Ready, Set, Spring Cleaning Prep! 

By: Marla Bautista 

Winter seems to never end. Lucky for you, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Spring is near. You know what that means. Time to Spring clean your home, your car, your business, and anything else that accumulates clutter, dust, and unnecessary paper work. But before you go on a Marie Kondo Purge, let’s chat about a few things you can do to prevent the return of clutter and stay organized throughout the year. 

Bills, Bills, Bills

Does your home or office seem to be a collection zone for paperwork? From Junk mail, to old bills, the amount of unnecessary paperwork continues to pile up. Here are a few tips to slow and ultimately eliminate, the clutter of unneeded forestry in your space. 

  • Go Paperless. You can eliminate the amount of paper you accumulate by changing the delivery of your bills to a paperless option. 
  • Shred unnecessary documents like old bills and junk mail. 
  • Get off the list. You can ask not to be contacted by credit companies. This will reduce the amount of paperwork coming to your home or office. 

A Safe Place

Having a safe place to keep important documents and information so it is readily available is essential in staying organized.

  • Buy a safe. Having a safe in your home is a great way to keep your personal or high value items secure from damage or possible theft.  Keep important documents like; birth certificates, passports, expensive jewelry, and any other irreplaceable items, inside. 
  • Prepare a Home Maintenance Binder. You can repurpose an empty binder you already have in your home or purchase a new one for a few bucks. In it, keep checklists for all things home related. Grocery Checklists, cleaning checklists, child care checklists, etc. 

Make a List and Check it Twice 

Checklists are a must have if you are on the go or you like to multitask.  Using a home maintenance binder, keeps all your checklists in one easily accessible location. Check out a few popular, free checklists. In the case of an emergency, all your important info and home instructions can be easily found and carried out by anyone. Life can be unpredictable and sometimes you may need a little help. 

Plan your Future 

Make a plan going forward.  Schedule dates to complete specific tasks around your home. Make a commitment to a routine. Try doing a ten-minute power cleaning every day, by yourself or with your family. Set a timer and get to it! Believe it or not, this will significantly cut down on waste, dust, and clutter in your home. 

Take Your Time 

Trying to do it all at once may seem a bit overwhelming.  Take your time.  Complete one task per day or challenge yourself to do more.  Whatever goal you make, make it with intention. It can be stressful looking at the big picture. Divide and conquer! You can do it! Good luck and happy Spring! 
Marla Bautista is an Army Wife and mother of three. She is the Published Author of My Thoughts Abandoned, released in 2017. As a Freelance Writer and Blogger, she has written for many publications including Military Spouse Magazine, Military Families Magazine, and Harness Magazine. Her passion is giving back to people in need. Marla is the Co-Founder of The Bautista Project, a custom décor and apparel company, which uses a percentage of their profits to provide for homeless communities.

http://www.MarlaBautista.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/marlabautista
http://www.Facebook.com/MarlaTBautista
http://www.instagram.com/marla.bautista.author
http://www.thebautistaproject.com
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Spring Interior Decorations

Spring is around the corner believe it or not.. I love decorations and being able to decorate my house.. It seems that whenever a new season is coming, I have to decorate and get new accessories for my house.  I can’t help it; it is just so fun for me!

Here are some great spring interior decorations for Easter!

 Artificial Spring Flower Wreath Pink 22″ – National Tree Company® Paint your walls in a swirl of vibrant colors with this Artificial Spring Flower Wreath Pink 22″ from National Tree Company. Featuring vibrant and colorful flowers, long leafy stems and bright red berry clusters on a thick vine base. A perfect decoration for welcoming the spring and summer seasons. Display on doors, walls and windows. Made from a combination of durable materials, making this decorative accent ideal for outdoor use.

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18″ Easter Room Decor – National Tree Company Announce the Easter holiday with this fun and colorful 3D handcrafted Easter Room Decor from National Tree Company. Constructed of lightweight wood material with color dyed linen fabric in a burlap weave. The felt flowers and pastel eggs add a touch of warmth, while a border of vine branches add a rustic and natural flavor. Display this unique piece on shelf or tabletop as an addition to your seasonal decorating scheme.

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7.5″ Resting Bunny – National Tree Company Hop into spring with this adorable tabletop accent. This Resting Bunny from National Tree Company adds a whimsical touch to your home decor. Constructed of painted poly-resin material with smooth surfaces, it is a perfect addition to your home for the festive season. This all white bunny adds a fun and cheerful vibe to your living space. Display this tabletop decoration for the spring season and make an impression when you have friends and family over.

