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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 January 21, 2020

        The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

        The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

        Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

        your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

          Why You Need a Vision

          Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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          How to Create Your Life Vision

          Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

          What Do You Want?

          The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

          It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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          Some tips to guide you:

          • Remember to ask why you want certain things
          • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
          • Give yourself permission to dream.
          • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
          • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

          Some questions to start your exploration:

          • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
          • What would you like to have more of in your life?
          • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
          • What are your secret passions and dreams?
          • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
          • What do you want your relationships to be like?
          • What qualities would you like to develop?
          • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
          • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
          • What would you most like to accomplish?
          • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

          It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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          What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

          Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

          A few prompts to get you started:

          • What will you have accomplished already?
          • How will you feel about yourself?
          • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
          • What does your ideal day look like?
          • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
          • What would you be doing?
          • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
          • How are you dressed?
          • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
          • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
          • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

          It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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          Plan Backwards

          It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

          • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
          • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
          • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
          • What important actions would you have had to take?
          • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
          • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
          • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
          • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
          • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

          Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

          It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

          Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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