#138 Clean Out Your Pantry

This is one of those tasks that often sounds more time consuming than it really is and your feelings of satisfaction will flood your senses …

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#138

Clean out your pantry.

You may or may not have an official ‘pantry’ yet it is likely that you have a cupboard in your kitchen that is a ‘catch all’ – a place to stash those arbitrary ingredients that you rarely use. When was the last time you dug through there and got rid of the old stuff? I’m occasionally embarrassed by how long I’ve kept a can of water chestnuts or a packet of gravy mix that I picked up for a recipe or overbought.

First Things First

It’s a good idea to pull everything out to clearly see what’s what. Experts suggest we attempt this task at least once a year. It makes sense to do it now – before the holidays when we are apt to buy more groceries and may need the extra room.

Check Expiration Dates

Take stock in the items you have that may be on the verge of expiring. Expiration dates on food are conservative as required by the FDA and my family is hard evidence for the fact that people can eat food after it’s expiration date and live to tell about it (some foods are a hard no to this). Anything that has a close expiration date  can be incorporated into your meal planning over the next couple of weeks. Pasta stays good for a couple of years when it’s stored in a cool dry space, for example.

Organize It

This is a good time to see if you’ve run out of anything that you like to keep in stock. I generally have an extra bottle of ketchup or chili makings for a quick and easy way to feed a few if the kids pop in for dinner. Make a grocery list for those items that you need to stock or replace.

Next, group things in a way that makes sense to your lifestyle. I tend to organize my pantry the way my favorite grocery store is lined up; baking items on one shelf, cereal and grains on another.

Put it Back

Before you return things, make sure to wipe down the shelves and vacuum up crumbs and dust. Some people tout the use of shelf liner, making clean up really easy from  year to year.

As you return food back to the pantry, be sure to check that is securely packaged. You don’t want an open bag of rice to suddenly spill and spoil your efforts. For those items that are better in airtight containers, consider Ziplock bags or containers that lock in freshness.

There are thousands of ideas on Pinterest for pantry storage with many of the suggestions using free or low cost items to keep things neat and tidy. It’s easy to get inspired.

This is one of those tasks that often sounds more time consuming than it really is and your feelings of satisfaction will flood your senses each time you open the pantry door once you make the time to…

Clean out your pantry.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#163 Clean Your Lampshades

Allowing too much dust to accumulate invites the critter ‘dust mite’ into your life.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#163

Clean your lampshades

While this may seem like an odd suggestion in terms of creating a ‘happier, healthier, and more productive life”… it does fit into the ‘healthier’ category. Lampshades are a significant culprit for holding dust. Have you looked at yours lately?

And the problem is…

Accumulated dust can be problematic for a lot of us, in particular, those who suffer from asthma. Think of how much dust is wiped away with a weekly furniture dusting. If you don’t dust your lampshades equally, the layers build and contribute to pollutants in the air of your home. For the purpose of this article, a lampshade can reference any light cover so it includes the ‘globes’ that adorn many hanging light fixtures. They are all rather invisible as we routinely move a dust rag through the house.

The Tools

I prefer to vacuum mine… when I get the gadgets out to do baseboards, I’m usually in the frame of mind to get the dust creatures lurking in random spaces so the lampshades (who are major culprits of hiding those buggers) – get a good vacuuming with the brush gadget. A microfiber towel lightly sprayed with dust spray or slightly damp will also work as does a good, old-fashioned sticky lint roller. Organization and cleaning experts suggest filling the tub and washing anything that can tolerate water. (A tub is large and can easily accommodate larger shades.)

Dust particles exist everywhere in our environment and while there are some ways that we can reduce their presence, they’ll never completely disappear simply because living things release their dead cells constantly. Clean air filters on your HVAC system will help, air purifiers trap more, and frequent vacuuming and dusting support the efforts.

Little Buggers

Allowing too much dust to accumulate invites the critter ‘dust mite’ into your life. Many people are very allergic to mites and experience consistent sinus and respiratory issues. Reducing dust in often ‘invisible’ areas – such as lampshades – reduces the potential nesting areas for mites; creating a better breathing environment all around.

Would your shades pass the white glove test? You may want to grab the gadget of your choice and do your lungs the favor of …

Cleaning your lampshades.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#167 Clean Out Your Car

A true cleaning means getting into the glove compartment (does anyone actually keep gloves in there?)

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#167

Clean out your car

If it’s true that a clean house is a predictor of your health and happiness then it must follow that the cleanliness of the inside of our automobile is also somewhat of a predictor… especially for those of us who spend a ton of time driving. Our mental health is more stable when our environment is stable – organization and cleanliness manifest a sense of stability no matter the location.

