SLT 026: Spring Cleaning Your Home, Life & Tech
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Spring Cleaning Your Home, Life & Tech

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Vanessa Topic: Spring Cleaning Your Home and Life

Spring cleaning is all about de-cluttering, deep cleaning, and prepping for the summer!  

  • ceiling and floor vents
  • ceiling fans and baseboards
  • gutters
  • washing the windows and window sills
  • clearing out and wiping down the inside of drawers
  • de-funkifying the inside of your oven and degreasing the stove vents
  • sweeping and moping under appliances, couches, beds, etc.
  • decalcifying your water fixtures

Spring cleaning can also include other things like:

I also like to include a little  planning and prepping for summer and fall:

Sounds like a lot of stuff right? Your Spring Cleaning List is manageable if you keep these things in mind:

  • You don’t have to do it all at once! You can do a little bit at a time everyday

  • First: Identifying ALL TASKS you need or would like to do in priority order

  • Second: Assign a reasonable amount of time to complete each task

  • And finally….make a date and don’t break it!!!  That means schedule it on your calendar.   Remember…A TO DO item is actionless unless you attach a date to it!

  • Book your priority tasks first.  Save big tasks for days that you have more time to dedicate to them.  Smaller/easier tasks can be listed on a daily basis.

  • Now, if your list is still looking too long then consider spreading your tasks out throughout the year instead of just at springtime!

  • And don’t forget about delegating tasks to family or other members of the household…

  • Or even hire someone else to do it for you!   Sometimes it’s worth outsourcing help!!!!

I mentioned getting others involved…but what if others in the family aren’t “into it”? Well, here are some tips to help get Spring Cleaning “buy in” from others:

  • Communication is key. Explain why certain tasks are important to get done and that you really need their help.

  • Start with a small task.  Then move to a team oriented task.  Keep it fair too…everyone should be involved not just the oldest child.

  • Give them ample notice of a cleaning project…don’t just drop it on them at the last minute!

  • When all else fails bribe them or threaten them!  That’s what I do!  Just kidding. 

Let’s talk about some popular spring cleaning projects around the home (Note: I’m just going to mention the more unique tasks)

  • Kitchen: clean out ovens and vent hoods; edit and organize your pantry tossing all expired items; clean out the inside or your fridge as well as sweep and mop under it; may need to defrost your freezer and wine fridge too; and decalcify your coffee maker

  • Living Rooms: clean sofas and chairs; wipe down remotes; edit and organize media like DVDs, CDs and video games; edit magazines and newspaper collections

  • Bathrooms: wash shower curtains and shower mats; dust vents; throw away old and expired jams n jellies and medications; srub away lime deposits on your water fixtures.

  • Kid’s rooms: clear out old toys, clothes and even papers. Be ruthless!  Switch out seasonal clothes and bedding.

  • Home Office and Papers: great time to edit papers, especially after Tax Season Simplify Your Taxes. Clean out old files and spruce up current ones with nice file folders and labels.  Consider using an action file to keep up with daily influx of mail and papers. Maybe even think about going paperless like we’ve talked about numerous times here on the show (Episode 06).

  • Outdoors: windows, gutters, power wash siding and sidewalks/driveway, check faucets and hoses, mulch, weed and fertilize. How to prep lawn equipment for Spring. Clean your BBQ grill.

Dan’s Topic: Spring Cleaning Your Tech

Take a few moments to go through your RSS reader and pare down some of those feeds you’re no longer interested in or add some that you’ve been meaning to

  • When it comes to feeds, digital simplicity is about having the RIGHT feeds, not just FEWER feeds.

The same thing goes for your podcast subscriptions

  • Look through the podcasts you subscribe to and consider which ones you really listen to.

  • With nearly 50% of podcast listeners listening on smartphones, keeping your subscription list well pruned is more important than ever.

  • Even if you’re streaming versus downloading, stick to your favorites and check out the others on an individual basis

Speaking of podcasts, here’s something I did just yesterday:

  • I realized that some of my workflows hadn’t kept up with technology.

  • Specifically, my old workflow for listening to podcasts was like this: subscribe in iTunes, download episodes to my laptop, sync my iPod to my laptop, and once or twice a year I’d go through the shows in my iTunes and delete old episodes.

  • Well I realized that workflow was outdated because I no longer use my iPod, I listen to 90% of podcasts on my phone, and about 5% each on my iPad and Apple TV.

  • With streaming, there is no need to download them.

