How Houseplants Can Improve Air Quality in Condos

When you live in a condo with views of another condo or building, things can get a little depressing. Add a little color to your space and breath (literally) new air by introducing houseplants. Plants add an instant wow factor, and they’re good at keeping the air fresh. If you live alone, having another living thing in the house to care for is a huge plus.

However, if you don’t have a green thumb or if you don’t know how to properly maintain a plant, you can’t just pick and choose whatever it is you find beautiful. Just like people, some plants are tough and hardy, while others are weak and sensitive to slight changes. You should go with the tough bunch if you’re horticulturally challenged.

Time for Some Plants

The EPA warns homeowners that indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. The use of chemical cleaners, insecticides, wood polish, disinfectant spray and others leave trace amounts on surfaces. Varnish, paint, building materials, the heating of oil for cooking and fumes from gas also contributes to the negative air quality.

According to NASA, houseplants can remove up to 87% of air toxins in a 24-hour period, and research from Washington State University found that people who have indoor plants have lower stress levels than those who don’t. Indoor plants have been proven to improve mood, well-being and increase the feelings of calm and serenity.

So not only do plants help improve air quality in a condo, but they can also help improve mood and reduce stress, which are two legit consequences of living in a small space. NASA suggests that to improve air quality in your home, there must be a plant for every 10 square feet.

Here are a few hardy plants you can place in your condo to instantly change the mood and improve air quality:

Chinese Evergreen  – Also known as Silver Green, this indoor plant is very easy to take care of. It requires minimal water and can survive in low light conditions. Chinese Evergreens can potentially last you years, making it a great low-cost improvement to your condo.

Ficus – The ficus is another low maintenance plant that can survive with moderate watering and bright, indirect sunlight. Place this in a corner that gets a lot of sunlight and leave it to thrive. Ficus plants tend to grow tall, so keep that in mind if you have low a ceiling.

Cacti – Cacti can survive in extreme desert environments, with very little water and the sun bearing down on them. If it can take all that abuse, it’ll thrive in a condo. Just place it in a windowsill or a place that gets a lot of sunlight. As for water, the rule of thumb is every 4 weeks or when the soil is bone dry.

Aloe – Aloe plants are great at absorbing toxic air pollutants, so place a few in the kitchen. It’s also great for minor cuts, so keep some around if you have kids.

Succulent = Succulents are low maintenance plants that are built like tanks. They’re virtually indestructible. All you need is to water them once or twice a week and make sure they are exposed to bright sunlight.

Areca Palm – If you want your space to look a little more tropical, the Areca Palm is just what the doctor ordered. It requires little water and dry soil, making it one of the easiest indoor plants to take care of. These can grow up to seven feet tall, so choose a smaller pot to keep growth under control.

You Still Need Windows

Windows are a luxury in condos, especially if you’re stuck in a middle unit. Look for condo sites like Onessy that let you view unit floor plans, so you’ll know where the windows are situated. By investing in a little greenery, you can improve your mood and breathe healthier air that’s free of toxins.

Make sure that you choose the plants listed above, or any other plant species that require little maintenance. Just like any living thing, once you have plants in your home, it’s your responsibility to care for them. Always provide ample water and sunlight, change the soil every year and add a little organic fertilizer when needed.

Green Moving Advice: Tips on Making Your Next Move Environmentally Friendly

Have you been making a conscious effort to reduce your carbon footprint? If so, congratulations! There are plenty of things we can do to help save the environment we live in. With new technologies and creativity, you can go green with just about everything you do. If you have an impending move coming up, you’re probably thinking about all the moving supplies you’re going to be using and the amount of fuel you’ll be burning to get to the new location. 

The good news… you can make your move green too! Here are some tips you may not have thought of.

  1. Hire an Eco-Friendly Moving Company

There are plenty of companies now that are making a better effort to reduce their carbon footprint as well. You can do a little research and find moving companies that use eco-friendly practices such as using moving trucks that run on biodiesel fuel. If you can’t find any serving your area, you can also look for a moving company that offers various types of options to make the move more eco-friendly. For instance, a moving company that offers varying sized shipping containers would help to reduce the amount of back and forth trips you’d have to take from your old home to your new one. Other eco-friendly solutions would be moving companies that offer recycled moving boxes or plastic containers to pack your things.

  1. Think “Outside the Box” When Packing

You want to minimize your use of packing materials such as cardboard boxes, plastic wrap, and so on. Therefore, you’re going to have to get creative when it comes to packing. First, use any containers you have at home to pack your belongings in first. Once you run out, start collecting boxes from other sources as opposed to purchasing brand new ones. If you want to eliminate the need for cardboard altogether, you could always invest in plastic storage containers which can be reused once you get to your new home. Lastly, when it comes to securing fragile items, use your sheets, towels, and blankets instead of plastic bubble wrap.

  1. Downsize as Much as You Can

There’s no sense in taking junk along with you that you’re going to throw out at your new home. To conserve space, save money, and reduce your carbon footprint, it is best that you sort through your belongings and find ways to get rid of the things you don’t want. For instance, you can have a yard sale to get rid of things you believe you could get a decent value for, and donate anything you don’t sell. This way your belongings are being reused instead of thrown away or taking up space in your new place.

  1. Clean Green

Green moving is going to require some form of cleaning. You’ll need to tidy up the old place as well as clean the new place. For this, you want to try and use green cleaning solutions. There are plenty of high quality green cleaning products on the market you can use. If not, you can also try your hand at making cleaners as there are plenty of how to guides that are fairly simple to follow.

  1. Dispose of Hazardous Materials

If you’ve hired a green moving company, there are some things that they will not move for you. These are generally hazardous materials which are best defined as things that are corrosive, explosive, or flammable. Properly dispose of these types of materials which might include things like bleach, car batteries, fertilizers, liquid bleach, and paint thinners.

  1. Recycle Moving Materials

Once you’ve arrived at your new place and begun unpacking, remember to properly recycle any moving materials you may have used. If you know someone else who is moving, you could always pass your moving materials along so that they don’t go to waste.

Moving doesn’t have to be environmentally damaging with a little thought.  By following the above six tips you are sure to do your part in reducing your carbon footprint. Once you get all settled into your new place, don’t forget to practice living a sustainable life by going green as much as possible. It may take some time to get the hang of all the advice out there for going green, but in time it will be second nature.