buying a bin for your kitchen pantry. This bin has one purpose: to store your kitchen goods. However, you can spend three times the money on a similar container from a high-end store compared to a budget store. There is no logical reason to spend more money on an item that performs the same function as the cheaper item. 

Fortunately, most storage items are neutral-hued, so there is very little difference to the look of the item. Storage items that are on display do require a bit more attention as you want it to look good in your home. With some knowledge of where to find these, you will be surprised at the price difference of the same wicker basket or any fancy container from one store to the next. 

5. Label Only if Needed

Many people promote labelling containers all over the home so that their family members know exactly where everything goes. This is very helpful for some areas, especially if you have a large family and things like toys, school items, and clothing get mixed up easily. Labelling also helps maintain storage systems, as everyone knows where to put things back after using them. 

However, if you are in a small household, knowing where things go becomes a habit quickly. The problem with labelling all containers is it limits the use of the storage box. Make sure labels are not too specific, and address what you always have in the home. For example, a “spaghetti” container is good if you always have spaghetti, but not good if you only buy it sporadically. If you want to reuse containers elsewhere or for different food items, then a label can be limiting. Be mindful of what labels are necessary for organising your home. 


6. Think Green 

When storing items, think about what you buy and how environmentally friendly it is. Can it be recycled, or can you use it for a long time? To be sustainable, constantly remind yourself of where our unwanted items go – the majority end up in landfills. Find ways to reduce what you throw away. Donate or give away old storage items. You will be surprised how many people appreciate such items. 

If you get bored of your storage containers, repurpose them for use elsewhere around the home instead of buying more. Painting them is a quick solution for a change of colour. Spray paint is easy to buy and refreshes visual storage items instantly. When you do throw away containers, bags, and bins, put them in the recycling bin if possible. Be mindful about the waste your home creates and minimise it as much as you can. This is the easiest way to help protect our planet. 

Follow Fern McGahey from Calm The Clutter on Instagram and Facebook, or visit www.calmtheclutternow.com if youwant to learn more about home organisation.


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Designing Your Own Zen Home

Peaceful and harmonious living.

So you’re thinking about transforming your home into a Zen paradise. That’s great! Do you often find yourself stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed by your current living situation? Do you crave serenity, tranquility, and greater inner peace? Do you spend more time feeling anxious about your clutter than enjoying your living space? Do you dream of a space that feels welcoming, calming, and rejuvenating – all at the same time?

If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of these questions, then a Zen home may be for you.

What Is Zen Home in Interior Design?

The word “zen” is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word “chán”, which in turn is a Chinese transliteration of the Sanskrit word “dhyāna”, meaning “meditation”. Zen is a Buddhist concept that places emphasis on the practice of meditation with the goal of achieving a state of inner peace and tranquility.

Zen interior design is all about creating a living space that promotes peace, harmony, and a sense of balance. The goal is to create a relaxed and calm haven from all the hustle and bustle of daily life where you can unwind and recharge. A Zen home is characterized by its emphasis on natural textures, simple lines, neutral colours, and an overall minimalism effect. Furniture is minimal, surfaces are kept clear to achieve order and calm, and natural light is important so windows are often uncovered to allow as much natural sunlight as possible. Decluttering your space and removing distractions, as well as, adding relaxing elements such as candles, diffusers, and other natural materials, you can create an environment that amplifies the Zen factor and also conducive to nurturing concentration and productivity.

Benefits of a Zen Living Space

In addition to creating a peaceful and harmonious living space, there are many benefits to practicing Zen design in our homes. Research has shown that incorporating natural elements into our living spaces can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also improve our overall sense of well-being and help us feel more connected to the natural world.

How to Create a Zen Home

A Zen home is a living space that prioritizes simplicity, natural elements, and tranquility, creating a peaceful and harmonious environment that promotes relaxation, mindfulness, and overall wellness. Today, Zen design has evolved to include a wide range of interior design styles that often incorporate elements of natural materials, organic shapes, and minimalistic design. The idea of a Zen home has become a popular trend in interior design, as it can help promote a sense of calm and relaxation in our daily lives.

Less Is More

A well-edited room is more visually appealing than one that is crammed full of furniture and knick-knacks. One of the key benefits of the Zen design approach is that it can help to make small spaces feel larger and more open. When there are fewer objects on display, each one can be given more attention, and the eye is not drawn to any one particular area. In addition, a minimalist approach can also help to create a sense of order and calm, making it ideal for a Zen home.

