Spring is here, the sun is out, the birds are chirping, and we're...stuck inside. For many, the COVID-19 quarantine is proving to be an uncertain time, perhaps filled with anxiety and stress about WHAT is to come and, more importantly, wondering WHEN this will all be over. Ensuring our personal health and safety is number one, but with the looming, unknown weeks ahead, we have to continue to push forward with our lives in any way we can.
With the hopes of making the best out of this sudden increase of "time at home," I've compiled a list of 10 tips and ideas for this new era of spring quarantine cleaning or "Quaran-Cleaning!"
Make A Daily Schedule
Okay, so maybe you sleep until noon everyday. Or maybe your kids wake you up at sunrise asking for pancakes. Either way, the key to staying happy, motivated, and sane is making a daily schedule to keep you and your household on track. It also helps avoid those days where hours go by and all you've done is hit your daily time limit on Instagram (if you don't have a screen time limit set for Instagram, do it now). Whether you create a mental to-do list for yourself, make a list on your phone, or write down a schedule on a dry-erase board for your kids, setting daily goals for getting things done can not only pass the time, but they can keep you focused on making the most of your current home situation. Wake up, make coffee, eat breakfast, do a yoga live-stream or workout, take a shower, put on an outfit...
Repot A Plant
Or get a plant. Or plant a plant. Learn how to not kill a plant! Winter is over and we can make use of this spring sun. Bags of soil and stylish new pots are widely available on Amazon.com. Also check out TimeYard on Instagram for pots, hangings, and home decor ideas. In order to not make a mess, cut open a cardboard box from one of your recent deliveries to make a tray while you work. This is a great project to allow your kids to work hands-on and away from the TV. Giving your current plants a new home with a little more space may just be the cathartic experience you're looking for. And they'll thank you for it.
Clean Up Your Tech
You may already be spending more hours staring at your screen than usual, so why not clean up those devices. Start by going through your contact list. Delete old names and numbers of anyone you can't remember (or don't want to remember). Make sure your good friends and family members' home and email addresses are updated.
Next, clean up your apps. If you have an iPhone with iOS 11 or higher, there are multiple ways to do this:
Manually offload rarely-used apps one at a time. Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage, scroll down to the app you want to remove, tap on it and select Offload App. Only the app will be removed, and its Documents & Data will be kept on your phone. If you do want to remove data and settings, select Delete App instead.
Instead of individually offloading apps, your device can be set to remove apps you haven’t used recently on its own, but only when it is low on storage space. To turn on this feature, go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage and under "Recommendations" tap “Enable” next to Offload Unused Apps. Also under "Recommendations" are options to review "Photos > Review Personal Videos" and "Messages > Review Large Attachments, Photos, Videos, GIFs and Stickers." These large files can be deleted individually and free up needed space on your device. You can also go to Settings > iTunes & App Store and switch “Offload Unused Apps” on or off.
Finally, clean up the desktop on your home or work computer. Clutter on your electronic work space can limit your focus and productivity. Create folders to categorize items on your desktop and keep them aligned on the right or left of your screen in alphabetical order. You can also clean up your hard drive with products like CleanMyMac, which runs about $40 and routinely cleans up your computer on every level. This not only maintains the health of your computer, but also keeps your files tidy and free of unnecessary items.
Make A Workout Area
Everybody knows one thing about the gym- if it's not convenient, you're not gonna go. So, make your workout routine easily accessible and organized. If you don't already have a space in your home for working out, make one! Free up a corner, or hallway, move a coffee table, and keep all of your equipment together in a foldable fabric bin (available on Amazon). Once you get over the choice of getting off your couch to workout, having everything in one place will make you feel like you can conquer the world!
Clean Low-Traffic Areas
Now is the PERFECT time to vacuum underneath your bed and behind the couch. Knowing there aren't horrifying dust monsters beneath you while you relax or sleep will refresh your living space and give you a little bit more peace-of-mind as well. It's also miraculous what you can find when you crawl under that bed or pull that couch away from the wall. Who knew you had so many Nike duffle bags?! Completely clear out these areas, vacuum and disinfect, and decide what you're keeping and what to donate or trash. Consider buying a plastic underbed storage container to keep out-of-season clothes clean and organized, or just to hold old keepsakes or CD cases from high school that you can't get rid of (I promise I won't judge.)
Sort/Discard Your Linens
Sheets and towels and duvets, oh my! Sort through all of it. Only keep the towels you use with a few extra for the beach, accidents, and guests. Same thing goes for bedding. Have an extra set for when you're doing laundry, or when guests stay over. Everything else can go! Keep like items together and fold them all the same way. Annoying fitted sheets? Forget the old Martha way of tucking the pockets together and follow my girl Marie Kondo's updated way. So 2020.
Repair Damaged Clothes
Been putting off sewing that button back on? Fixing that rip in the crotch of those jeans? Pull out all of the repairs that have been waiting for you. Throw out faded t-shirts or, if an item is beyond repair, trash it or turn it into a new cleaning cloth. Shine those dress shoes or return those bright white Adidas sneakers back to their former glory. Nothing to repair? How 'bout learning to sew! Project Runway and Brother Sewing Machines teamed up to make an entire line of models for your budding inner designer. Then, make a "how-to" video of your newest fashion! The creative possibilities are endless.
Clean Out Bathroom Cabinet
Dispose of unused and expired medications according to the FDA website's recommendations. Get rid of any products that have crusted shut, you haven't used in the last season, or you don't see yourself using in the coming season. This includes skin and hair care, as well as those 4 half-empty cans of spray sunscreen. Sort through travel-sized products and free samples and keep them together in a bag for easy access (we all know you're planning a getaway for when this is all over). Wipe out and disinfect underneath the sink and inside the medicine cabinet. It's also a great time to clean out any old makeup products you have. Wash and disinfect your makeup brushes in a mild soap and warm water. When you DO decide to shower, your morning routine will be quicker and easier than ever. #STUNNING!
For physical copies of photos and prints, start by making one giant pile. Then, divide them into categories: friends, family, summer camps, vacations, etc. Get a new photo holder to keep them neatly organized and easy to view. Or, make a new album of photos to display on your coffee table.
For digital photos on your phone or computer- swipe through them to delete any unnecessary screenshots or duplicates. Make a "smart-album" to categorize your library by year, date or event. Decide what photos you'd love to print and make a gallery wall for your bedroom or living room! Drugstores like CVS, Walgreens, etc. have easy upload sites to order prints and have them delivered within a couple days. They also have photo book creators, which make perfect gifts, along with tons of other photo products. You could be sipping coffee out of a mug with your cat's face on it in three days time!
This may be the most important of all. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! You can clean, organize, tidy, and declutter until your arms fall off, but if your overall mental health isn't in tact, nobody wins. Like most busy parents or professionals, the world never stops. Meditation apps like Calm are out there, which can help you with a guided experience or just provide background music for you to fall asleep to. Have you ever tried to sit, close your eyes, and just DO NOTHING for 5 whole minutes!? It's amazing how your mind races and tries to make you believe you should be doing something, saying something, or thinking something. After about a minute or so, that nagging inner voice will slowly fade and you'll begin to truly relax. If you're not feeling motivated, don't be worried. You may need this time to regain control of your focus. Turn the lights off, take a bath, light some candles. This may be the perfect opportunity for YOU time!
Be sure to contact Bradley Ryan Home Organization to schedule a VIRTUAL SESSION today!