Top to Bottom

Reader’s Digest suggests there’s much more to cleaning the interior of our car than simply dusting and vacuuming and an order in which to do those things. To start – as in your home – you should vacuum first! But from top to bottom; starting with the dashboard, then the seats, and finally the carpet. Vacuuming creates dust so don’t wipe things down until the vacuuming is finished. When you wipe things down, don’t stop at the obvious… be sure to wipe the inside of the door – the door jam – it’s the part that everyone first sees and ultimately determines how tightly your door closes.

Nooks & Crannies

A true cleaning means getting into the glove compartment (does anyone actually keep gloves in there?), the center console, and the seat pockets. I’m lazy when it comes to those areas and when I do make the effort, I typically find little treasures that make me cringe, not to mention items I’d forgotten I had. Generally I’m a few dollars richer for the loose change that has collected there.

Taboo Items

The next step is to be sure to remove all the items that one should never keep in a car. Valuables is the obvious choice but there are other items that can be negatively affected by significant changes in temperature (heat & cold); plastic, for example. Eliminate any water bottles that have been exposed the the intense hot temperatures possible with a car sitting in the sun. Same advice goes for anything electronic; computers, cell phones, and tablets can overheat when exposed to extreme temperature, rendering them temporarily inoperable. Electronics are also frequent targets of thieves, making your car a tempting target.

Benefits

Inevitably, getting into a nice clean car that smells fresh ignites that ‘new car’ sensation – always a good feeling. Cleanliness is like a blank slate and allows your mind to focus on tasks at hand; clutter is distracting. Cleanliness helps us avoid the perils of allergens; the inside of your car is a small space so keeping the air there dust free will ultimately be beneficial. Take a look at your schedule and find some time to carve out so that you can …

Clean out your car.

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#270 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

We rarely think of them and you probably can’t see the whole of them as you look around as furniture and miscellaneous items are surely obstructing part of your view; but the’re there and if your house is like many of ours…

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#270

Wipe down your baseboards

I know, this isn’t the most glamorous or fun loving suggestion. It’s likely to conjure images of sweat and wrinkly hands and for some of us… fatigue and back pain. It’s not exactly a recipe for happiness. It is a recipe for satisfaction though and satisfaction is a major component of well-being.

Our baseboards are mostly invisible – perhaps not literally as I’m sure you can take a look right now… down toward the floor, that area that bridges the joining of wall and floor. We rarely think of them and you probably can’t see the whole of them as you look around as furniture and miscellaneous items are surely obstructing part of your view; but the’re there and if your house is like many of ours… they’re dirty – or at the very least… dusty.

Baseboards are a forgotten element for a vast number of people and they can get grungy… perhaps even enough so that the accumulated dust gets stirred up and negatively impacts the air quality in the home. Have you noticed frequent sneezing? A runny nose? Or a tickle in your throat? Grab the vacuum and a bucket of hot soapy water. You may find it more efficient to bribe (I mean hire) short young people for this task. There were years where my children thought it was a fun task because they wore big yellow gloves and rocked out to MTV – which I never let them watch otherwise!

I guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you’re sitting on the john and glance down at the sparkling clean woodwork. It may be an unpleasant task but you’ll be completely satisfied after making the decision to …

Wipe down your baseboards.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#312 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Personally, I’ve developed a comfort level with dust bunnies that may not be entirely healthy. I’m honest enough to say that I have yet to master this seemingly simple system …

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#312

Deep clean something

Some of you may already do this on a regular basis and it may contribute significantly to your level of happiness and/or good living. I do not. And yet, it definitely IS something that ends in total satisfaction and sense of accomplishment.

I have a friend who deep cleans a room in her house each month. For years, she has committed to moving through a room – top to bottom & inside, out – re-identifying the need for and usefulness of everything it contains. With an eleven-room home, she gives herself the holidays off and then starts from the beginning – giving each room another do over. Organized drawers, filed papers, freshly caulked and painted woodwork, windows, light fixtures, etc. – once a year.

Oddly enough, one of my comforting childhood memories is coming home from school and finding my mother embedded in this process. The house smelled clean, the tidiness felt safe, and I knew she was taking pride in our home – providing an environment where we could flourish.

Personally, I’ve developed a comfort level with dust bunnies that may not be entirely healthy. I’m honest enough to say that I have yet to master this seemingly simple system but I strive to make it happen and can at least attest that the gratification of having accomplished one entire room has been amazing!

Some people I’ve known only deep clean when they move from place to place, others do a Spring cleaning annually, and my good friend found solace in creating a deep clean rotation. No matter the specific procedure or the direct timing, it always feels good once you’ve…

Deep clean something.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.