Spring Cleaning - tips & tricks to get it all out

It’s about that time. The time you can open the windows, turn off the heat, and just breathe fresh air. I don’t know about you, but I live for these moments. It’s also that time to start spring cleaning. It’s just something about opening up those windows that just make you want to clean. Am I right?

I still remember growing up and doing our spring cleaning and getting the trash bags out and the boxes that would eventually be moved to the basement. I am pretty sure I might still have some boxes at my parent’s house to be honest (maybe an item on my cleaning list this year).

I wanted to share with you some of the tips I use to get it all out. How to spring clean, if you will. This will help you get it all out, but keep your sanity while doing it.

Tip #1: Make a Storage, Donate and/or Garage Sale and Toss box

This is the lifesaver. I use this tip any time I am doing deep cleaning. I use storage for seasonal items, family heirlooms, things I am not ready to part with, and maybe even some things that I can give to others.

Donate and/or Garage sale box is more for the things that you don’t want anymore but someone else could breathe life into. My family is really big into this almost every other year. I live out in the middle of nowhere so it doesn’t work well for me at my home, but I take my stuff to my parent’s when their neighborhood has their annual garage sale.

The thing you have to realize is that you must use garage sale prices. I can’t tell you how many times people will comment on that to me at my parent’s house. They will always tell me that we are the only ones they see having “real garage sale prices.” You are not looking to make much money off of these things. If you don’t think a resale store would take it, you need to mark it REALLY low.

Now let’s say you do go to a resale store and they don’t take some things. Go to another one and if you think you can get SOMETHING out of it. Put it into storage until you can do a garage sale.

Anything left after the garage sale, donate it. You can also do this anytime of the year if a garage sale is not an option or you just wanted to donate. Look into multiple different places that take this besides just Goodwill. They are great, but there are multiple other places you can look into that just aren’t advertised as much.

Tip #2: As you are moving things around, DUST!!

I cannot tell you how much I gross myself out by seeing things that need dusted when I move things around. I mean, I try to get to it when I am dusting, but some are either hard to reach or you just don’t think about. Like your cabinet drawers or maybe even around some books you NEVER look at (maybe that’s a sign to move the books to storage or donate).

Some places to also look out for that don’t typically get much attention is inside your kitchen cabinets, the “junk drawer,” behind furniture and appliances, and behind anything that sits stationary (desktop computer, phones, decorative baskets, decorations, etc.).

Tip #3: Don’t do too much at once to overwhelm yourself. Do a few rooms at a time.

This one I do all the time. I like to think that somehow it is possible to do the whole house in a weekend. I am very ambitious and it’s not very realistic unless I had a tribe of people helping me. Try a few rooms at a time. That way you can thoroughly go through everything instead of rushing just to get it done. If one room is really big, you can make these into smaller tasks. For example, I do my closet at a different time than the rest of my room because I get too overwhelmed.

I typically start with my room and then work my way down to the main living spaces and then to the basement. I do recommend doing anything with paper documents on a separate day from anything else so that way you can really look into it and come up with a good filing system and see what is super important and what is not.

Tip #4: Don’t buy anything new until you have gone through everything. If you need organizational items, look around your house first before buying something new.

This one is hard for me. I am ALL about the organizational things. I frequent the Office Depot and Target office supply area often. However, you need to look at other things you might already own around the house. I cannot tell you many times I get done cleaning the house and find 5 extra binders, 20,000 file racks, and 1,000,000 storage boxes. So I really don’t need to buy anything else and just use the things that I already have in the house.

Now, if I can go through EVERY room and can’t find anything then I can go make a list to buy things. And yes, make a list. It will help you not get “shiny object” syndrome. That is my problem, I want everything!

Now that you have these tips in place, get ready to organize your house this spring! Let me know if you have any other tips & tricks I can add to this list! Also, send me photos of your hard work after you are done cleaning. I can’t wait to see them all.

National Self Care Month - Easy Self Care Ideas

With it being National Self Care Month, I wanted to bring to you 5 easy self-care ideas and why I think they are beneficial. 

