Simplified Spring Cleaning

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I'm a disorganized person by nature. The biggest fights I had with my mom as a kid revolved around me "cleaning" my room by shoving things into whatever crevices I could find. The space under my bed overflowed with dirty laundry and my closet was a graveyard of old school projects, discarded snacks, and Legos. Not much has changed since then, but I make more of an effort to keep things in check so our house doesn't become overrun with cat toys and baby products. Here are three simple spring cleaning solutions I've implemented. 

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1. The Struggle: My Closet.
The Solution: I edit my closet every few months, but despite my best efforts, by the end of that time period it's filled with pieces that I rarely wear or are no longer in good condition. My main problem is that I hold onto too many "maybes" - those items I don't reach for frequently, but have a hard time getting rid of. To avoid keeping pieces I don't actually wear, I've adopted Rachel's technique: I mark all of the 'maybe' items with little pink ribbons. Anytime I reach for one of those items, I'll take off the ribbon. If, at the end of that time period, there are still ribbons, those are the things I'll finally let go. Needless to say 95% of the pieces I was on the fence about ended up getting donated. My new philosophy is this: unless I truly love something and know that I'm wearing it semi-regularly, it's gone. After such an intense purge, my closet admittedly feels a bit sparse and incomplete, but it's better than having those items take up room. The best part is that now I have a good grasp on what I own plenty of (sweatshirts, shirts, work dresses) and what's missing (casual summer dresses, skirts, and blouses). 

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2. The Struggle: The Freezer.
The Solution:
My dad is the cook of my parents' house and he somehow manages to come up with delicious (and different!) meals every night of the week. As an adult, I now realize just how hard this is, especially since G and I will resort to eggs for dinner with some frequency. But my dad let me in on a little secret recently that made me rethink our entire freezer strategy. Often times, he'll make a dish and immediately freeze half of it, so that on those nights when he comes home from work exhausted, he can thaw out a meal that's already done. It seems simple, but prior to hearing this, G and I used our freezer as more of a dumping zone. If there was a package of salmon or some chicken we'd bought that was about to go bad in the fridge, we'd throw it on in. But the problem was (besides the fact that it was never all that appealing to take out semi-old meat from the freezer) that nothing was already prepared. 

This has also solved another issue we'd face, which was what to do with all of our leftovers. We had the best of intentions to finish batches of chili or large cauldrons of soup, but the reality is, sometimes you just don't want those things for lunch and/or dinner, five days in a row from the fridge. Since the food isn't going bad, you don't have to eat the same meal consecutively. So now we follow my dad's technique and have our freezer filled with meals we've already made that are clearly labeled and in pre-portioned serving sizes for two. While this last step isn't exactly necessary (large plastic bags will totally work - especially if you suck the air out of them first), we bought a vacuum sealer. It ensures everything stays as fresh as possible and also helps things take up even less room when laid on their side. 

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3. The Struggle: My Bathroom
The Solution:
I own a lot of beauty products. When I was young, most of my babysitting money went towards my impressive collection of Bonne Bell Lip Smackers, so it's safe to say that not much has changed. But I've essentially graduated from an overstuffed Caboodle to a bathroom that's filled with beauty products. Up until recently, I kept a tray out on the counter with some of my favorite items. This was meant to streamline my process in the morning so that I could simply grab what I needed quickly and go. But inevitably I'd end up with doubles and triples of things as well as products I rarely used, which made getting ready that much harder. 

I've now made everything really simple. I only keep out the bare essentials of what I wear most days (that crazy fun sparkly eyeshadow doesn't need to be taking up valuable real estate). Here's what's on that tray, currently: mascara, eyebrow pencil, concealer, liquid bronzer, illuminating cream, liquid eyeliner, blush, eyelash curler, two types of tinted moisturizer (this and this), blending sponge, a pink (MAC 'Snob') and red lipstick (Bobbi Brown 'Fire'.) I only keep out the things I consistently wear and keep my multiples and other products I don't use as often (like a make-up setting spray or perhaps a bright eyeshadow) corralled together in a basket under my sink.

As for my skincare/hygiene-related items, I implement the same strategy, albeit in a different place. I have one small cabinet that used to be filled with masks, toners, and lotions that I'd use once a month, at most. Now it's similarly streamlined with the things I reach for everyday, which include: a daytime face lotion with spf, nighttime lotion, eye cream, face wash, deodorant, prescription-based antibiotic ointment (you guys, my beloved cartilage pierce is never going to heal), toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. All of my other serums and potions that I don't use daily are kept in a not-so accessible spot in a bottom drawer.

I used to think having a lot of choices each morning was more fun, but I much prefer the convenience of knowing exactly where my essentials are anytime I need them.

Do you have any simple spring cleaning solutions you swear by? Share them below!