Saturday, June 19, 2010

Bring The Outdoors In - Infuse Your New York City Urban Apartment With Nature - Ms. Green-Clean Eco-friendly House Cleaning

If you're anything like me, you're always looking for more nature fixes in New York City. Of course, there are the many parks, gardens, and zoos here, but sometimes we forget how much nature we can bring right into our diminutive dwellings.

Here's a list of my favorites, some of them more common than others.
  • house plants. I have one in each room, and I've just started rooting an avocado in a tall glass on our bedroom window sill. Plants are great at filtering toxins and pollutants from the air we breathe.
  • bird feeders. I learn so much from my clients. This is an idea I got from one of them recently, and will be implementing in our home. They had a clever feeder that hooked securely to the outside of a window. It had 2 compartments, one for seed, one for water. As I cleaned their bedroom I found myself transfixed by the feathered visitors alighting on it and feeding. I don't know if it was a fluke, but I saw no pigeons, only small birds whose names I don't know and usually only see in nearby woods. This is very similar to the one I saw and will be getting.
  • worm compost bin. Watch worms turn your kitchen scraps into fresh, earthy-smelling fertilizer for your houseplants. Though you can use a pre-made bin like these, it's just as easy to make your own using directions found easily via google.
  • aquarium. The addition of an aquarium in our apartment has truly changed our lives. My husband calls it our backyard because he tends and cares for it as he would a yard if we had one, and we frequently find ourselves sitting and watching the water life, like an old couple watching their backyard birds. Find a few here.
  • crystals, shells, and rocks. I'm really not a new-age-y type, but I find it very comforting to have a few very small collections of shells, rocks and minerals in our home. Make sure to keep them clean and free of the city schmootz just by dipping them in your dishwater quickly from time to time.
  • terrariums. This is a project I want to tackle in the coming months. I don't currently have one, but have been perusing many options for the glass containers I can plant in here.
  • pets in general. cats, dogs, ferrets, turtles, snakes, birds, rabbits. Especially if you live alone. Scientific studies show that living with pets, especially if you are alone, has positive health benefits including lowering blood pressure and stress levels.
  • window boxes. Grow herbs or cutting flowers outside your kitchen windows during spring and summer. Build your own or buy pre-made.
  • Earth Boxes / self-contained gardening systems. If you have just a little more space than a window sill you may want to try an earth box or upside down tomato planters I've heard work great.
  • composter for your building. One day soon it will be obligatory in New York City to compost our kitchen scraps. It's easier than you think to talk a building manager or superintendant into letting you or you and neighbors put one in the basement or behind the building. I've written about my love of the envirocycle, which I think is great for city-dwellers, here and you can buy them online here.
  • miniature zen sand and rock gardens. They are meant to help you relax. I think some of them are pretty to look at, too. I'm contemplating making my own ceramic one, but there are many online to be purchase.
  • diffuse and/or clean with essential oils. Of course I often use plant-based essential oils to clean and dust our home, but I also put a few drops on absorbent, woody tree-seeds I collected on a walk once and now keep in a ceramic bowl. Putting a few drops on stones, in shells, or in seeds as I do, is a pretty way to diffuse aromatherapy oils into your home.
  • ecosphere. Inspired by technological research and developments for extended space exploration by NASA, ecospheres are a living example of a closed ecosystem, containing shrimp, algae and water. If you don't want the responsibility of a fish tank or other pets, this will bring care free animal life into your home! I have to say they're pretty amazing. I have one in our bedroom.
  • cut flowers in a pretty vase. make them locally-grown, from the farmer's market or right from your window box!
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