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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 September 16, 2019

        How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

        How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

        You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

        We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

        The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

        Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

        1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

        Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

        For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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        • (1) Research
        • (2) Deciding the topic
        • (3) Creating the outline
        • (4) Drafting the content
        • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
        • (6) Revision
        • (7) etc.

        Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

        2. Change Your Environment

        Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

        One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

        3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

        Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

        Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

        My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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        Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

        4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

        If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

        Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

        I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

        5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

        I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

        Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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        As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

        6. Get a Buddy

        Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

        I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

        7. Tell Others About Your Goals

        This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

        For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

        8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

        What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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        9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

        If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

        Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

        10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

        Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

        Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

        11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

        At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

        Reality check:

        I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

        More About Procrastination

        Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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