1. Epson Salt/Essential Oil Bath

This is the typical self-care photo you will see on the internet. It's okay to have that. It means it works. I personally love the lavender scent as it is super calming which helps right before bed. I usually soak for about 15 minutes to help relax me. I even have found some super relaxing "bath time" music on Spotify. My playlist can include: Relax & Unwind, Bath Spa Relaxing Music Zone, and Piano in the Background

2. Read a book

This can be any type of book, just read one you can get into. Whether that be self-help, romance, murder mystery, sci-fi, business, memoir, historical fiction, whatever. Just find a comfy place and start to read. Right now I am reading "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed. And if it wasn't for my tired eyes, I would not put it down. 

If you do decide to read on a tablet or a screen rather than hard copy, make sure you are taking into consideration that the light from the technology can keep you up later. It can trick your brain into thinking that it's still the day. However, you can try these glasses called Pixel Eyewear and it helps you get better sleep and less eye strain. 

3. Start a "grateful for" list

This may not seem like self-care, but when you start to do some reflection on what you are grateful for it definitely helps you feel better. Write down each morning (or night) 3 things you are grateful for. This could include literally anything. From your house to your shoes, to your job, even for your alarms! You can write why you are if you want, but it's not required. You can always repeat too. I typically write that I am grateful for my dogs cuddle time with me each and every morning. 

4. Meditate/Yoga

Sometimes you just need to move your body or relax your mind. Yoga always helps when I can tell my body just needs to move, but also a stretch. I always feel really good after a yoga session. My body feels like it can move in ways I never thought I could and it's helping me with physical balance, strength, and flexibility.

Meditating will help your mind be at ease. If you are anything like me, I had no idea where to start out when it came to meditating. I would also just find my mind wondering every few seconds onto something else (i.e. my to do list, errands, chores, what Susie said at work today, etc.). I downloaded this app called Headspace and that has helped so much. I got to choose how often and how long each meditation session was. You are given a video tutorial at the beginning to help you get the most out of your meditation session and set you up for success. Then, you will have a guided meditation for your set amount of time. There is a free trial section, but the parts you pay for are worth it too. 

5. Take a technology detox

This one is probably going to be the most challenging. I go everywhere with my phone as I am sure many of you do too. I am not saying it has to be days, weeks or months, but even just for a few hours. Once I started using my Moment app, I was noticing how much I was on my phone and it literally disgusted me. How could I waste so much time in my life on my phone? Time is so precious and I can't get any of that back. This app not only shows you how much time you are on your phone but how many times you even pick it up to look at your home/lock screen and even which apps you use the most. So if you are listening to podcasts 50% of the time, at least you know you aren't mindlessly scrolling more. Just take even a few hours out of your day. Don't check it during your lunch break. Don't bring it to the bathroom with you (don't judge, I know you all do it, especially at work). Forget it at home for a day. For those who decide to do a day or longer, I am proud and envious of you. 

Want to incorporate your furry family members in your photos? Here are tips on how to

Our little furry family members are our whole world. (Well, to me they are). I often get asked about incorporating them into the family photos and if I am able to do that. If they are in your family, they deserve to get photographed as well.

My little fur child, Kora, has always been the subject for me in my photographs, so I have been able to practice a lot with her. I have learned little tricks how to get her to look at me and how I want her to "pose."

Now I understand not every dog (or cat) can do these things so I came up with a little list of things you can do to help out on the day of your session.

1. Bring a treat bag - this can be with some favorite treats, toys, things that make noise, etc. I can use this during the session to get their attention and help them behave.
2. Practice with them - Teach them sit, stay, get them to love wanting a treat. This honestly helps get their attention and to keep them staying still for photos.
3. Let me know if there is anything I should be aware of (my animal hates hats, they get scared with loud noises, they get aggressive with strangers, my dog will get distracted by anything that moves, etc.) so I can prepare for this session as well. If your animal hates people with hats, I won't wear one. If your cat hates strangers, I can try to meet before hand so they aren't afraid of me with the camera.

If you go with these tips, this will help tremendously the day of the session.