Neutral Colour Palette

In a Zen home, one of the most important things to be mindful of is choosing a natural colour palette. Colours are typically muted and neutral, like white, cream, beige and gray, creating a sense of simplicity and tranquility. Avoid bright colours like red and yellow which can be reminiscent of Asian themes but are disruptive to the overall Zen flow. Instead, stick to muted tones that will ensure a serene and relaxing space, and if you do need some colour greens and blues can serve as excellent accent colours. Also, consider incorporating natural textures and materials to keep your space from feeling too sterile.

Natural Elements

The modern Zen design also emphasizes the use of natural elements like wood, stone, greenery, and water, that give your space an organic feel to support relaxation and balance. Incorporating such elements does not have to be expensive or difficult and often a few simple accents can make all the difference. For example, placing small potted plants is an inexpensive way to add some nature into your space. You may try adding a bonsai to keep with the Zen look but other plants would also do the trick. Similarly, a clear bowl filled with different coloured stones and water or a water fountain or similar feature, also creates a natural touch to your decor.

Natural Light

Lighting plays a major role in a Zen home, with natural light preferred, as it helps to create an open and airy feeling. With visually stimulating views, we feel relaxed and optimistic, which can greatly improve our overall well-being. Sunlight has a calming effect on the mind and body, and it can also help to improve mood and focus. In addition, natural light is an essential part of the cycle of nature, and it helps to regulate our bodies’ circadian rhythms. For these reasons, it’s important to make sure that your Zen-inspired interior receives plenty of light.

Streamlined Furniture

In a Zen home, furniture, decor, and household items are chosen for their simplicity and functionality. Furniture that is simple and clean in design are perfect choices. Selecting streamlined furniture made with natural materials such as wood, stone, or bamboo with straight lines and smooth surfaces will add to the Zen factor of your space. This type of furniture creates a feeling of calm and serenity – all qualities perfect for achieving a zen state of mind. By choosing streamlined furniture that is low to the ground, you will help keep the visual flow of your room uninterrupted, enabling you to feel more grounded and very much in tune with the Japanese style of Zen. Handcrafted furnishings made with reclaimed wood or rattan can add warmth. We recommend avoiding heavy, closed-off furniture designs to maintain an open and airy look and feel throughout your home.

When it comes to furniture styles for a Zen home in Dubai, you’ll want to focus on simplicity, functionality, and natural materials. Here are a few furniture styles and design elements to consider:

Accents to Add Zen to Any Home

Diffusers, candles, incense sticks, and sage are all great tools to incorporate into your house to create a more Zen-ful ambiance. Here are some tips on how to use each of these items to create a Zen living environment:


Essential oil diffusers are a great way to create a calming atmosphere in your home. Choose oils such as lavender, chamomile, or bergamot to promote relaxation and calmness. Place the diffuser in a central location in your home, or in a designated relaxation space to promote serenity.


Candles can help create a soft, warm glow that promotes relaxation. Choose candles with natural scents made from natural bases like beeswax or soy, to avoid overpowering synthetic fragrances from invading your space. Place candles in areas where you would like to create a sense of ambiance, such as a meditation space or near your bathtub.


Burning incense sticks can help to create a calming and peaceful atmosphere. Choose natural scents, such as sandalwood, or cedarwood, and place incense in an area where airflow is good.


Burning sage, also known as smudging, is an ancient practice that can be used to clear negative energy from your home. Light a sage bundle and walk the smoke around all the corners of your home, reaching the places where energy tends to get trapped. Remember to open your windows in order to let out the smoke.

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The Zen Home Essentials


Lavender Pure Essential Oil

AED 55.00


Aroma Diffuser – Sand

AED 70.00


Tea Tree Pure Essential Oil

AED 55.00


Jasmine and Ylang Ylang “and” Unisex Candle

AED 200.00


Lotus Serenity Incense

AED 30.00


Lavender & Eucalyptus Candle

AED 100.00


7 Chakra Sage

AED 55.00


White Sage Smudge Stick

AED 50.00


Dragon Blood Sage

AED 75.00

The question to really ask yourself is, are you in need of a peaceful and calming living space? Do you often feel stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed in your current home? That’s when you know for sure that a Zen home is just what you need to strive for.

You may even follow your higher sense of self and spot signs such as feeling distracted by technology, constantly playing catch-up with household chores, wishing deep inside for a welcoming and calming home, or feeling overwhelmed or anxious by clutter. These are clear signs pointing you toward the need to create a Zen home for yourself. The results are well worth the effort and the process can be healing too.

The Gaggler team is passionate about finding and sharing great products with our readers. We take pride in researching and testing products to find the best of the best, and we only recommend things that we love and think you will, too.


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