Monday 8 November 2021

Improve your indoor air quality with plants

 According to a number of studies, plants in your house not only add a bit of life and decoration, but can also improve your indoor air quality depending on your selections.  Most plants have some air filtering capacity, removing toxins from the air as they 'breathe' from day to day.

Doing some reading online, lists of best plants differ according to research and writer, but there are a few "usual suspects" that show up on many, if not all, lists.

1. Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily, pictured)
This plant shows up on most lists I have seen, as a tough and hardy plant with numerous air filtering qualities, credited with removing alcohols, acetone, industrial solvent trichloroethylene, benzene (an ingredient used to make dyes, lubricants, rubbers, and detergents), and formaldehyde.

2. Dracaena
Another low maintenance plant and regular on the lists, the Dracaena is said to be very efficient at removing formaldehyde from the air in your home, as well as other VOCs, including benzene, trichloroethylene, and xylene. One important note is that you should keep it out of reach of any pets, as it can be toxic to animals when ingested.

3. Bamboo Palm
The bamboo palm is another plant said to have a high ability to remove formaldehyde from the air, as well as benzene and trichloroethylene.

4. Snake Plant
According to NASA, the snake plant is one of the best houseplants for absorbing airborne toxins, including formaldehyde, nitrogen oxide, benzene, xylene and trichloroethylene. (You'll notice there are some regulars on the list of household toxins, too)  The snake plant is also said to be one of the higher producers of oxygen during the night.

5. Hedera helix (English Ivy)
English Ivy is another popular plant that helps filter toxins in your home's air.  It is said to be effective for benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and toluene, and other studies have indicated that English Ivy may help reduce mould in your home.

If you'd like to read more about plants that can help with indoor air quality, here are a few links to get you started:

Monday 1 November 2021

When you need a miracle to sell your house...

Hopefully you don't literally need a miracle to sell your house, but maybe just a bit of saintly help?  Well, then I've got good news for you: there's a long standing tradition of invoking St Joseph to help sell a property (yes, that St. Joseph).

The tradition seems to have began with communities of nuns burying a St Joseph medallion on a property they hoped to buy for a convent.  Over time the medal was replaced with little statues, and then at some point transferred to the sale side of a property transaction rather than the purchase. 

The tradition's specifics vary a bit depending on who you ask, but essentially you take a small statue of St. Joseph and bury it on the property until it sells and then dig it up and take it with you.  Some say it should be in the backyard or that the location doesn't matter, others say beside the real estate sign.  Likewise, some say upside down and others say horizontally with the head - and thus the praying hands of St Joseph - pointing toward the house.  The only thing that is consistent is that it should be buried.

If you want to try this next time you're selling a property,  you should be able to easily find a statue or even a "St Joseph Home Selling Kit" in a gift shop or online at someplace like Amazon.

Not surprisingly, there are also lots of [other superstitions related to the house], including some that people lean on when it's time to sell or buy - things like numbers in the address, days of the week to close, and so on.

Have you ever used the St Joseph statue when selling?  Are there any other traditions that you have used?  Or is it all just hokey nonsense? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.