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.

Surprisingly, These Are My Top Five Apps

Of course I use a lot of apps, as most people with a smartphone do. Because you have to use apps to use your smartphone.

But when I began thinking about the apps I use the most, like every day, I realized I use some more than I thought I did.

Top Five Apps I Used in 2012

IMDB

I know, right? Exactly WHAT am I doing using this app every single day? Through some serious reflection I came to the understanding that I talk about arts and entertainment constantly. I like knowing trivia, following the careers of certain entertainers (ones I like and ones I’m amused by mostly), and answering the question “Where do I know this actor from?”

What I’m still trying to figure out is if this is a seriously bad habit, an uncontrolled addiction, or an interest I’ve been ignoring.

Instagram

It’s funny because I don’t actually use this app much, maybe once a week. However, I scroll through the posted photos two, three times a day. It’s probably the layout, so phone-friendly. I actually prefer other photo services to Instagram but they don’t have as good apps.

So…thanks everyone I follow for posting such interesting and addictive photos to keep me coming back!

Words With Friends

To those who have followed this blog for a while, it should be no surprise I’m crazy about Scrabble. However, it should also be no surprise I’m not a fan of the actual Scrabble game because of the “Scrabulous incident” a few years back. Turned my stomach.

WWF is a really great second—it’s interactive and of course it helps that everyone I know plays it so there are always loads of games on the go.

Dropbox

I started using Dropbox a couple years ago for work…and it kind of snowballed from there. Everything is integrated with Dropbox. Everything. OK, not everything, but a lot. I know cloud-based systems are all over the place now, so why stick with the old guy on the block, but I haven’t adapted to any other system as quickly as this one. I love that I can go from my work computer to my phone, to my home computer, to my tablet, and back again.

I especially love not having to remember external hard drives or thumb drives anymore. And emailing myself documents? Pft. That’s so 2011.

Facebook

This app is the one I’m least enthusiastic about including in my Top Five. Because it hardly ever works anymore and I resent how much I rely on Facebook to keep up with my friends.

My goal for 2013 is to replace this app in my Top Five with something more important, like Podcasts, or my Calendar (those are both in my Top Ten).

Other apps in the up-and-coming category? Here’s the shortlist:

  • Songza (recent discovery, haven’t given it enough time yet)
  • Cineplex (love it, quite handy)
  • Run Keeper (if it’s going to make the Top Five, I’m going to have to get running more!)
  • Netflix (what can I say, I’m a loyal convert)
  • Hootsuite (ask me more, love this service)
  • Scramble (My resolution for 2013 is to finally BEAT my sister-in-law at this game ONCE!)

And now is my official plea for your app recommendations. I’m always looking and welcome your suggestions! Happy New Year!

Finding Excitement in the Every Day

Ever since I acknowledged my severe lack of note-taking of late I’ve really been trying to do better.

Finding Excitement in the Every Day

And I have been. I keep a notepad by my computer (with a pen) and whenever I have a thought I write it down on my “blogs to write” list.

And yet, I come to take a look at it when “it’s time” and I think man these ideas suck.

Mostly I guess it’s because there’s nothing much happening in my life. I mean, there’s the usual but it’s so…every day.

Perhaps my goal should be to find interesting stories in the dailyness of life. Because finding stories in new and exciting places is so easy.

Finding good stories when life is boring is…well now that’s a challenge!

Fall Lineup Five (The Conclusion)

Well, it’s official. All of the shows from my Fall Lineup Five seem to be coming back for another season.

Wahoo!

I was a bit worried there for a while, and still NBC is the only network to officially announce their schedule so far (in which Community DID make the list), but in reading around the Interweb it seems the TV reviewers/junkies out there are quite confident the rest of my Top Five will be returning.

So that’s good news.

This is the first time I can recall where I made a guess of shows that I might like before I’d seen them. A bit unlike me, but also a fun test. Not sure if I’ll do it again next year though. It was quite stressful rooting for all these shows, hoping they’d make it based on no more than my hopes for their story lines.

Yes, quite stressful.

Ahh, who am I kidding. See you next fall TV schedule!

My Beef With Bullet Points

Top Five

Don’t get me wrong, if you know anything about this blog, you know I love a good list.

However, I’ve noticed a trend in the blogging world. Bloggers are straying from ye olde paragraph (or even complete sentence) in favour of…bullet points.

I complained about this on Twitter once, to which I received an immediate response from a blogger simply saying (I don’t know the tone but I’m going to go with a bit defensive) it’s because no one reads blogs anymore. They scan.

Fair enough. I scan most blogs, it’s true. However. If it’s excellent writing, I stick around and read. So please for the love of God write complete sentences. And paragraphs.

Actually, though, lists are an excellent tool and knowing how to use them properly is a great skill. But this little blogging trend to use bullets instead of paragraphs is not actually utilizing the list function of said bullet points. It’s merely demonstrating laziness.

For, what I’m noticing is rambling points, which could have easily been turned into paragraphs but weren’t cause, you know, “I’m busy.”

We’re all busy.

Unless you’re writing a list, write your paragraphs and don’t shortchange your readers.

And if you want a quick rundown on how to format a list properly, go to Grammar Girl. She’s the best.