I’ve pulled together a challenge for the month of March to tackle some physical decluttering needs that adds adds on some decluttering of items that are using up our mental energy as well. While I’m calling it a decluttering challenge, you can also think of this as start to your journey to minimalism. If minimalism isn’t your thing, consider this a spring cleaning challenge.
“Sometimes, the only way to figure out what is really important is to get rid of everything that isn’t.”
Click here or the image above to print off your own copy of the challenge.
Donni wrote a post about Spring Cleaning her life, and included a to-do list. I started writing my own list shortly after that, but never published it. So I’m back…with updates!
Ace’s Spring Cleaning To-Do List
1. Become financially secure. A wise man named Meek Mill said, “The money turned the noodles into pasta”. I’m just trying to graduate from Oodles of Noodles to Olive Garden fettuccine. Although money doesn’t buy happiness–it pays my rent, feeds my body, puts clothes on my back and allows me to type this post via Xfinity WiFi. Those things make it easier for me to sleep at night, and sleep makes me happy. You know what else makes me happy? Hazelnut coffee. How do I get hazelnut coffee? I pay for it with money. No shade to myself, but I’m super basic. I don’t care about brands or labels, and I’d rather spend money on food than clothes–so it’s not about living a luxurious lifestyle. It’s about easing my mind. Don’t let my hippie vibes fool you, because unfortunately, I’m a worrier and a planner, which is why my list is beginning with making more money. [Update: I’ve been on a few interviews and will start a new job with real co-workers next week!]
2. Reduce my anxiety with daily meditation. I just finished Oprah and Deepak’s “Manifesting True Success” 3 week meditation challenge. If you haven’t tried meditating, I STRONGLY suggest it. You’ll be surprised how helpful 20 minutes of quiet time can be. That’s right, 20 minutes of silence with your thoughts. My goal is to mediate before my morning coffee and right before bed.
3. Make healthier choices. Is it best for me to eat PB & J sandwiches and Ramen all the time? NO. Can I afford fresh vegetables, fancy ass chicken and gluten-free water (I probably made that up) everyday? NO. On top of that, I have a crazy sweet tooth, and I rarely ever have just one alcoholic beverage–so I’m going to start slow with changing those things. I won’t buy Sour Patch Kids every time I go to the store, and I….ok, I don’t have a solution for alcohol consumption yet. Work with me people. Healthy food maybe pricey, but physical activity and portion control are free–so I will try to keep that in mind. [Update: I have twerk sessions in my room on the days I don’t go for a 3 mile walk. Plus, the new gig will cause me to be on my feet and walking for at least 5 hours per shift. I’ve also been aiming to drink at least 64 oz of water everyday.]
4. Read a book. I really don’t know when I stopped reading on a regular basis. Maybe after the Accelerated Reader program ended, and I no longer got prizes for finishing Babysitter’s Club and American Girl books. Even though I don’t read as much as I should, I do admit that a good book or poem sparks my creative energy. It’s also a sweet escape from my own issues. [Update: I’m almost done with Chaka Khan’s autobiography, “Through the Fire”–an autographed copy, btw. I’m a sucker for bio-pics, so I loved being able to imagine how I think her life adventures really happened.]
5. Let people go. I do this thing where I want to keep people in my life exactly the way they entered it. It could be because I’ve lost so many loved ones, or because of my Middle Child Syndrome. It could also be because I hate feeling like I was stupid enough to not see a sad ending coming–ya know, because I’m psychic. (FYI, I also do this thing where I diagnose myself). You’ve probably heard the saying “people come into your life for a reason, season or lifetime”. Personally, I like to know right away a person’s purpose in my life, but it doesn’t work that way. My auntie (in my head) Maya Angelou said, “when people show you who they are, believe them the first time”. The signs are usually always there, but I’m a classic, stubborn Capricorn. The goal is to not think about another person’s purpose so much that it distract’s me from my own. I’ll deal with any bumps in the road when they appear–not before I even have a chance to get to them.
Inch by inch, y’all. Inch by inch.
Have you written your own Spring Cleaning To-Do List? Share it with me by commenting below!
After writing my last post, I realized that this whole spring cleaning my life thing was going to be quite an undertaking. But last weekend I got started and I am so happy with my progress. As I said, a beautiful, clean living space is inspiring and it eliminates stress. So I went to work cleaning and organizing my apartment. I started my getting rid of all the piles of mail I had thrown everywhere. I bought some cute binders and file folders from Target and saved my important papers (medical bills, tax info, etc.). Hello counter space. Next up: my bathroom.
True Life: I’m a product junkie. So there are usually bottles EVERYWHERE and make-up dust sprinkled here and there. Don’t judge me by what you’re about to see. I know… good lawd have mercy.
The first thing I did was get rid of some of the products I don’t use. I’ve been transitioning to my natural hair for about a year and honestly those products that worked wonders for my relaxed hair needed to be removed a long time ago. Bye-bye.
