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Simple Steps for Tackling Spring Cleaning, Room-by-Room

Simple Steps for Tackling Spring Cleaning, Room-by-Room

    After a long winter, the first signs of spring – new flowers popping up in the garden, buds on the trees, and warmer temperatures – may have inspired you to clean your house and yard from top-to-bottom, making it sparkly and new-looking again. But sometimes spring cleaning can seem like an overwhelming task leaving you unsure of what to do and where to start.  By breaking down the big project into smaller parts, you’re more likely to find success.  We’re going to break down your spring cleaning plans by room, and then task.  You’ll feel more accomplished looking at a completed room than a partially cleaned house.

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    The Bedroom(s)

    1. Go through your clothes.  At the change of seasons, many people simply pack up their warmer winter wear and put them in a big plastic container to store until the cold weather rolls around again.  That’s all fine and good, but if cleaning and organizing are your goal, you’ll want to take it a step further.  After you’ve gathered all your winter clothes up, go through them and ask yourself whether your wore each item that winter.  If you didn’t wear it, you may want to consider donating it.  Don’t hang onto it for another year. If you didn’t wear it this year, you’re unlikely to next year.  If you have clothes laying around needing to be washed, don’t leave them lay or wait to wash them until next year, do it now.  Gather up anything that needs dry cleaning and drop those off, and wash at home any other items that may be soiled.  If something is damaged, like missing a button, fix it now, otherwise it’s likely to end up in your pile of unworn clothes next winter.  If you have children, a spouse/partner or others living with you, try to get them to do the same and go through their clothes.
    2. Revitalize your bed. Things are starting to warm up, so now’s the time to trade those cozy but heavy flannel sheets for lighter, airier linen ones.  You may also consider putting away a blanket or two.  Wash it first, then pack it away.  If it’s in disrepair, consider getting rid of it altogether if there’s a chance you won’t want to use it again when the cold sets in next fall or winter.  Before you put on the new sheets and blankets, flip your mattress.  That is, of course, if you have a traditional mattress. It will last long and wear better if regularly flipped.  Want to treat yourself?  Get a new, fluffy pillow.

    The Kitchen

    1. Get rid of any expired foods. Go through the cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer. Look for any old and past date food, or containers that look like they may be growing mold (ew!).  Toss them.  While you’re at it, wipe down the shelves in the cupboards and in the fridge.
    2. Sweep & mop the floor, wipe the counters. Nothing makes a kitchen shine line a freshly mopped floors. Sweep it with a broom or a vacuum set for hard floors to pick up any crumbs first. I hope you regularly wipe down your counters, but if you don’t, do that now too.
    3. Clean & polish the cupboards. The cupboards below your sink or nearest the store are the most likely to be dirtied, through drips, spills and splashes of various foods and drinks.  A rag and some wood cleaner are all you need, and it shouldn’t take too much effort to wipe things down and get them in tip-top shape again.
    4. Clean the stovetop. The stovetop is another prime area for grime to accumulate.  Get yourself a multi-surface kitchen cleaning spray and get to scrubbing.  If you have an electric stove, you’ll need to pick up a special cleaner to wipe on and wipe off.

    The Living Room & Dining Room

    1. Dust. Clear off all your table tops and dust them well. Pull out your vacuum and its hose and brush extensions and vacuum up any dust on your lampshades.
    2. Refresh your decor. Instead of completely redesigning your interior, you can instead swap out little things, like putting new photos in your frames.
    3. Vacuum and get your carpet cleaned. Vacuum all your carpets really well, and use the crevice tool to get in the corners well.  Since you likely tracked in a lot of snow and dirt in the winter months, now’s an excellent time to get your carpets professionally cleaned.  Getting your furniture cleaned once a year is also a good idea to keep it fresh and long lasting. Be on the look out for spring specials!

    Outdoors

    1. Replace your welcome mats. If they just have a few leaves stuck to them then a a good shake will suffice, but if they’re looking dirty and worn, it’s time for new ones.
    2. Clean out the gardens. Rake the dead leaves from the gardens.  You can compost them or bag them up and toss them out with the trash.

    All Over

    1. Get rid of clutter. Are there toys laying around that your kids no longer play with?  Box them up.  Anything you haven’t used recently can be considered for removal.  And the best thing to do with the things you no longer need is to either donate them to Goodwill or another charity (if in good condition), or make a few extra bucks by holding your own garage sale.
    2. Wipe down the walls and baseboards. Get yourself a good bucket full of soapy water and a big sponge.  You’ll get the fingerprints and other little impurities off the walls and they’ll look new again.
    3. Clean the windows. Windex and some rags will suffice, but if you want to go all out you can use a squeegee.

    The are undoubtedly a million other things that you could thing of to do to get your house clean and in tip-top shape, but this list is a good start.  And like I said, when you work room by room, it feels like you’ve accomplished a lot more than just don’t little projects scattered around the house, and it won’t be so overwhelming.

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    Julie McCormick

    Julie McCormick is a writer, and co-owner of The Cleveland Leader, a Technorati Top 1000 site.

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    Last Updated on September 28, 2020

    The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

    The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

    At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

    Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

    One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

    When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

    So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

    Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

    This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

    Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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    When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

    Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

    One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

    Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

    An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

    When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

    Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

    Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

    We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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    By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

    Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

    While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

    I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

    You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

    Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

    When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

    Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

    Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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    Con #2: Less Human Interaction

    One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

    Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

    Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

    This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

    While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

    Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

    Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

    This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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    For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

    Con #4: Unique Distractions

    Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

    For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

    To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

    Final Thoughts

    Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

    We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

    More About Working From Home

    Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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