With the arrival of spring in the northern hemisphere, we emerge from hibernation and slowly awake. Like the beginning of the new year, we make resolutions to get ready for the summer and the nice weather. A lot of us are busy with spring cleaning and trying to find time to enjoy the nicer days. It is the perfect time of the year to not only get our house in order but also our body and soul through lifestyle changes. Here are some hacks to help you achieve a clean organized house, be healthier and more mindful. When our house is messy and cluttered, it is harder for our brain to be organized and achieve mindfulness. Most of us look at house chores as hard work, but just think how good it will feel once everything is organized! You will also sleep better and be more efficient at work.
I lived in Germany for about 10 years and window cleaning is a serious task there. I learned this hack from one of my German friends. Here is the recipe to clean windows without streaks.
Dish soap (the key ingredient!)
Mix in a bucket the water, the vinegar and a few drops of dish soap. Don’t use too much dish soap. There shouldn’t be a lot of suds. This mix is good to wash not only window panes, but also window frames.
Spring is a great time to look in your pantry. If you don’t have a pantry or have a small kitchen here are some hacks to deal with the challenge of limited space.
In the picture you see a small butcher block island and a rack from Ikea. You can also find these items in most furniture stores. Either place them along the wall or in the middle of the kitchen as an ‘island’.
Use glass jars, such as fancy gift candy/nut jars to store your flour, sugar, oatmeal, etc. Easy to find and inexpensive, these will help you keep your pantry organized and looking clean and neat. To store my dry beans, peas and lentils, I use a three-drawer plastic organizer that I was no longer using in the office.
I originally intended to have herbs growing in my kitchen, but after a few failed attempts and no space to put all my dried herbs and spices, I decided to use the container as a spice/herb rack instead.
Another space saver/storage hack from Ikea is a basket that hangs under your kitchen cabinets. I’m using one to store more spices, bouillon cubes and other cooking stuff, but you could store your cookbooks there as well.
Whether you’re working on that summer body or making a lifestyle change, organizing your kitchen can be an important step in achieving your goal. In a drawer, close to your cooking surface, keep your kitchen tools such as measuring cups and spoons in easy access. I keep my reusable ties and my lids in plastic containers left over from a salad I bought. You may also want to invest in a kitchen scale.
Under the Sink
You can store your cutting boards and/or your compost bags in a magazine holder to keep them neat and tidy.
Spring is the perfect time to change the battery in your smoke detector. Better safe than sorry!
In your bathroom, go through your medicine cabinet, separate out your expired prescriptions and over the counter drugs and bring them to your pharmacy, so they can be disposed of properly. Do not throw them down the drain or toilet because they will pollute the environment. Don’t dispose of them in the garbage either, as animals or people could eat them.
If you don’t have a lot of storage space for your clothes here is a great hack. Use some storage bags for shoes and clothing that fits under your bed, so your closet won’t be overly cluttered.
The rule of thumb for clothing is that if you have not worn them for over a year the likelihood of you wearing them again is very low.
Why not donate those no longer used items of clothing? I like to bring my clothes to an organization like Value Village (Village des Valeurs) or Renaissance because they have work training program for people who have been through hard times or have a handicap, so they can eventually reintegrate into the regular workforce.
Body and Soul
Now that your home is in order and that you have created the right atmosphere, it’s the perfect time to turn your focus to your body and soul.
As the markets return to life, why not visit one and buy some fresh produce for a new recipe. Start by increasing your fruit and vegetable intake. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Keep in mind portion size and use your kitchen tools that should now be easily accessible.
Now that you are on a roll, why stop there! Spring is the time to ramp your exercise level up a notch. Try adding a few more steps to your day. Take the stairs, park a little further from your office or the grocery store, or take a walk around the building at lunchtime. You will slowly notice that you have more energy and feel better.
Even though the days are getting longer, don’t forget the evenings. Create a bedtime ritual, lower the bedroom temperature, maybe try some aromatherapy, drink an herbal tea (chamomile, lavender, mint...), meditate, listen to calming music, take a warm shower/bath or read a good book to relax and unwind.
If you want to give meditation a try but don’t want to pay for it, try a mobile app on your phone, like Insight Timer. The app offers many guided mediations for free; I personally like Kenneth Soares.
Buy a plant for your bedroom, not only will it be a nice decoration, but it can also help you sleep better.
Happy spring cleaning! And don’t forget to have fun.
For more information, a personalized health, wellness and mindfulness plan or other help, contact Lebeau Concept:
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