spring cleaning guide

I have shared with you my spring cleaning rules and tricks and I hope you got motivated to start! One of the biggest challenges when starting the spring cleaning process is deciding where to start. If you have your own apartment or if you are still living with your parents, it is a big challenge to just start cleaning. Questions like what room do I start in, what do I clean out first, how do I purge a closet and other questions begin to snowball and it will never get done because you are over thinking it. I am not a closet organizer or a professional cleaner, but one of my talents in life is that I can deep clean a room in record time and have amazing organization skills. I love the feeling of a clean home that is organized and clutter free. That doesn’t mean that my living space is bare with nothing in it! I just know how to decorate a space or collect items that do not look like clutter.

This is going to be a very long and detailed post so you can clean your home step by step!

When I am bored, I clean and the more bored I am, the bigger the projects I take on. It is impossible for me to just sit still in front of a tv and do nothing all day. So lets just say, I have had years of practice of cleaning and organizing a home, so I have a few lessons I’ve learned over the years.

Plan One of the biggest challenges during a spring cleaning is dedicating the time to actually start. The key part of this is to be realistic about how much time you have and how much you are willing to take on. You can’t clean out an entire house or apartment on a Sunday afternoon and when you make unrealistic expectations, the failure can set you back big time! Instead, look at your calendar and pick a day during the weekend and plan to clean out one room a day. You may think you can get a lot more done in a day, but trust me when was the last time you went through all of your clothes or vacuumed behind your dresser? After work you can pick smaller projects to tackle like where you store your towels or organize the tupperwear drawer. Don’t rush yourself and remember to go at your own pace. Cleaning up a living space can become emotional when deciding to purge items or going through momentos.

Entertainment  For me the most important part about getting this cleaning project started is to set up some sort of entertainment while you cleaned. Put on a good playlist or start a new series on Netflix to watch while you clean. I promise that if you have something playing in the background, you are less likely to get distracted while you are cleaning!

Be prepared Before you start cleaning a room, designate a bag or box for donate, get a garbage bag for trash and get a bucket together of Clorox wipes and Endust. Make sure you have everything you need right next to you before you get started so you can keep going without any interruptions.

 

After Work Projects

If you have some time after work, there are many cleaning and organizing projects you can get done that only require 20 minutes to an hour. Just remember that you had a full day of work and that you may not have as much energy as when you plan to clean something!

Bathroom This should be an easy 30 minute cleaning project if you keep up with cleaning your bathroom. If it takes you more than an hour, you may want to clean your bathroom a few more times a year!

  • The first step is to take out everything that is under the sink and all of the storage containers you have in your bathroom. Have everything on your bathroom floor so you can see how many hair sprays you actually own and easily decide what needs to be tossed. If you have a lot of products (like me!), I suggest going on a a spending freeze for a year. I haven’t purchased a new hair product or lotion in the last year and I am forced to use up what I already own. I am guilty in stocking up on products when they go on sale or impulsively buying something I don’t need and then it just sits there collecting dust.
  • Deep clean with Clorox wipes inside of your cabinets and under the sink before you put anything back. That means clean the walls, use Endust to collect the dust on your trim and use a vacuum to clean out any vents.
  • Before you put one thing back, decide if you really need it. If you have a lot of lotions, try putting one in your car, at your desk at work or at your bedside table. If there is a hair product you never use because it makes your hair greasy, toss it. It is much easier to live when you have very little products to choose from!
  • Once you have decided what you are keeping, try to keep all of you hair or skin products together. I have a tall but skinny cabinet I use to store all of my products and I have separate shelves for my hair or skin products.
  • If you have the room, I like to keep a bucket of cleaning supplies nearby like Clorox wipes, paper towels, toilet bowl cleaner and a magic eraser in my bathroom so I can quickly clean up my bathroom at night before I go to bed.
  • Once you have everything put away, wet Swiffer your floors and make cleaning your bathroom a weekly to do!