  • I was taking up tons of unnecessary space because I never adapted my workflow to my habits or technology changes.

The same goes for my music in iTunes

  • It was taking up huge amounts of disc space yet…

  • I  paid for iTunes Match, so my music was in the Cloud and ready to stream or download any time.

  • Knowing I have my music library safely backed up on an external drive, I deleted all my music in iTunes that was already matched in iTunes Match.

  • I did have about 300 songs or sound files that weren’t available in iTunes match that I kept in iTunes on my laptop, but that’s a lot better than many thousands of files!

Inbox cleaning: Back in Episode 12 of the show, we did an episode on The Art of Inbox Warfare to help you battle your email Inbox

  • I covered lots of tips there but one thing I’ll mention is making good use of your “unsubscribe” button for mailing lists you’re no longer interested in, and maxing out the use of filters if you’re a Gmail user.

  • A little time spent “spring cleaning” your Inbox can help you throughout the year!

Take some time to go through your Evernote Notebooks and Tags

  • In tags view, see if you have duplicates that you can delete or combine with other tags.

  • Often you’ll have singulars and plurals of the same Tags. Pare those down.

  • Same goes for Notebooks. If you can combine notes into one Notebook from similar Notebooks, give that a shot.

  • If you haven’t tried Stacked Notebooks, that, too, can help you organize your Evernote database visually.

  • If you’re new to Evernote and need some help getting started, go back and check out Evernote Simplified Part 1 in Episode 17 and Evernote Simplified Part 2 in Episode 18.

If you spend a lot of time on the computer, it’s just as important to have a clear digital space as it is to have an organized and clean home.

  • Edit your desktop, apps, and menu bar items down to those you use the most.

  • If others that you don’t use tend to get in the way, they’re probably not helping your productivity much.

  • I covered the ones I use most (and why) back in Episode 21.

  • You might recall that two menu bar apps I use quite heavily are PopClip and ScreenFloat.

  • Since then, Vanessa finally tried both of those (PopClip and Screenfloat) and has now become quite addicted.

Take some time to go through your Contacts list.

  • First, do you have a system for updating them?
  • Are the ones you have current?

  • How about those old numbers and addresses…is it time to edit those?

  • Personally, I use Contacts in Gmail and love it. Your mileage may vary.

  • Remember “back in the day” when you got a new phone and had to re-enter all your Contacts? If that’s still you, maybe it’s time you hopped on the technology bandwagon.

And Spring Cleaning time might be the perfect time to review your digital backup plan, too. Way back in Episode 3 I talked about backing up your digital information

  • Follow the 3 S’s…Make your backup Simple, Seamless and Solid.  
  • Simple…so you don’t have to think about it, it just happens in the background. If you do have to think about it, set reminders in your calendar. Remember, it needs to be simple but complete…
  • On site backup to an external drive.

  • Cloud backup off site.

  • Seamless…if you have regular backups to an external drive, make sure that drive is also backed up off site.  Initial backup to the Cloud can take up to a couple weeks, depending on your connection speed and how much data you have, of course.

  • Solid…evaluate that your system works. Try to download files from your backup system and see if there are bottlenecks or barriers to your system. How easy would it be to do a complete system restore if you lost your hard drive?

Thing Segment

  • Dan’s Thing: Asana, a task management tool
  • Vanessa’s Thing: Prepping for her Certified Professional Organizer Board and Decision Making with a little help from Parkinson’s Law


Real Simple Spring Cleaning Shortcuts

How to Clean Floors Walls Mrs. Meyers Clean Day

Green Cleaning Supplies by Green Cleaning/Goodhousekeeping

How to Store Seasonal Clothing

How To Organize Your Pantry

Organizing your Home Office

17 Secrets to Organizing Your Garage

7 Steps to Organize Your Garage

Like With Like

Closet TuneUp

How to Edit Your Clothes Quick Tip

Travel Checklists

Fire alarms

Back to School Tips

Summer Fun Activities for the Kiddos

Vacation Travel Preparation

Simplify Your Taxes

How to prep lawn equipment for Spring

Asana Project Management

Would you like to help us help Charity Water? If you make purchases on through this link it will be applied to  Vanessa’s Charity Water Campaign

Give directly to Charity Water Through Vanessa’s Campaign

To Create An Action File Quick Tip

Paper Piles, Paper Piles…Here’s An Easy Way To Control The Clutter

Working with Hanging Files and File Folders

Be sure to subscribe in iTunes and leave a review in the iTunes store! It helps others find the show!  Thanks!

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