I was the kid who purchased 50 Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth and accomplished, yep, all 50. Probably in order. But it can feel overwhelming to try and be 100% crunchy granola when you live in the 21st century.
I still aim to be eco-conscious in my daily life by focusing on making small efforts and changes and turning them into habits. We all live in a crazy cool place and I want it to be around for a long, long time. What a world. Especially when you come face to face with the humbling beauty of places like Fort Tryon.
Fort Tryon is one of my favorite places on Earth. It is indeed my favorite place in NYC. In some ways, it feels nothing like the city. The people are too laid back, the only noise you hear are squirrels scrambling to bury their latest treasures, and there is more green than grey. But as you lean over the shimmering mica wall to glance at the mighty Hudson River, you notice another flowing system - the West Side Highway. It's the perfect balance between city and country and it has the most calming vibe in a beast of a metropolis.
Does anyone else feel like they spend 97% of their "free time" cleaning? Seriously. I live in a one-bedroom apartment with no children (albeit, I have a dog), and it feels unending. I can't imagine keeping up an entire house complete with stairs and multiple rooms and backyards and other human beings and...I need a nap and a massage just thinking about it.
But the cleaning must go on! Here are some tricks I use to get everything squeaky clean.
How can you not smile using this sunny sponge? Plus, it works!
I hang one of these oval delights in my closets. The delicate rose and blackcurrant scent alleviates any stuffiness without making you feel like you stepped into Sephora's fragrance section. The bonus is I've found that it lasts much longer than the 3 months promised, which is helpful considering the price.
I almost hate recommending/using these, because it is terrifying to think what sort of chemicals are released from the simple white sponge, but...they work. They fix issues like no other product - scuffs on walls, tile grout, shining bathroom fixtures without leaving cloudy streaks, and removing grease off kitchen cabinets.
I usually have some brand of facial wipes hanging around for a quick post-workout refresher or when I am way too lazy to wash my makeup off. I try not to use them daily, but they are a convenient cheat every so often. I discovered they also double as great shoe cleaners, gently removing scuffs, dirt, and grim.
I have a dog. He has hair. There is no such thing as a Hair Gathering Elf. That means that unless I work on cleaning up B's daily shedding, my apartment will eventually turn into a hair barn. Gross. This Bona mop acts as an eco-friendly Swiffer which I can use with or without floor cleaner and pop into the washing machine with the rest of my laundry.
I have a lot of eco-friendly companies that I use for soaps, detergents, and cleaners: Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day, Method, and Seventh Generation are always in my cupboards. I prefer to buy refill packages and use reusable containers like this dish soap pump:
Some of the most effective cleaners come from two household products.
Yep, good old vinegar and baking soda.
Using a mixture of vinegar water and a newspaper as a towel is a superior way to get streak-free glass and mirrors. How grubby newsprint accomplishes such an impeccably clear result, I'll never understand.
If you live in a prewar apartment like I do, you know that bathtub drains become your lifelong enemy. I tried to use Drano on it once, and I swear I heard the pipes laugh at me. But, I have found a way to keep them somewhat under control.
Step 1: Science project volcano. Remember in elementary school when you built a 'volcano' and filled it with baking soda? Once you poured vinegar in - KABOOM! Volcano time. Take this same concept to your drain (minus the paper mache and food coloring) as often as possible. You can also do this with other drains in the house. The baking soda also acts as an odor neutralizer, freshening these spaces up even more.
Step 2: I boil water in my tea kettle and then pour it down the drain following the volcano.
HERE are some other methods of using vinegar in your spring cleaning.
Did you know that throwing a penny in the water of your fresh cut flowers will keep them looking happy longer? The copper acts as a fungacide. Who knew?
Without sounding like too much of a lush, I have to admit that I am a vodka fan - in the cleaning sense! You can put cheap vodka to use in so many ways, but my favorite is creating a home spray. The alcohol in vodka fights odors and you can create any scent you'd like by adding a few drops of an essential oil. Citrus is always bright and cheery.
Now that I have vodka and citrus on my mind, I feel like it's time for a much-needed break from the cleaning. That 3% of free time is calling my name!
We all know what must happen in April to bring those May flowers, but I don't mind, really. I like the rain. Especially warm summer rain. Of course, reports have surfaced that this summer will be particularly monsoon-like for the city, so one must be prepared with gear. It also helps to add a bit of splash to your splish gear.
I love my Chooka skimmers for stepping the dog out or a quick errand down the block.
My only problem is I can't make up my mind. When I'm presented with options of polka dots, stripes, floral, high gloss, cheeky print, and bows all at once, my brain produces too many endorphins to be able to make a clear decision.