Digital Declutter Everyone has a night that they watch their shows on tv, but why not be productive while you are at it? Organize your email and unsubscribe to unwanted emails instead of just deleting them. If you cannot see your desktop background, find places for your files or just create a folder on your desktop to store them in. One of my biggest fears is that I will lose my photos when my laptop crashes. A few years ago, I downloaded Google Photos onto my laptop and it is honestly the best thing I ever did! It automatically syncs your photos to your Google account and in Google fashion, has it organized in albums. One of my favorite features, is that you can pull up your photos by searching for a location or a person in the photos. Google Drive is also a great tool to back up all of your documents as well!

Kitchen Whether you have a small kitchen or a large kitchen, cleaning you kitchen can be done quickly!

  • While you wait for dinner to cook, take on a drawer or cabinet. Remember to take everything down, wipe it down and toss items or put things back to where they belong.
  • In kitchen drawers, your best investment is drawer organizers. You can purchase them for cheap at Ikea or any other store. Give everything a place in your kitchen and make sure you put everything back where it belongs!
  • When was the last time you threw out expired items in your fridge? Take everything out and toss what needs to go and wipe it down.
  • There are a lot of areas in the kitchen we neglect when we think about cleaning. Take out the trash and clean your garbage can. Wipe down your microwave inside and out and when was the last time you cleaned inside your oven?
  • Vacuum and wet Swiffer your kitchen and make it a habit to clean up the kitchen while you cook dinner at night.

Laundry Stick to a weekly or bi-weekly laundry schedule and it will never get overwhelming. I wash my sheets weekly and try to start the week off with no laundry. For a while I could only fit my clothes in my closet when I had a full laundry basket of dirty laundry. That is when I knew it was time to purge my closet! My helpful lessons regarding laundry is to fold laundry as soon as it comes out of the dryer and put it away immediately. Or else it will sit there for days just staring at you! I recently fell in love with Downy Unstopables and it has made a difference in my laundry! When you are doing laundry, it is a great time to toss dirty socks and socks with holes in them. Once a year I get a new pack of socks from Costco and toss my old ones. Throw out anything that has holes or stains that just won’t come out. Also toss out all your ripped or stretched out undies. I love a lace detail but I find that they rip very easily. I know I am getting old when my underwear drawer is filled with more practical every day undies!

Desk Put on a Netflix episode of something, and when it is over, you should be finished. My desk is where bills and paperwork accumulate. The piles build when I bring my mail into the house and things get lost.

  • Take everything off of your desk or work area and wipe it down.
  • Put everything on your floor so you can see it and then put it back to its proper place. Avoid putting anything on your desk to prevent clutter unless you reach for it everyday.
  • Clean out your drawers and try to toss everything. I recently did this and threw out boxes of pencils, markers and sharpies. I kept a few and tossed the extras. I promise you won’t need crayons unless you are a teacher!
  • I have a small table next to my desk and on it I have cute pencil holders I got from Target. That way, all of my pens are together and I have my sharpies and markers in another holder. If it doesn’t fit in there, I tossed it. I go through so many Bath & Body Works candles that I try to reuse the containers as much as I can. In one of them, I have my paper clips, rubber bands and thumb tacs. In another, I store extra nails and screws.
  • I use an accordion document organizer for my important stuff like car documents, student loan or credit card information. Shred anything that you do not need to keep.

Linen Closet How many towels does one person need? I like to have to have two towels per person and then a set for guests when they come to visit. When I did my parents linen closet a year ago, I found towels that were so old that needed to go! The same goes with sheets. Your bed should have two sheet sets per season. You should be using flannel sheets in the winter and cotton or Jersey sheets in the summer. Guest beds should only have one set that can be washed after guests leave and put back on the next day. To save space, I put my towels under my sink in my bathroom or invest in a cute basket to store them in your bathroom. I use a storage container under my bed that I had in college to store my sheets so I can easily make my bed. My usual rule applies, if it doesn’t fit, toss it!

Day Long Projects

These take a little more dedication and scheduling, but once you get started you won’t be able to stop (as long as you have music playing or watching Netflix!)

Closet I suggest starting your first day long project with your closet. In my opinion, this one takes the longest and is the most emotional project to do.

