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Spring Cleaning? More Like Seasonal Cleaning!

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By Cassie Castro

I believe that your physical environment reflects your internal headspace, and for that reason, I enjoy seasonal cleaning… not just Spring cleaning! I have tons of cleaning and organizational rituals – daily activities like making sure my bed is made before I leave for the day, weekly tasks like vacuuming and washing sheets, and monthly goals like deep cleaning the bathroom. I find cleaning and organizing to be very therapeutic and calming.

I look forward to all of my cleaning rituals, but I get excited about seasonal cleaning the most. This is the time when I systematically tackle each room of the house, inventory what’s inside, and purge to give away for donations! I endeavor to live minimally (but I sometimes get lost in the chaos of retail therapy and trending Amazon life hacks). Here are my favorite seasonal cleaning guidelines:

  • Work in one room at a time, targeting one space of the room at a time. For example, if you’re planning to start in your bedroom, start with one section of the dresser before moving on to the next. The last thing you want to do is start going through and inventorying too many things that you feel overwhelmed and give up!
  • Take everything out of their designated storage spaces. Create three piles: keep, throw away, and donate (and if you wanted, a sell or repair pile, too).
  • How do you determine which item goes in which pile? As Marie Kondo, the famous organizing consultant, suggests, if it sparks joy, keep it! If you haven’t used it this season or last season, check for quality to donate or throw away. If you’re holding onto it because of its monetary value, look to sell or regift it.
  • If you’re having trouble letting go of something sentimental, take a picture of it and then let it go.
  • Set a goal for what you want to accomplish each day… Keep chipping away at it!
  • Put on your favorite playlist and have your friends or partner participate by helping.

Now that you’ve minimized the clutter in your space, you can reorganize your belongings and move on to phase two: deep cleaning! This means that it’s time to break out the cleaning supplies, dusting and polishing tools, and the vacuum. More on that for my next blog!

Erica MechlinskiSpring Cleaning? More Like Seasonal Cleaning!

You Have One Week for Your Creative Idea!

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By Julia Simak

It’s Spring Break! Your friends may be off eating pasta in Italy or tanning on a beach in Florida, but your family decides to take this time to catch up on life and have everyone pursue their most creative passion. Too much time has passed since you last sat down with your thoughts and dipped into your creative hobbies. It has just not been  the right time… well, the right time may be now! With a plan in place, you can embark on a journey of pursuing a craft that you’ve always wanted to do. Whether you’re interested in learning how to knit, bake a three-layer cake, or learn French, keep reading to learn the most efficient way to plan your Spring Break!

Step 1: Brainstorm
Spend some time getting inspired! Although you only have a week, any long-term plan needs a place to start. Whether you go for a nature walk, explore the nearest city, or go down a YouTube rabbit hole, make a list of anything you find that catches your eye. Don’t limit yourself – even if skateboarding looks difficult, add it to your list if you’re legitimately interested in it. Also, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to become an expert with your chosen creative pursuit in the course of a week; maybe Spring Break is spent solely on identifying potential options and then creating a shortlist. It’s up to you to decide!

Step 2: Get Organized
Lists, lists, lists… and make a list of your lists! Everything can and should be organized in a … you guessed it… list. There are many variables to consider when beginning a new hobby. For example, what research do you need to do before starting? What materials do you need? Where can you acquire them? Where is the best place to work? Who do you need to contact? The list goes on. Once these questions are answered and the lists are filled with valuable information, you can move to the next step.

Step 3: Time Management
You have one week. Seven days to fulfill your lifelong dream of crocheting life-sized frogs. Take out a weekly calendar and start planning! Here is an example:

Your weekly plan can and should change depending on the goals that you’ve set for yourself. For example, if you didn’t have time to buy yarn on Monday because there was a huge storm, you can shift your plan around so that you can go to the store on Tuesday. As you’re tackling each step, remember to have fun!

What creative endeavor will you pursue this Spring Break?

Erica MechlinskiYou Have One Week for Your Creative Idea!

Valentine’s Day Preparations

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By Madeline Albertine

When I hear someone mention “February,” I immediately think of Valentine’s Day and how this holiday can mean a lot of different things for people. When I think back on my childhood, Valentine’s Day often meant classroom parties at school. We got to show up with personally decorated boxes and pass out cards and candy to all of our classmates. I loved taking ownership over creating my box and selecting what goodies to pass out during the big day. Valentine’s Day is the perfect way to engage students in planning fun activities, whether it be for a school party or a fun family celebration!

In order to get your children involved in the holiday, talk over plans for the day: Do they need to bring candy to school? Are all families chipping in $5 for a pizza party (with the pie shaped like a heart, of course)? Can you prepare for a dinner together as a family? Whatever it may be, this can be a great opportunity to practice executive functioning skills!

For school
Involve your children in the process of creating a Valentine’s Day box, selecting cards to pass out to classmates, and choosing the best candy to hand out. Whether you have them write out a list of supplies that they need to creatively put materials together from scratch or simply take them to the store with you to choose their own materials, help them take ownership over this activity! They can also make a list of their classmates, along with something that they truly enjoy (think soccer, whales, rock music), so that each card can be super personal. Below are some great inspirational boxes that remind me of what I did when I was in school. Use this as an opportunity to spend time with your children and be as creative as you want!

For home
Does your children’s school not celebrate Valentine’s Day? That’s okay! My family always used the day as an opportunity to show our love and appreciation for one another. My dad often got us candy, my mom created cards for each of us, and my siblings and I got to pick what we ate for dinner. This is a great way to involve the whole family in a day of planning to have a special evening together. Challenge your children to make personalized cards for each member of the family; see if they can make cute puns about dad’s love for golfing, mom’s love of tennis, or a sibling’s love of Minecraft. Finish the activities by encouraging the kids to take charge of baking a special dessert for dinner.

Make this Valentine’s Day one to remember by working together. Create lists of supplies needed to celebrate in the way that you choose. Then, once supplies are gathered, sit around the table and enjoy creating crafts or eating a delicious dessert together. After all, Valentine’s Day is all about showing those you love that you care!

Box Ideas