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How to Tackle Spring Cleaning, Part 2

How to Tackle Spring Cleaning, Part 2

If you’re still breathing and not overly traumatized after cleaning your kitchen and living room, you can move on to the rest of the house to keep tidying things up. Just pace yourself, go slowly, be thorough, and take water/crying breaks as needed.

Bedroom(s) and Closets

messy bedroom

    Chances are that most of your clothes are stored in your bedroom, while things like outerwear and winter gear are in hall closets and the like.  The Great Spring Clean is a perfect time to sort through all of your stuff to determine what stays, and what should go.

    1. Lay a sheet or large towels on your bed, and then pull everything from your closet and dresser out and flop it all on top of the sheet. This will give you the opportunity to see everything in one go.

    2. Ensure that you have a large bag handy for anything you choose to give away, and another bag for items you might be able to sell via consignment stores or Ebay.

    3. Pick up one item of clothing at a time, and think carefully about why you have it. Do you love this item? Do you wear it often? If you haven’t worn something for over 2 years, why are you holding onto it? If it’s of high quality and value and you’d feel guilty not keeping it, then sell it. If you’re holding onto something you love because you hope you’ll fit back into it one day, get rid of it—you can find a new piece that you’ll love even more.

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    4. While your dresser drawers and closet are empty, take the opportunity to freshen them up a bit: you can put paper liners in the drawers, vacuum the closet, and even fill that empty spray bottle with water and essential oil to spritz the closet walls for a light, fresh scent.

    5. Fold each drawer-bound item and put it away, and hang each piece of clothing neatly in the closet. This is a chance for you to organise your closet in a new way, so consider hanging things by colour instead of clothing type, or pairing items together into favourite outfits.

    6. Do laundry as needed: if, as you’re putting things away, you notice that a few items smell a bit musty, toss them into the laundry. You’ll also want to wash the clothes that you’ll be donating or selling, because that’s the nice thing to do. Moth-eaten, stained, torn, or chewed-on pieces should be thrown out.

    7. Wash and put away your warm winter bedding, then wash your lighter spring/summer linens before making your bed with them. Remember to flip your mattress before putting new sheets on the bed! Duvets and blankets should be washed as well, as should curtains, throw blankets, and any other bits of fabric lying around. Spritz pillows with freshener and plump them up a bit too.

    8. Wipe down blinds with a wet cloth, and change filters in humidifiers or air conditioners.

    If you have kids, tackle their rooms in a very similar manner, only enlist their help to determine what stays and what goes. They can try on clothes to see which have been outgrown, and they can also decide which toys they no longer play with and can bear to part with.

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    *Note: if those used toys and books are in good condition, they can be donated to charity organizations and your local children’s hospital.

    The Bathroom

    dirty bathroom

      This one really isn’t as scary as you might have thought, unless you haven’t cleaned your bathroom for a decade and there’s a small family of rats living under your toilet. You’ll tackle this room in the same way you did the bedroom; one step at a time.

      1. Empty it out. Take every last loose bit of anything out of the bathroom, and lay it out on your kitchen/dining room table or floor. Imagine that you’re moving out and you’re clearing out everything you own.

      2. Call in an old priest and a young priest. No, no… all you really need is a solid cleaning here: begin at the top and work your way down. Get up on a chair and wash the ceiling with spray cleaner, and then wash the walls from the top down to the bottom. Try not to scream when you realise how much crud is on the cloths. Do the same with bathtub/shower enclosures.

      3. Pour a few cupfuls of white vinegar into the toilet and close the lid. Leave that to soak while you tackle the rest of the room.

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      4. Wash the porcelain around the toilet, sink, and tub, and then scrub the insides of the tub and sink with baking soda and cleaner to scour out any soap scum. Rinse with water.

      5. Clean all glass and metal fixtures with glass cleaner or full-strength vinegar, and dry with a clean cloth.

      6. Now you’re allowed to open the toilet so you can discover the sparkling wonderland that the vinegar has taken care of for you. Flush it, then pour more vinegar in and slosh it around with the toilet brush, scrubbing out every cranny. Flush again.

      7. Go through all the stuff you removed from the bathroom and determine whether you need to put it back in there. If you do, wipe it down with a clean, damp cloth, and give it a proper home. Personal care items that you use daily (toothbrush, moisturizer, contact solution, razor, deodorant, medication) can go in the medicine cabinet. Other items can be tucked away under the sink, or in other cupboards in the room.

      8. Throw stuff out. There’s no need to hold onto a toothpaste tube that still has 1/900th of an ounce of gel in it that you’ll never get out, and makeup that expired in 2005 isn’t something you want to put on your face. Cull all the things you don’t use, check expiry dates, and dispose of old medication safely.

      9. If you don’t have enough storage for all your stuff, make some. It’s easy to put up some basic shelves, and then you can organize things like makeup, brushes, etc. into storage boxes on those shelves to keep everything nice and tidy. If you’re broke, screw milk crates into the wall for storage. I have a $2 stainless steel bucket hanging from a hook in my bathroom for curling and straightening irons, so there’s proof that you don’t have to break the bank to keep things tidy.