  • First step is to make your bed so you have a clean surface to put all of your clothes.
  • Take all of your clothes out of your closet and lay them on your bed. This is the best way to see what you have hiding in your closet. If you have dressers as well, take out all of your clothes in them as well. You want to be able to see all of the shirts you own on your bed.
  • Before you put anything back in your closet, vacuum and clean every inch! I like to put a Glade Solid Air Freshener in my closet in a linen scent so my clothes keep a fresh scent.
  • If you have a small closet or big closet, you still need to have an organized closet. The last time I cleaned out my closet, I got a hanging closet organizer and it has been a big help in keeping my closet clean! I am able to put all of my t shirts organized by color of course in a cubby so they are easy to grab and go. It saves up so much hanging space so I was able to hang more of my work clothes.
  • I had a few storage containers left over from college, so I used my three drawer storage container to hold my scarves, leggings and socks/tights.
  • Once you have all of your clothes on your bed, it is time to put clothes back into your closet. Everyone has a different approach on how to organize a closet, but I will share how I have mine organized.
    • I have all of my short sleeve shirts hung first in color order and then followed by my long sleeve shirts.
    • The shirts hanging in my closet are shirts that I can wear to work or are more dressy. Since most of us spend the majority of the week at work, it is smarter to have your closet hanging with shirts you wear most often. All of my basic and casual t shirts are folded and put into a cubby in my hanging closet organizer.
    • I use my hanging closet organizer to separate my button downs and my other shirts by having the organizer in the middle. I wear button downs every day to work so I like to have them steamed and ready to wear hanging in my closet.
    • When you go to put clothes back in your closet, hold it up and try to recall the last time you wore it. If it has been a year it is time to donate. I have dozens of J Crew tees that I love to sleep in and wear in the summer that were taking up so much room hanging in my closet. When I changed over to having them folded in my closet it made so much more room!
  • Pants are tricky because hanging them is annoying and in a dresser they get lost. I have a three shelf bookcase that I moved into my closet and I put my folded pants in there. That way I can see what I own right away. I have my work pants on one shelf and denim on another. On the bottom shelf I have my corduroy and colored pants. It makes grabbing pants to wear in the morning so easy because I can immediately see what I have!
  • Get rid of it! Every year I toss all of my white tanks and shirts and buy new ones. After a year of wearing clothes they get their wear and tear. Get in the habit of donating clothes that don’t fit or that you never wear. Throw out clothes that have holes or are stained. Also, if you have had it since high school… throw it out!
  • When organizing your closet, take all of your clothes out, go through them and put them back the Marie Kondo Method!
  • Space really determines how you store purses… I have a small closet so I had to purge about 30 bags I haven’t used in years or that were out of style and have my remaining dozen in a basket tucked away. I wish I had a better solution, but space wise, this is what works for me.
  • I have my shoes in multiple places. It drives me crazy but I just don’t have the room for everything! I have my flats in a shoe organizer on the back of my closet door, my boots are lined up next to my closet and the rest of my shoes are in a trunk in my guest bedroom. (In my future apartment I realllyyy hope I can get a walk in closet!)

Tired Yet? Let’s keep going!

Bedroom If you do it properly, your closet should take a full day to go through your entire wardrobe and put it back. If you don’t have more room than when you started, you did it wrong lol Now that you have a bed clothes free again, it is time to tackle the bedroom. Take everything off of your dressers, off of your shelves and put everything in your room on the floor. Wipe down everything, pull your furniture out from the wall and vacuum everywhere. Now put things back. The key here is to realize what you really need in your life and what you can get rid of. Is there a better place for something instead of where it was originally? Keep a bag designated for donations and a garbage nearby so you can easily toss it.

Room by Room Pick a day and then pick a room to clean from top to bottom and go through everything in it. With the changing seasons, you may not need that many throw blankets out or you may find some Christmas decorations hidden somewhere that need to be put away. I feel like we are always bringing more stuff into our homes, but rarely do we donate or toss our possessions taking up rooms.

Memories While cleaning out my bedroom, I found a few detention slips from high school and some college momentos that I wanted to keep but didn’t need to have displayed on my bulletin board anymore. I have boxes for college, high school, middle school and my younger years to store things I want to keep for sentimental value. This way I can keep these things but they don’t have to be in my way all of the time.

