Top Five Spring Cleaning Essentials [roundup]

SPRING CLEANING ESSENTIALS

I know the snow isn’t gone for everyone but it is for me (although I’m still waiting for the sunny days) and as a result I’m feeling the itch to get my spring cleaning on and bin the purge. But I know I can’t do it all. To avoid overwhelm and failure, this year I’m keeping things streamlined and simple. Here are my spring cleaning essentials for the busy person who has better things to do but still really really really wants to spring clean.

Top Five Spring Cleaning Essentials

  1. Make a plan
  2. I love this spring cleaning planner from Living Well Spending Less. Not only does it force you to clarify your “why” and break down your cleaning plan into manageable steps, but it gives you space to write your top five spring cleaning goals. I love it! And even better, it’s a free download for a limited time.

  3. Make your own cleaners
  4. Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be expensive. If you download the spring cleaning planner jump to page 13 for a bunch of DIY cleaner recipes. Of course my favourite is my DIY Shower Cleaner followed by my DIY Window Cleaner.

  5. Purge your closet and create a capsule wardrobe
  6. I’ll admit, this is the one I haven’t quite completed. I do quarterly “wear everything in my closet and get rid of everything I won’t/can’t wear” events but haven’t been able to pare down my wardrobe to a capsule-size…yet. But it’s a goal. One I’m circling. I love this how-to guide from The Urban Umbrella although if you’re just looking for a cheat sheet, this is a good one.

  7. Sell your extra stuff
  8. I love this tip from Side Hustle Nation. Embrace the purge, then sell it. Just because you’re not using an item doesn’t mean it’s not valuable or usable. In fact, it may be just what another person is searching for. Why not make a few bucks off your spring cleaning? I don’t know about you but it sure motivates me!

  9. Spring clean your email
  10. No kidding! Just because you don’t trip over your virtual files doesn’t mean they don’t overwhelm you. I remember a time when 600 emails in my inbox was normal. What!? Too many! These Email Inbox Management Tips from Fizzle were just what I needed to take my overflowing inbox by the horns and get it down to zero. True story. I got my inbox to zero and every Friday I spend a few minutes getting it back down to something reasonable. And I can’t tell you how amazing it feels.

Alright! These are my spring cleaning essentials—I hope you find some inspiration from this list or at least the courage to tackle one pile of junk this season. Oh, and I hope you’ll get unburied from the snow soon.

Easy DIY Garden Signs for the Non-Artistic [tutorial]

DIY Garden Signs

DIY Garden Signs

Here’s a quick and dirty tutorial for easy DIY garden signs even when you have zero artistic skills. I know because I did it.

What you need

  • Reclaimed wood (pallet, bed frame, etc.) upcycled into a sign-like form
  • Sandpaper
  • Sponge/paint brushes (various sizes)
  • Acrylic craft paint
  • Containers for water/paint (Solo cups will do)
  • Stencils or craft letters
  • Mod Podge or glue that dries clear
  • Sealer/finish spray/wax

Please Grow

What you do

  • Using staples, nails, etc. create sign-like shapes from old pallets or bed frames
  • Once you’re happy with your sign shapes, sand, sand, sand. Serious here—if there’s any kind of finish on the wood the paint won’t absorb. If you’re going for the distressed/weathered look (pre-actual weathering) sand extra! In fact, sand extra anyway. You’re welcome
  • Paint your pallet sign however you want. If you’re going for the washed-out look mix paint with a bit of water in a separate container and wash over wood with a sponge brush. This is an easy process and dries fast. Allow paint to dry before adding layers
  • Once your undercoat is dry, stencil letters/images with a pencil and paint in as desired. If you have zero artistic skill like me then glue craft letters to your sign using a clear-drying glue. Allow to dry again
  • Add any further embellishments and allow to dry
  • Seal using finish spray or clear wax and allow to dry

It’s a straightforward craft but adds so much character to your garden. In my case, future garden. I don’t have a lot of experience with vegetables so I thought I should go the route of encouraging my seeds along plus reminders (#pleasegrow #intaflowers #lettuceeat #wtf (water the flowers)). That said I’m also planning a sign saying “I didn’t plant this” because I’m quite certain I will grow many mystery plants. It’s just how things go for me.

DIY Garden Signs tutorial

I still have some finishing touches to put on my signs but this is the general idea if you’re looking for a fun project on a cold winter’s night. Watch my Instagram for the finished products in all their glory. Or however they turn out.

How to Change Your Cabin Air Filter [tutorial]

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FRAMFresh #CollectiveBias

HOW TO CHANGE YOUR CABIN AIR FILTER TUTORIAL

Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: I love DIY but I am not a DIY car person. In fact, my current vehicle has only ever visited the dealership for work. I know what it sounds like.

In fact, it’s because I know what it sounds (and looks, and is) like I decided to do the unthinkable: change my own cabin air filter and engine air filter.

The difference between a cabin air filter and an engine air filter is one filters air in your vehicle’s interior and one filters air in your vehicle’s engine. The engine air filter is straightforward so I’ll skip to the cabin air filter change.

