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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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      Last Updated on March 13, 2019

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

      You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

      Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

      1. Work on the small tasks.

      When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

      Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

      2. Take a break from your work desk.

      Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

      Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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      3. Upgrade yourself

      Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

      The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

      4. Talk to a friend.

      Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

      Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

      5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

      If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

      Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

      Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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      6. Paint a vision to work towards.

      If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

      Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

      Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

      7. Read a book (or blog).

      The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

      Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

      Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

      8. Have a quick nap.

      If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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      9. Remember why you are doing this.

      Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

      What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

      10. Find some competition.

      Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

      Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

      11. Go exercise.

      Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

      Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

      As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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      Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

      12. Take a good break.

      Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

      Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

      Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

      Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

      More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

      Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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