I have to keep moving or else I won’t be able to get up again

Last night I got home from work and went straight to the kitchen to heat up a Lean Cuisine and sit on the couch to quickly eat. My parents were in shock to find me laying on the couch in my work clothes falling asleep instead of watching the Oscars. Me missing an award show, this never happens! My parents looked at me in horror as I skipped watching an award show to crawl into my bed instead. I forced my body to walk upstairs to bed, threw on comfy pajamas and climbed into bed. It was around 10pm and I set my alarm for 6am.

I complain how busy I am, but I have to remember that in the fall I quit my desk job to live this life because this is how I function better. I love having a full day of things to do. When I don’t have anything to do, I get restless and need to do something. (Which is why every drawer or closet in my house is OCD organized.) When I have free time I tend to get a little blue. If I have a day off of work and don’t start my day with an activity, I will sit down and getting back up again is next to impossible.

My life has been very chaotic lately, with two jobs, traveling, doing adult things like cleaning and laundry, catching up on my TV shows, while trying to find time for a social life. At work this morning I realized that the last day I had off was last Monday… seven days ago and my next day off is Wednesday when we have a 6am flight to Florida. A typical work week is two days a week at my job at a college and 3-4 days a week at J. Crew. I’m exhausted,but when I had a week off and didn’t work, I was so bored and found it difficult to get out of bed in the morning. As much as I complain about how busy I am, I love that there is always something to do. And as busy as I am, there is always time for me to be able to get everything done in the day with a few helpful tips.

My Planner For my birthday, three people got me planners because everyone knows that I love to be organized and have everything planned out. I would be lost without my planner because on Sundays I like to plan every hour out ahead of time so I know what to expect for the upcoming week. I leave my planner in my car because that is where I start and end my day, so I can always grab it easily. My work schedule is always changing, so I like to plan out what day I can do laundry, vacuum or set time aside to watch a tv show. It seems silly to schedule in time to shower, but I know that if I don’t plan to shower right when I get home from work, I will go to bed with dirty hair because I am too tired if I wait! On Sundays I get out of work at 8, so that usually leaves me time to make outfits for the upcoming weekend.

Plan Outfits On Sunday Night I spend my free time on weekends doing laundry, so on Sunday nights, I spend an hour or so picking out outfits and putting them aside in my closet. It is a pain to do every week, but I light a candle in my room, put on a tv show and make outfits for the week. I appreciate it in the morning when I just roll out of bed and already have an outfit ready and I don’t have to waste time trying to find a shirt that matches my pants!

Make Cleaning A Priority I wasn’t much of a clean freak before and I rarely cleaned my room or cared if I made my bed. Now that my life is nonstop all day, having a clean room makes going to bed a bit more peaceful. I spend a day once a week to just tidy up my room, vacuum, and put dirty laundry in the hamper and put clean clothes back in the closet. Being organized allows me to get ready in the morning faster and I am a lot calmer when I everything is in its proper place. On my bathroom sink I only have the products I use daily and have all of my extra hairsprays away in their proper space. If I don’t, I waste time looking for my contacts and knocking over hair products. On my vanity, I have a small cosmetics container and it holds the makeup products I use daily, so I don’t have to waste time getting ready in the morning.

Declutter Over the summer I purged my bedroom of clutter and put momentos in a box and threw everything out that did not have a purpose in my life. It seems a bit harsh, but I just felt this freedom and calm not having so much stuff in my room. Having clean surfaces in my room just brings more life into my room instead of having it full of clutter. Every three months I go through my closet and usually find 4 bags full of clothes to give away. If I have a day off, I pick a room and go through everything in the room and decided if I really need it, if it can be put away in storage, or if it should be donated. Most recently, I purged my basement and oh my gosh there is so much room in there now! My parents think I am crazy, but they appreciate the linen closet that is no longer overflowing with sheets and towels!

Schedule Showers One of the craziest items in my schedule is when I put down in my planner when I shower. I know this sounds crazy and I do shower every day, but there are days when I carve out an entire hour to shower, which turns into an hour of me time. A time I can do a face mask, a quick mani or just lay on my heated bathroom floor in my towel and scroll on twitter. If I don’t schedule “me time” in my day, it just won’t be done!