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      10. Wash bathmats, bathrobes, and any other fabric items that are normally kept in the bathroom. Prolonged exposure to damp spaces can make things smell musty and funky, so be sure to launder these fairly regularly.

      The Basement/Garage

      messy basement

        These areas tend to function as “dumping grounds” when we don’t know exactly what to do with an item, but aren’t quite ready to toss it out. Miscellaneous stuff can accumulate over the years, and not only does it take up a lot of space that could otherwise be put to better use, but it can also create a nesting-ground for creatures like mice, rats, spiders, and other creepy weirdos you don’t want to share your living space with.

        1. Grab a few garbage/recycling bags and go inch by inch, discarding everything that isn’t vital. Newspapers from 5 years ago? Recycle. Lidless containers? Garbage.

        2. Items like paint, solvents, etc. need to be disposed of properly. Do some research on the proper disposal methods in your area, and adhere to the laws; the last thing you want to do is poison someone.

        3. If extra storage is needed, scour Craigslist etc. for bins, shelving units, and boxes that can keep all your stuff stored tidily away. Sort your tools and keep them in a handy place for the next time you need them.

        4. Wear protective gloves when cleaning dark little nooks just in case there’s something bite-y hiding in them—you don’t want to have to contend with an ugly bite from a spider, rat, snake, or house badger. Err on the side of caution. If there are large cracks and gaps that may be ideal homes for icky things, caulk them up.

        5. Vacuum or sweep the floor thoroughly. If you’re dealing with a hardwood basement floor, wash it with a 50/50 vinegar/water solution, and dry with an old towel before a second wash with a pine-based cleaner like Murphy’s Oil Soap. A sealed cement floor can be washed the same way, just without the Murphy’s. For a cement garage floor, use a push-broom to scrub the floor with diluted eco-friendly dish soap after sweeping, and then use your hose to wash it away.

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        Catherine Winter

        Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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        Last Updated on July 3, 2020

        How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

        How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

        Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life. To control your thoughts means to influence the way you live your life.

        Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affects your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality)

        I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive, and just a general waste of energy.

        You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

        Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Be someone who can control your thoughts—become the master of your mind.

        When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

        I currently have a few thoughts that are not of my choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

        Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

        Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in control of your thoughts.

        If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

        Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create unhealthy and unproductive thoughts.

        1. The Inner Critic

        This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

        • Other people’s words—many times your parents
        • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples’ expectations
        • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media
        • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

        The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance, and lack of self-love.

        Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is youwhy else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

        2. The Worrier

        This person lives in the future—in the world of “what ifs.”

        The Worrier is motivated by fear, which is often irrational and has no basis. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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        3. The Reactor or Troublemaker

        This is the one that triggers anger, frustration, and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

        This person can be set off by words or feelings and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

        The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control. He is run by past programming that no longer serves you—if it ever did.

        4. The Sleep Depriver

        This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

        The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

        • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
        • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
        • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity, and generalized anxiety
        • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

        How can you control these squatters?

        How to Master Your Mind

        You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You can control your thoughts, but you must pay attention to them so you can identify “who” is running the show—this will determine which technique you will want to use.

        Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

        There are two ways to control your thoughts:

        • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
        • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

        This second option is what is known as peace of mind.

        The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go-to” thoughts in applicable situations.

        Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

        1. For the Inner Critic

        When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

        You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

        For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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        You can also have a dialogue with yourself to discredit the ‘voice’ that created the thought—if you know whose voice it is:

        “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

        If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready.

        This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

        • They rile up the Worrier.
        • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
        • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
        • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
        • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

        Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

        Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

        2. For the Worrier

        Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally, and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

        Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind, and creates anxiety in the body. This may make it more difficult for you to control your thoughts effectively.

        You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

        • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
        • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
        • Muscles tense

        Use the above-stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time, you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

        If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

        Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

        “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

        Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense. Both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

        If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

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        Now, take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like! Do it until you feel that you’re close to being in control of your thoughts.

        Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

        For example: If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

        “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place.

        Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

        Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

        “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

        Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

        3. For the Troublemaker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

        Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers. But until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

        The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain.

        I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

        Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds—just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

        Breathe in through your nose:

        • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
        • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
        • Focus on your belly rising.

        Breathe out through your nose:

        • Feel your lungs emptying.
        • Focus on your belly falling.
        • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

        Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize. Now, you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior, and you’ll be more in control of your thoughts.

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        One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

        Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

        4. For the Sleep Depriver

        (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher, and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

        I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

        Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

        1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
        2. Then I came up with a replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

        When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and thoughts, and I choose quiet.

        From the first time I tried this method, I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

        For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (closed, of course). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

        If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

        You can also use this technique any time you want to:

        • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon
        • Shut down your thinking
        • Calm your feelings
        • Simply focus on the present moment

        The Bottom Line

        Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or destructive purposes.

        You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable, and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

        Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. You can be in control of your thoughts. The choice is yours!

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        Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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