Next came cleaning: along with my natural hair, I’ve decided I want to use more natural products. Green clean, if you will. If for no other reason, my cute puppy licks everything (sometimes for hours on end). I would rather him ingest things that won’t seriously harm his tummy like the chemicals found in some of your everyday cleaners. After a bit of research, I discovered that vinegar is a great natural cleanser. I’m not a fan of the smell of vinegar, but learned that adding essential oils can solve that problem.
Essential Oils 101
Lavender – My mother is obsessed with lavender and now I get it. Lavender is known for its aromatic properties and ability to calm and relax the body and mind. It can also be used to relieve skin irritation and soothes cuts and burns.
Lemon – Lemon can be used to clean and disinfect surfaces and packs a double punch as an incredibly uplifting and energizing scent for body and mind.
Tea Tree – Anything that needs disinfecting or cleaning can benefit from tea tree oil. I also love it because it’s great for my hair. It not only moisturizes the hair and scalp, but promotes hair growth. I love a good two-for-one.
There are lots of other great essential oils that you may prefer (I would suggest looking into: orange and peppermint.) However, for my kitchen and bathroom, I choose lemon and tea tree oil. And for my general all-purpose cleaner, I went with lavender.
You can download or save this cute little printable for reference.
Organizing: Even after the purge, I realized I had a lot of stuff on my counter. I decided that if displayed differently all of my products wouldn’t look as cluttered. I got an affordable acrylic case to hold some of my makeup and made a jewelry/ odds and end stand out of a few cheap melamine plates and candlesticks from the Dollar Tree (DIY tutorial coming soon). So here are my results:
Vast improvement, right? I’m taking this easy to make solution from room to room and loving the results (and the purge). I’m tackling the kitchen and my closets next. Wish me luck! Below you can find the oils and some of the other products I mentioned to start your own spring cleaning.
Do you have any natural cleaning tips/tricks? I’d love to hear them. If you end up making any of the cleaning solutions let me know.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin
If you’ve read Donni’s latest post: Spring Cleaning My Life, you’ve seen how The Palmetto Peaches are embracing the Spring! On her Spring Cleaning To-Do List, Donni mentioned adding a little more happiness into her life. I’m tackling this by spending time with my nephews. Some of you may already know, but most of my G-Rated stories revolve around those fools, which is why having them in Atlanta for Spring Break is adding to my “happy” (even when they’re getting on my nerves). My squad’s ages are 3, 8 and 12–so you can imagine what my days are like: loud, adventurous and a little stank.
Yesterday we went to the Atlanta Fair. It was my first time going to a fair in 10 years! I first lost interest after realizing it was a “couples” thing, and again after some kid fell out of a roller-coaster in Columbia my freshman year of college. Despite all that, I was low-key excited to enjoy the amazing Atlanta weather aka try deep fried Oreos.
The 8-year-old got me to ride the Cliff Hanger: a ride imitating hang gliding. I managed to keep it together as he screamed the entire ride. I’ll admit I was a little freaked out, yet strangely inspired. Being able to stare into the sky (while wiping the drool from my mouth) was a little relaxing. I didn’t think about my overwhelming to-do list or sad bank account. My only mission was to take in the scenery, and laugh at the hilarious commentary. After that, we were tricked into playing about 5 games–all for the love of Ninja Turtles. About $20 and a few curse words later, we got that damn purple turtle.
Out of all the little adventures throughout the day, my favorite was being able to put my phone away and leave my computer alone for 6 hours. SIX HOURS Y’ALL! I used to take pride in getting bored easily. A little birdie told me everyday is different when you’re a publicist. I was all like, “Public relations is for me, because it’s more than sitting at a desk.” Long behold, that’s what I’ve been doing lately: sitting on the couch or floor with a hot MacBook in my lap. When I first began freelancing, I dubbed myself as #FUNemployed (meaning I could work from the beach, coffee shop or at happy hour). So, I’m adding it to my Spring Cleaning To-Do List to be #FUNemployed again. The Palmetto Peaches plan on taking this “Spring Cleaning My Life” to a-whole-nother level–so you’ll be reading my full list soon. The last few days with the boys have been a sketchy, local fair, roller-coaster ride. Even though my routine is all out of whack, it’s a great reminder of why living my purpose is so necessary. I want them to have plenty of “Remember when Auntie did this?” stories. However, I bought (and drank) two mini bottles of wine at 4:00pm today. It was much needed and deserved. And now I’m off to make Easter baskets. No worries–I have two more mini bottles left. Do you have any (kid friendly) Spring Break plans?
The first day of spring was March 20. This season change is synonymous with spring cleaning. However, spring cleaning isn’t just for your closets. I read somewhere that spring is the perfect time to recreate ourselves and blossom into the potential we envision for our lives. That’s pretty powerful. I know most people make their resolutions for the year in January, but I have decided that this spring I’m going to clean myself up – renew my mind and soul.
Spring Cleaning To-Do List
To declutter is to de-stress. I know that this post is supposed to be about spring cleaning life, but traditional spring cleaning is important as well. A beautiful, clean living space is inspiring and it eliminates stress. I’ve looked up some natural DIY cleaning products that I’m making and I’m going to thoroughly clean my apartment, top to bottom. I’ve decided to feng shui my living space by my rearranging my living room and changing up the color scheme. I’ve also planned out a gallery wall with inspiring pictures. I want the space I live in to energize me and stimulate my creativity. I also plan to go through all of my clothes and give away everything that doesn’t fit.