Meal Planning I am not one of those girls who counts calories, but I recently started to eat Lean Cusines for lunch because it is an easy grab and go in the morning. But I also spend my nights before work getting small plastic containers and filling them with different snacks. That way I can quickly grab pre-made snacks and a lunch in the morning. I need to snack all day or I get crabby!

Reading Before Bed This is a recent change I made in my life and I have seen a lot of positive changes. I would usually just fall asleep to a movie or Netflix show, but now that I commit to reading 20 minutes before bed, I am usually falling asleep within 15 minutes. One of my biggest complaints in life was that I did not have enough time to read before bed, but now that I commit time to it every night, it is something I can do to help me fall asleep.

Even though my life is chaotic and I have a million things to do,  I stick to my routine so I am able to get everything done. I keep lists with me so I can check items off as I complete them. There are weeks that my laundry piles high and my sink is full of dishes, but I don’t let that get to me. This morning I showed up to work an hour late and just laughed it off. My boss insisted I get a cup of coffee and take a minute to settle into my office before I got started on a work project. Most importantly, I have my parents who help out whenever I need it. On busy mornings, my dad has breakfast waiting for me in a paper towel so I can eat it while I drive to work or dinner ready when I come home from work after 10pm. Guys, I am so tired, but I cannot imagine how tired I would be if I did not have my routine. Being busy forces me to create structure in my life and that’s when I’m happiest!

Hope you all learned a bit on how I keep my life organized to live a busy life. Feel free to post your tips below in the comments. Any advice is appreciated!

the magic of decluttering and organizing

3.24_Community_Spring_Cleaning_Tips_postI love to go to the gym but I hate getting ready to go to the gym.

It turns into a process of finding clean clothes and trying to find a pair of socks. I try to go within 10 minutes of getting home from work because if I sit down for just one minute there is a 99% change I am not getting back up! But lately getting out of the house and to the gym has become a hassle because I cannot find anything!

I have the worlds worst closet. I really do! My house was built around 1900, during a time that closets did not exist. My room was redone to make a closet so now it is a big closet but you can’t actually reach anything in the back because of the way it is built. Space wise, it is great because it holds a lot of boxes, practicality wise, it is awful. I have two closets and two small dressers to fit everything. After laundry day there is no room in my closet or dressers to fit one more thing!

On Sunday night I decided to start The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. I have not personally bought the book but I have read about these cleaning and life changing techniques online so much lately I got inspired.

In the post grad life we have once again moved to another house. Whether it is to another apartment or you are back with mom and dad (like me), we now realize how much crap we have! I have always been a sentimental person so I keep a lot of stuff that has turned into clutter. After struggling with keeping my room clean I decided it was time to purge. I have done this a few times since I came home in May but I wanted to do it correctly so I am following the Marie Kondo way!

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Lesson #1: Tackle Categories, Not Rooms

When I usually say I am going to clean my room, my room ends up messier than it did before I started cleaning! Marie Kondo suggests tidying by category. Deal with every piece of clothing in your closet individually or go through each book in your bookcase when deciding to tidy up or give away your things.

Lesson #2: Respect Your Belongings

Kondo asks that you consider your clothing’s feelings. Are they happy being squashed in a corner shelf or crowded onto hangers? My closet was full of clothes, my dresses had so many clothes in the drawers that they would not even close! I did not respect my clothes and it showed.

Lesson #3: Nostalgia Is Not Your Friend

I am that person who never wears an outfit twice. Okay, I do but I try not to wear the same thing over and over. If I see a shirt I can remember a memory I had while wearing it. A certain dress brings me back to one of the happiest days of my life. Unfortunately now, I am at work 5 days a week and on the weekends I live in leggings and the same shirt. It is smart to stay focused and not reminisce about the old times now when cleaning. I found a picture of an old boyfriend and I while cleaning and the next thing I knew I was Facebook stalking instead of being productive.

