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How to Tackle Spring Cleaning, Part 1

How to Tackle Spring Cleaning, Part 1

Springtime, the great season of rebirth and renewal, is the perfect time to throw the windows open and do some spring cleaning. If you’re feeling a bit lost about where to start, hopefully this guide will give you some ideas.

The Kitchen

cleaning the kitchen

    Unless you’ve been living like a completely slovenly swine, this should be a sizeable, but not impossible job to tackle.

    1. Follow the same protocol as with the bathroom in part 2 of this hack: empty out all cupboards, cabinets, and drawers, laying everything out in another room. Then wash the ceiling and walls the same way as you did in the washroom, making sure you also scrub behind the fridge and stove. Keep a pillow handy in case you need to scream into it.

    2. Clean your fridge. There are no items inside your fridge that will go bad in the few minutes it’ll take you to scrub inside it, but leave those in the cold until the very last minute. Get your bucket of soapy water handy (use dish soap for this!), and after emptying the fridge completely, wash it all down thoroughly. You can take out the shelves and vegetable drawers to hose down in the yard if you need to, but put things like dairy products, eggs, and meat back in before doing anything else. Check the expiry dates of all items before returning them to the fridge, and throw out whatever’s past its prime.

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    3. Open a fresh box of baking soda and place it on one of the door shelves to absorb odours. If you had an old box of baking soda in there beforehand, toss it out. Don’t smell it first.

    4.This is your chance to organize your fridge a bit better. Keep in mind that the top shelf and the door are the warmest spots in there, so arrange things accordingly. The coldest place in your fridge is the middle drawer, so that’s where you want to keep animal products (meat, dairy, eggs). Keep raw food and cooked food separate, and don’t over-stuff your fridge! Leave room for cold air to circulate.

    Note: Always store cooked (i.e. ready-to-eat) food above raw food like unprepared meat, just in case any liquids are leaked from the raw ingredients onto the pre-prepared foods.

    5. Store fruit and vegetables separately. You can store most vegetables in the crisper drawers at the bottom of the fridge, but harder fruits and veg like carrots and apples can be stored at the top of the shelf.

    6. Use the fridge door shelves for drinks (other than milk), condiments, preserves, and pre-made snacks.

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    If you find that your fridge is getting crowded, consider packing things into stack-able plastic or glass containers: this will keep things nicely organized, and will free up space inside the fridge as well. Consider investing in a fridge thermometer so you can be sure that the interior temperature remains at 40°F (4°C).

    7. Clear out all the cupboards/pantry, and wash down each shelf with vinegar-water. Wipe down every can, jar, box, and other container before putting it back in tidily. If you find that you have too many bags or boxes of dry goods flopping about, transfer their contents to empty jars or plastic containers that can be stacked neatly and keep contents from spilling, or being eaten by insects.

    8. Empty out all the drawers, wash your cutlery container, and wipe down the insides of each drawer before putting anything back into them. Consider lining them with wallpaper or drawer-liners if you’d like to “pretty them up” a bit. Donate any items you’ll never use again (avocado slicer? really?) and keep the tools you use most often within easiest reach.

    9. Clean your stove-top and oven. Scour the top of the stove with baking soda and a bit of dish soap, and wipe clean with a wet cloth. Avoid toxic oven cleaners and just clean it yourself with baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, and some steel wool.

    Living Room/Office

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    vacuuming

      These rooms tend to be smaller jobs, as they’re really only used for the sole purpose of work, or relaxation. If your living room pulls double-duty as a kid’s play area, however, there might be a bit more to tackle.

      1. Clear it all out. With the exception of moving all of your furniture out into the hallway, grab boxes and bags and haul all the miscellaneous “stuff” into other rooms.

      2. Wash down the walls, dust all the furniture (polish any wooden pieces while you’re at it), and then vacuum/wash the floor.

      3. This is your opportunity to determine whether you need additional storage. If you found that you had miscellaneous “stuff” scattered around everywhere, you can take some time to organize things more efficiently. If you’re on a tight budget, check Craigslist, Kijiji, and Freecycle for things like bookshelves, baskets, trunks, and other storage solutions. For living rooms, you can designate 2 lower bookshelves for kid-stuff storage, and in offices, adding shelves for storage containers lifts things off the floor and into its proper place.

      4. Before you put things away, evaluate whether you really need them, and if they need to be kept around. Holding onto a pack of business cards from a job you held 5 years ago is wholly unnecessary, and why would you keep disposable pens once they’ve run out of ink? Toss them.

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      5. If your living room is the place where you store your entertainment equipment, go through all of that to see what you still love, and what you’re happy to be rid of. Tastes change over time, and if you’re never going to listen to that Nickelback or Macy Gray CD again, pop it into the “donation” bin. Same goes for DVDs, console games, books, and magazines.

      6. Freshen your upholstery with a little TLC to get it back into great shape. If your fabric couches and chairs are really filthy, rent a steam cleaner from the supermarket and give them a once-over to make them look their best. You can brush microsuede and condition leather furniture, and a spritz bottle of homemade Febreeze* on fabric upholstery can leave everything smelling fresh and lovely.

      *You can make your own with a couple of cups of water, some vinegar, and essential oil.

      7. Wash curtains and drapes to eliminate dust and odours, and wipe down windows with vinegar and water. Drying them with newspaper will bring them to a startling, crystalline shine. If you have vertical blinds, hang your head in shame, take them down, and put up some curtains.

      8. This is a good time to switch around artwork on the walls, or to get some new pieces up as a chance of scenery. Consider some framed prints, or even postcards and small items you can create a collage with for interesting effects.

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      Catherine Winter

      Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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      Last Updated on December 9, 2019

      5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

      5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

      Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

      Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

      Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

      1. Get Rationally Optimistic

      Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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      This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

      In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

      The result: no more mental stress.

      2. Unplug

      Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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      How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

      It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

      Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

      3. Easy on the Caffeine

      Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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      Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

      4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

      That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

      How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

      • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
      • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
      • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

      While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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      5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

      This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

      The result: mental stress will be gone!

      So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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      Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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