Getting rid of clothes. Here’s what I think: clothes are unfortunately tied to self-esteem. There’s nothing wrong with holding on to a pair of jeans you want to fit in again, but realistically you have to ask yourself why you’re holding on to items that you can’t wear. For example, I have a few bodycon dresses I used to wear out to Five Points back in undergrad. When I put them on now there are dimples in places that were not visible previously. Why am I holding on to them? I am not as small as I was four years ago. Also, I’m pretty sure I’m almost to the point where bodycon dresses are not an acceptable outfit to go out in. I’m declaring to myself right now as I type, that I’m ok with not ever being 110 pounds again. I don’t need to be! My weight does not correlate with happiness or self-confidence. My only concern should be is becoming healthier.
Being a healthier me. No, I’m not going on a diet. Would I like to lose a few pounds? Sure. I went from dancing every day for a minimum of three hours a day in high school, to being a very active college and graduate student – taking dance classes and walking to classes on humongous campuses in famously hot weather. I could eat whatever I wanted and I would dance/walk it off. Now I sit at a desk for 60+ hours a week and my choice to go to Wendy’s and McDonald’s for lunch just sits in my thighs. So I’ve decided to make healthier decisions when it comes to food. Will I still eat a few slices of Dominoes’ pizza… absolutely. However, if you’ve been following me on Instagram (do it, you know you want to), you’ve seen I’ve ventured into the world of meal prepping. I’m picking some delicious yet healthy options to eat during the week. Meal prepping helps me avoid those lunch time trips to Burger King. I’ve also vowed to experiment with foods I’ve never tasted, try new recipes, and to drink more water. Did you know eating healthy foods can actually improve our happiness.
Being a happier me. I’m by no means, unhappy. I think sometimes I just let myself get overwhelmed with work or this vision I had of my career. In my head, I thought I would go get my master’s degree and immediately start working at a PR firm where I would travel across the country dazzling clients with amazing strategic plans. FYI: My other dream was to be a script writer for a soap opera. Hence, my lofty post-graduation dream. Reality: I’m a slightly underpaid media relations specialist, who spends her day chained to a desk, looking out of the window across the hall. I am doing some amazing work on important health issues and there are days that are so fulfilling. Then someone posts a picture on Instagram of their weekly jet set to our nation’s capital and subsequent flight to LA with the hashtag #worklife. Commence the eye-rollling. As Ace mentioned in her last post (Food for Thought), we attended a lunch and learn with some inspiring speakers. One of my main takeaways: Do not to judge yourself on the accomplishments of others. I needed to hear that. Why am I looking at someone else’s career journey as a path for my own? I may not be where I thought I would be, but I’m in a great place. I’m a 25-year- old with a master’s degree. I had multiple job offers out of both undergrad and graduate school. My current employer is giving me opportunities to grow and take on additional responsibilities. Very soon, I’ll be taking classes for a new certificate in social media and my company is paying for my tuition. Outside of work, I have so much to be happy about and thankful for: I have an amazing, supportive family, weirdly awesome friends, a roof over my head, a full pantry, a super cute puppy, and good health. That’s a good life.
Dust off my talents. One of my friends tagged me in this picture last week and it could not have come at a better time. This is sooo true. I may not always be a ballerina, but I’ll always be a dancer. I’m going to be honest with myself. My schedule is crazy and it’s just not possible for me to take three dance classes a week to get me back to the point where I used to be. Not unless one of you fabulous readers have discovered a way to add a few hours in the day. However, I am going to make time to immerse myself in dance. I will try to take a few classes regularly and I am going to start seeing some of the productions of the amazing dance companies here in Atlanta. Dance has always made me feel better. No matter what kind of horrible day I had, some good choreography could erase it all. It’s time to freshen up my tap shoes and use some syncopated beats to put a smile on my face.
Straighten my finances. If only I could tell 18-year-old Donni to step away from the credit card application. On top of credit cards and student loans, I’m vowing to get rid of lifestyle clutter. Every month, I sit down and make a budget. I actually stick to it, but I have some items I can trim down. I’m talking to you Starbucks. Y’all I actually budget $30 a month for Starbucks. That’s $360 a year for coffee. That’s money I could add to my savings or invest. Moving forward, I will assess some areas that I can cut down and come up with a plan to be debt free.
Clean-up my relationships. I think this one is pretty much complete. However, I added it because in general I think it can’t hurt to be reminded of the importance of ridding ourselves of any toxic relationships in our lives. Clean house on those “friends” that bring you down. I have had let go of a few people that I thought I would be friends with until I was old and gray because of the negativity they brought into my life. I’ve also had to learn to let go of old relationships. It didn’t work for a reason. Y’all the annual happy birthday text or Instagram like isn’t worth the drama.
As I work on my to-do list, I’ll share my progress and any tips I think might be beneficial for others. Also, I’d love to hear some of the ways you want to spring clean your life.