Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Cleaning. Deodorize, Sanitize, Harmonize.

For some reason, the phrase, "spring cleaning," is music to my ears and the song above will be in my head all season long!! To me, the phrase, when verbally executed, has a refreshing and upbeat tone to it. Since spring has sprung out into the open, I want to shout to the world that my spring cleaning has begun! Even if the cleaning is a regular chore such as loading the dishwasher, throwing in a load of laundry, or simply vacuuming, I seriously just want to call it "spring cleaning" for the sake of calling it spring cleaning! With the warm sun shining through the windows and the thought that I am not racking up my Dominion bill any longer, using the word 'spring' in itself  is completely and utterly necessary for me.

All of those lousy, dirty, time consuming chores that I put off all winter are on deck. The grime, disorganization, and lacking areas of my apartment are about to face ME, the ace, in terms of baseball, and experience some serious heat. This is going to be the easiest nine innings I've ever played! =P

^^I really want a picture of myself doing this pose. Adorable.

If you don't know where to start for your spring cleaning, look no further! Maybe I can help.....

I am in love with lists. I write everything down. I have a grocery list. A wish list. A to do list. A list with future baby names. A list of books I want to read. Movies I want to watch. A meal planning list. And now, a spring cleaning list! Here's your chance for an excuse to go to the craft store--find some pretty paper you can write on and essentially turn it into a notepad....You could even try to find a really cute magnet to put your list on the fridge..I've found that writing on pretty paper makes the process FUN! and who thought spring cleaning could be fun?!

[Speaking of notepads...I found a website that that puts any uploaded picture onto a notepad for you. GENIUS!]

Begin by making your to-do list. The best thing about a to-do list is you get to decide when to actually do the do! No pressure. Unless you are like me. I absolutely, positively am in love with CROSSING items off of my lists. It gives me a sense of relief, relaxation, and accomplishment. My day is totally satisfying when I get to take my special pen (and I really love a good pen with solid, thick ink) and scratch off my orders of business. {BIG BREATH OF FRESH AIR}

Next, I would start with something that has been put off for ages. For me, it is the clutter of paper, mail, and miscellaneous items that somehow gets thrown onto my bookshelf. One day, I sat down on the floor, took everything off the shelves, dusted the shelves, and threw away any pieces of paper I didn't need....Did I seriously need to keep a torn, open envelope? How did that even manage to get thrown in my important document pile? And oh, that word pile, ew. It is disgusting. And I have a small habit of putting papers and mail in a pile. If only I could get in the habit of organizing it right away in the binder I have specifically oriented for various documents. HABIT. Another ugly word. However, it is only ugly if you attach the word BAD to it. Turn those BAD HABITS into GOOD HABITS! It apparently takes 21 wonderful days to make a habit, so go for it! My goal is to become more organized with my random pieces of paper....store it away properly in the correct file and voila! Organization.

In other words, for you mathematical minds:  Take BAD HABITS - BAD HABITS + GOOD HABITS X 21 = GOAL ACCOMPLISHED!

After I organized my book shelf, I was honestly in the mood to do more. I've found that once you get into the cleaning mood, you kind of go into a cleaning frenzy. Cleaning frenzies happen very easy for me. It can begin by me just making the bed. So decide what's best for you. Is it easy to start big? Or easy to start small? What puts you in the mood to clean? Whatever it is, do it! And if you are one of those people who cleans out of anger...which I sometimes get like that...please please please don't go picking a fight with your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/mother/father/sister/brother! I strongly discourage that! You should read the fine print. [And I only did that to be funny]

I really believe that the 21-day-method works. About 5 years ago, I encouraged myself to organize the clothes hanging in my closet by color. Now, by habit, when I put my clothes away, it is only natural for me to put them in the correct color position. It's really strange for me to even look at Eric's closet because he could careless if the whites were with the whites or the blues with the blues.

On top of that, I've developed a habit of spraying my shower with cleaner after every use, washing my face, making the bed, dusting once a week, and much more.

Things I am working on: putting the clothes away after each load, cleaning the entire kitchen after I cook, feeding the dog at the same time each day, drinking 8 glasses of water per day, daily vitamins and restraining myself from facebook (I check it WAAAY too much and it is time consuming!) No matter how silly of a habit you are trying to make or break, it's for your own good! Only you can decide how you want to make your lifestyle.

Here's another idea. If you are not the type of person who likes to deep clean all in one day, make a goal for each day. Perhaps Monday you will vacuum. Tuesday you will dust. Wednesday you will wash the windows. Thursday you organize. Friday you clean the toilet. I bet that if you did it in chunks and set aside a few chores for each day, your cleaning would get only easier and easier. For your spring cleaning, you can add a couple items from that to-do list each day or each week. For example, every Saturday, I wash our bed sheets. I have been meaning to rotate our bed [and I am hitting myself in the head for not writing this down], so this Saturday, when I take off those sheets, I will rotate my bed  180 degrees. Look how easy that was!! Try to add a chore to your daily chores based off of the room you're working in. If it's your day to mop the kitchen floor, and you've been meaning to organize your pots and pans cabinet, by golly, go for it! That's another good habit I've developed over time--I hate a messy pots and pans area, so mine is completely arranged how I want it.

Above photos: This isn't my pots and pans cabinet, but mine is pretty neatly organized like this. I do eventually want to get those nifty organizers to arrange everything by size!

Maybe your problem with spring cleaning is that you don't even know what to spring clean. Martha Stewart put together a spring cleaning check list. I really like how this is all written out for you. She gives you tips and ideas on various things throughout the house. And like I suggested, she advises you to try spring cleaning room by room. PLEASE go visit Martha's other checklists... this goes over what you should do every day, to every week, every month, every season...how to clean your refrigerator and more!

Here's a few tips I found from ehow.com:

-Use the weakest cleaner first, then graduate to stronger solutions when needed. This way you're least likely to harm surfaces with harsh, inappropriate cleaners.
-Pop moist sponges in the microwave oven for 20 seconds to kill germs
-Spring cleaning is also a great time to change out your wardrobe. Wash and pack away winter clothes, and break out the short sleeves and beach towels.
-Stock up on trash bags, boxes, cleaning supplies and rags.
-Make sure that you have storage bins, bags, shelves, etc. so that you can develop or refine your organizational pattern as you go.
-Work in blocks, or stages so that you do not get overwhelmed.
-Divide tasks in a logical order that makes best sense to you, generally by room. Save things that affect the entire house (like cleaning the floors and windows) for the end so that you can do those tasks together without stopping.
-Make sure that you are prepared with gloves when handling any potentially harmful cleaning substances.
-Never mix bleach and ammonia.

-Always use caution when using step stools or ladders to clean areas that you cannot reach.
(See?? I love lists!)

*I also found this woman's blog: http://goodwifeinthekitchen.blogspot.com/ ...She gives her spring cleaning lists, advices you on how to go green, and has some recipes available. (This is where I got that pretty pic of that gorgeous pots and pans cabinet!)

Get off my blog and go clean something!

"We are friendly to the female shopper, while Home Depot is contractor friendly. Women like the look of Lowe's, the ease of finding what they want, and particularly, the cleanliness. Women are the ones making the decisions about what carpet to buy and what color to paint the rooms, so why not make it pleasant for them?"

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