How to change your cabin air filter (because if I can do it, I am quite certain you can too)

What you’ll need:

  • Cabin air filter (you’ll have to check the book for your vehicle’s make and model to get the correct sized/shaped filter)
  • Screwdriver
  • Flashlight
  • The guts to remove your glove box

That’s it! Wondering if your vehicle even has a cabin air filter? If it was built after the year 2000 you have an 80 per cent change of having one installed. Again, check the book to be sure. When I purchased my FRAM Fresh Breeze Cabin Air Filter and FRAM Extra Guard Air Filter I checked the book at Canadian Tire for my exact make, model, and year so I knew I was getting the right products.

FRAM CABIN AIR FILTER TUTORIAL

The box instructions say this change can take you 15 minutes but for me it was longer. The filter case is snapped in tight and because you’re up under the glove box there are other thingies in the way. Here, perseverance plus my pink utility tool were the keys. I worked away at the top of the filter until it was far enough out for me to grab it. Except for that, the entire process was a breeze.

I was curious when the last time my cabin air filter was changed so I looked through my past receipts. You know, I don’t think it has ever been changed! I see my engine air filter having two changes (yay!) but nothing for the cabin air filter (boo).

FRAM Engine Air Filter

Changing the engine air filter is straightforward because it’s easy to get to. And bonus, my vehicle’s filter only has a lid to snap off, no finicky screws or tight jammed-up spaces. I expected a bit more trouble here but it took less than five minutes once I got started.

The most time consuming part? Figuring out how the heck to open my hood and find the thingy to make it stay up.

Here’s a few reasons why you should think about changing your air filter.

  • Air filters act as your vehicle’s first line of defense
  • Air filters block dust, allergens, and dirt
  • Dirty air filters restrict airflow, which can affect your vehicle’s overall performance

This was an awesome challenge and I pass the torch to you. Need inspiration? See other #FRAMFresh stories and find additional tips for changing your cabin air filter.

DIY Black Tea Window Cleaner

DIY Black Tea Window Cleaner

DIY Black Tea Window Cleaner

A few weeks ago my husband and I were at a home renovation trade show where we signed up for a free air purifier. Free with an in-home demonstration of a premium air purification system of course.

Well the demonstration happened and we sat through the entire presentation in order to receive the promised air purifier. It was a long night. While waiting for our free gift I managed to learn a little something about cleaning products. For example, we spend a lot of money on cleaning products and many of them contain scary chemicals.

I guess I knew this before, but when the opportunity came to try out a DIY window cleaner from black tea of all things, I was educated, primed, and all in.

The kind people at Choice Tea sent me a variety of black teas in order to conduct my experiment and they were delicious. English Breakfast, Wild Forest Black, Classic Black. Yum. They’re organic, fair trade, GMO free, and of course gluten free. So silky. So tasty.

I didn’t want to make cleaner out of the tea, I wanted it all in my mouth.

But I had to know: will black tea really clean my windows?

DIY Black Tea Window Cleaner

DIY Black Tea Window Cleaner Instructions

As far as DIY cleaners go, this one is on the easy side.

DIY Black Tea Window Cleaner

What you need

  • Empty spray bottle
  • 3 bags of black tea
  • 1 cup of water

What you do

  • Steep 3 tea bags in 1 cup of water and let cool
  • Pour brewed tea into spray bottle
  • Spray on glass and wipe with paper towel or cloth

I tried it out on my glass coffee table and, you know what? My table smells like tea. Also, it’s super see-through.

Later in the day I brought my husband by the table to check it out. We took some time sniff-testing it and I decided I prefer it to smelling like chemicals or looking streaky when I only clean it with water.

This was fun, and I’ve Pinned 18 ways to use black tea so if I can hold back from drinking this deliciousness then I will have some black tea fun this summer.

And great news, Choice is available in Canada! Use this handy store locator to find your closest distributor.

A Writer’s Bucket List [Review]

A Writer's Bucket List

A Writer’s Bucket List by Dana Sitar

Although I’ve never seen the movie I know bucket lists inside and out. I love lists, I feel victorious whenever I can check something off—completed! So when I saw the title of Dana Sitar’s new book A Writer’s Bucket List (and the subtitle—99 Things to do for inspiration, education, and experience before your writing kicks the bucket) I thought, “She’s speaking my language!”

And then I wondered how many “things” I could check off the list before I got to 99.

If you’re stuck in your writing in any way, this book addresses it. Stuck for word? There are writing prompts. Lacking story ideas? Sitar suggests activities to find inspiration. Can’t figure out where to show your work? There’s an entire section on building a network. I think these tips are especially handy when you’re in a writing rut, following the same formula for everything you write. It inspires you to try something new, shake things up a bit.

Because the truth is, you will never stop becoming a better writer. I love Sitar’s challenge to discover, through trying everything, exactly what kind of writer you are.

At first I resisted the challenge—I even wrote the author saying something like “Hey, these tips aren’t deep enough; they force the reader to do all the work!” But after some reflection I have changed my position.

Page nine of A Writer’s Bucket List contains the premise and ultimate goal of this project. “The Bucket List challenges you and strengthens your creativity, encourages you to forge your own path, find your own education, and discover what type of writing life that’s Just Right for you.”

I realized if this book was a step-by-step guide to writing we’d all just become little Sitar’s. Because it doesn’t hold our hand (but instead pushes us off the cliff) we are equipped with the tools to become the best writers we can be, on our own terms.

Oh, and I have 20 to go before I can finish this bucket list.

If you’re looking for writing inspiration you’ll love this book. And when you purchase A Writer’s Bucket List you’ll take home a bunch of bonus freebies like workbooks and exercises.

Happy writing!