Lesson #4: Purging Feels So GoodIMG_5885.JPG

The best way to purge is to put everything of its kind in a pile and then go through each piece individually. I took my entire closet and threw it on the floor. It was now way past my bedtime but now I had to finish a project I started! By individually picking up each piece and putting it back on a new hanger, it made it easier to say goodbye to shirts I forgot I even owned. My closet was a mix of work and casual clothes which made picking an outfit for work difficult because I wasted time looking at casual tee shirts instead of my work blouses. I donated a lot of shirts I had since high school and others that I just will not wear anymore. I took my casual t shirts, folded them and put them on a shelf in my closet. This is my least worn wardrobe and it does not deserve to be hung up.

It started to get easier to toss things. When was the last time I wore this? Was this from my chubby days? What was I thinking when I bought this?? My Hollister and Forever 21 clothes are never worn. I wore them a lot at my old job working retail because I needed to wear clothes I didn’t care if they got ruined. So why did I care that that I needed them in my closet?? I had to cut ties with the sentimentality of a t shirt and let them go to Goodwill and not stay in my closet taking up room.  Also, the amount of white v neck shirts I had was embarrassing. I tossed them all because one nice new one is all I needed. In the end my closet went from overflowing to half full (and many extra hangers).

Lesson #5: Fold, Don’t Hang

Now that my closet was full of work clothes, I needed a place to put my other casual clothes. Marie Kondo suggests folding clothes instead of  hanging them. At the end of purging my closet I realized how few clothes I had now. Everything fit nicely on my shelf and I could see clearly what was there without it getting lost hanging in my closet. I also saved closet space by folding all of my sweaters and putting them on a shelf. I wear them often to work so it makes it easier for me to grab and go in the morning.

For the clothes that are hanging in my closet, they are hanging in a very OCD organized way. Short sleeve shirts then long sleeve shirts arranged by color. I didn’t realize how blah my winter wardrobe was until I saw that everything was black, white and grey!

Lesson #6: The Fold!

I have been a big fan of this folding technique for many years (Thanks, Martha Stewart). Kondo’s vertical folding technique makes everything organized and easy to see everything at a glance. Kondo suggests using shoeboxes or other boxes to keep everything in place. Unfortunately, my dresser is from childhood so it is not built that deep to put in a shoebox!

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Lesson #7: Enjoy your new closet!

Once you have cleared the clutter and put everything in a place it is supposed to be, you can now enjoy your closet. For too  long I have had to force clothes in there because there was no more room. I hated when my closet door was open because it was a chaos inside. Now getting ready in the morning is easy peasy!

Now I know what I have in my closet the next time I go shopping or I am trying to get ready to go out. In a few short weeks my summer wardrobe will be coming out and switching closets will be so much easier now that I have purged.

Now the next time I do laundry I won’t be afraid to put clothes back!

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So far tackling my main closet was a lot easier than I thought- next step is my second closet!

life is about learning to dance in the rain

Lilly_Pulizer_at_Preppy_Princess

Rainy days are no fun and this week it looks like the rain will not go away!

I have put together some of my rainy day essentials. I wish I was at home on the couch curled up reading a book but instead I am stuck in this gloomy office today!

rainy day essentials

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What are some of your rainy day must haves?

Well, that was easy!

Happy Taxes Season!

taxes

After years of having my dad and our family accountant handle my taxes I decided it was time to be a real adult and do it myself. I felt to so proud of the “I can do it!” feeling I had with this new adult thing. But after I agreed to do it I was worried what I got into ….

Continue reading “Well, that was easy!”

Cubicle Sweet Cubicle

Cubicle Sweet Cubicle

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Just because you have to spend all day at your desk that does not mean you can’t have some fun! If we have to sit in front of our desks for hours at a time we should at least personalize the space and make it pretty! Inspire your Monday with some cubicle or desk decorating tips!

For Christmas I surprised a friend with some goodies for her cubicle. I put together some of the office goodies I picked up for her and what is on my desk. I got everything at TJ Maxx and Homegoods which really helped with my budget. This style may not fit everyone but I encourage you all to go out and spruce up your desk some way this week. I started writing with a new pen and got pink post its, a subtle change but these winter months need some pop of color!

It’s time to inspire your home away from home!