Have you heard the news? It’s almost spring cleaning time again! And while we somewhat dread the idea of spending an entire day cleaning, there’s nothing quite like the feeling after you’ve completed it! Cleansing and decluttering our homes this time of year is truly essential for most of us.
Aside from the physical act of cleaning your house, I suggest taking a good look through your closet, pantry, fridge, medicine cabinets and makeup bag to get rid of anything expired or unused.
But first let me give you a little bit of survival advice. . I live in a house with a husband, 3 boys, 2 dogs, and a cat. . . I promise you my house is not clean, but I have learned how to fake it until I have time to make it company acceptable.
Living in your own filth is great until people — your friends, your parents, the person you son is currently talking to (or whatever these young people call it these day} — decide to spring themselves on you and show up at your house. Oh dear, they're going to see how you really live, surrounded by piles of dirty dishes in the sink and little droppings of underwear on the floor. But you can totally fake your way to a not-gross home in a few minutes. Here's how:
In the Living Room
The name of the game in the living room is just to tidy — think uncluttered surfaces, invitingly fluffed-up cushions, and neat piles.
1. If you've got a lot of clutter in the living room, grab a basket, bin, or even a structured tote or shopping bag and stash as much as you can inside. If your container is open on top, place a nicely folded blanket on top of it to make it look like your clutter stash is actually an inviting pile of extra throws for movie night. And then pray that no one reaches for the throw.
2. Since what we're looking for is only the shallowest of cleaning sprees, don't underestimate the power of simply squaring up piles of books and magazines, corralling remotes, and setting smaller items like area rugs and ottomans back in their rightful position.
3. Fluff up couch and side chair cushions, and arrange throw pillows attractively. If you keep blankets or throws in your living room, fold those neatly and drape them over the armrest or back of your furniture.
4. If you've got the time for it, run the vacuum — a vacuumed carpet will instantly make a room look clean. Similarly, if you have a feather duster or microfiber cloth handy, go ahead and give surfaces like coffee and side table, window ledges, and bookshelves a quick dusting.
In the Bathroom
Your guests are almost guaranteed to ask to use your bathroom, so make this space a priority. Because this is a quick clean, reach for the one product that's going to do most of the work for you: Glass cleaner. Grab a roll of paper towels too, and get your butt in gear — this is going to go super fast
5. Spray a wad of paper towels with the glass cleaner. Use that to wipe the top and underside of the toilet seat, the flusher, and the top of the tank, where dust and hairs tend to gather.
6. Give the toilet bowl a few sprays with the glass cleaner and let that sit while you do the rest of the bathroom. Once you're done, give the toilet bowl — which has been marinating in glass cleaner — a quick swipe with a toilet brush and then flush.
7. Using a fresh paper towel sprayed with glass cleaner, wipe the mirror free of streaks and toothpaste spittle, and then do the same to the sink basin. If the sink area and countertops are cluttered, either stash your stuff out of sight or line items up neatly, then wipe down the cleared-off surfaces.
8. To create the appearance of a tidy bathroom, straighten the hand towels, hang the bathmat, and close the shower curtain or door. If your hand towels are looking a little overly used and you don't have fresh ones nearby, flip them so the clean side facing the wall it turned outward, and the dirty side is facing the wall.
9. Since you're going to be closing the shower curtain, you can throw any clutter-y things into the tub. No one's going to look back there anyway.
10. Pick up any underwear that you may have left behind after your morning shower!
In the Kitchen
Clutter will make your kitchen look way messier than a few stray crumbs, so just focus on clearing surfaces.
11. Got a pile of dishes in the sink and no time to wash them? If you have a dishwasher, load it. If not, neatly stack your dishes, stick utensils in tall glassware, and stash it all in the refrigerator or oven. Just don't forget it's in there! My brother use to put all the dirty dishes in our washer and dryer. . . we knew to check in there before actually putting clothes in the washer to wash.
12. If your countertops or kitchen table are covered with unopened mail, phone chargers, loose condiment packets, whatever, grab all that clutter, dump it in a shopping bag, and set it out of sight. Then, give the surfaces a quick wipe with a damp sponge, dishrag, or paper towels. We have bags of mail in our closets often, but it is actually pretty handy when you look for a certain bill you forgot to pay. . . its organized by weeks in the grocery bags.
13. Is the smell of last night's chili still lingering in your kitchen? Boil fragrant stuff like citrus peels, cinnamon sticks, or cloves in a small saucepan to make the room smell amazing. Yay, now you can welcome your guests into your home and give them a satisfied smile when they say, "Wow, your place is so clean!"
Now that you home is clean, or atleast appears clean, treat yourself with a cleaning for YOU! Cleaning your makeup bag to get ready for the spring is always a great way to make you feel better and closer to wearing those cute springy clothes and sandals. Check out this article . . .
This article originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of SELF.
How to Spring Clean Your Makeup Collection in 5 Easy Steps
Out with the old, in with the new! This cleaning cheat sheet will help you let go of the products that are just taking up room. And perhaps you'll clear a little bit of emotional baggage, too. This Spring, build a makeup collection that enhances the beautiful woman you are without cluttering your cabinets.
1. Divide your collection into coordinating groups.
Start by sorting your collection into piles. Put lipstickswith lipsticks, mascaras with mascaras and so on, says New York City–based professional organizer Tidy Tova. Once you see what’s there, it’s easier to ask hard questions about what should stay. Obviously, toss the cracked compact powder. But also nix things that serve no purpose—foundation with so-so coverage or a blush that doesn’t flatter your skin tone.
2. Assess which products are must haves and which ones are outdated.
Ultimately, your beauty productsshould make you look your best and also fit your needs. When you take stock, “think about who you want to be,” says Jennifer Baumgartner, Psy.D., author of You Are What You Wear. That means tossing anything that isn’t relevant to your life right now (sorry, cupcake-flavored lip gloss) in favor of new products that are. “Create a look so that when you see yourself, you feel like you are that person,” she says.
3. Dig deeper and think about why you're holding on to certain items.
But what if you just cannot get rid of that one blue eyeshadow? “Look for patterns of behavior,” says Baumgartner. Items you cling to may come with some emotional baggage, like activities you still want to pursue (the “I’ll use it someday” trap) or associations with your past. “Ask yourself why, until you get to the root of the problem,” says Melissa Gratias, Ph.D., a productivity psychologist based in Savannah, Georgia.
4. Make arrangements for your everyday favorites and your backup stash.
Once you’ve decided what works and what doesn’t, find a place for the winners. First, says Tova, be sure that everyday products remain accessible and within easy grasp. Then keep everything else separated by categories: makeup, haircare, and so on. “You’re creating a more efficient life for yourself, which is invaluable,” she says.
5. And shop for new products that fit your needs.
Your reward for spring cleaning: a little well-earned shopping! Once you’ve assessed your needs, treat yourself to the products that will help you be the best version of you. (Repurchase any products that have expired.)”
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