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 12″ Pink Orchid Flower – National Tree Company Give your favorite room a cute upgrade with the Pink Orchid Flower from National Tree Company. This potted plant features beautiful blooms of pink orchid flowers atop long stems with broad green leaves and unopened buds. It is seated in a decorative tiered square pot base with glossy black finish. This artificial plant appears to be living yet requires no maintenance, water or sunlight.

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17″ Potted Lavender Plants in Rack – National Tree Company Add a calming affect to your home with the simple addition of Potted Lavender Plants in Rack from National Tree Company. This decorative piece features three removable potted purple lavender flowers sprouting from simulated soil. Each pot is 3″ tall with a 3.5″ diameter; total height with flower is 9.5″. The pots are seated in an ornate wire rack constructed of painted black wire. Display on table top or suitable for hanging from walls or doors.

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Antique Easter Bunny Milk Bottles White/Green 9″ 2pk – National Tree Company Easter goodies just got a whole lot trendier with these tabletop accents. This Antique Easter Bunny Milk Bottles White/Green 9″ 2pk from National Tree Company is sure to add an elegant and cheerful vibe to your home decor. Featuring in an opaque white color, each with a pastel Easter motif painted on it. Both bottles are tied at the neck with a wood fiber ribbon to add a delicate appeal to your overall table settings.

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Spring Cleaning in Winter

Even though it is winter time and it is hard to focus on the fact that spring is around the corner, you need to start. Plan now rather than trying to do it all later. What do I mean?

Begin creating your spring cleaning list NOW rather than waiting.

  1. Wipe Walls and Ceilings: This task can be hard and not done often. You can clean by using a vacuum to remove dust. Tackle stubborn surface grime with this cleaner
  2. Clean Rugs: You can wash your rugs, and carpet, using this deep-cleaner with a rotary shampoo machine. It is easy to use and is super affordable one to two times a year.
  3. Dust Shelves: You will want to take everything off the shelves. Brush shelves and books with a feather duster. Wipe this off accordingly, and you have clean shelving.
  4. Clean Upholstered Furnishings: Go ahead and take cushions outside and gently air clean them by brushing them off. You will want to vacuum the couches, chairs, etc., anything that is not on the cushions.
  5. Wash Window Screens: Windows can be difficult to cleanse. Clean the windows by using warm water and a mild dishwashing liquid on the glass. Then, the screens by scrubbing each with a brush. Seems simple enough. Clean Window Treatments: Read the labels on any curtains or drapery, and freshen-up accordingly.

There are so many spots to clean in your house, especially once a year. This preparation can honestly help your home get back on track and wash all the winter yuck out. There is nothing worse than having dust and germs living in your house. You only need to do take these steps once or twice a year, and it will be fine!

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Eight Ways to Declutter For The New Year

Before the holidays, we started to declutter our home. We had boxes unopened from when we moved in THREE years ago. I mean seriously, get rid of crap. We loved decluttering, and it really does make all the difference. We were going to sell things and keep putting it off, so I just decided… stop procrastinating and discard it all.

Here are eight ways to declutter for the New Year:

  1. Give yourself five solid minutes. Do a little bit each day for only five minutes, or break up into five minutes every half hour or hour. You will get distracted, so allow for that and track the time. Buy a timer here
  2. Give away one item each day. I felt amazing giving back (especially in the winter) a bunch of clothes for men, women, and kids. If you can part with a little bit by a little bit, you will be amazed at how quickly the results happen.
  3. Fill one trash bag. You will be shocked by how fast this bag fills up. Pack it up, and then drop it off the same day. I find that if I don’t do take this step, then I will let the sack sit in my car or garage for months. Purchase trash bags here.  
  4. Make a list. Find out what you need to get rid of, make a list, and check it off. I love lists period.  Separate what you want to donate, sell, or keep. It is the easiest thing to do.
  5. Take the 12-12-12 Challenge. This event is something super simple. All you have to do is locate twelve items to throw away, twelve items to donate, and twelve items to return to their proper home. This method is an entertaining and exciting way to organize 36 pieces in your house quickly.
  6. Experiment with items. If you think you might wear it again or use it again, try it on and see how it looks. If it is something that you like and forgot how good it appeared, then add it to the keep section and make a list of when you can wear it 
  7. Use your imagination.  If you have not worn or used something ever, or it is in the original packaging, the chances are you do not need to keep it. Go ahead and discard it now before it takes up space again where it is.
  8. The Four-Box Method. As I started to declutter, I brought in four boxes: trash, give away, keep, or relocate. I would place items in every room into one of the four categories. This approach might take some time, but it will benefit you in the long run.

No matter what technique or route you choose, you are making progress and strides. Every little bit does help, and you will feel great knowing you eliminated stuff collecting dust.
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Three Uses For Baking Soda

Baking Soda is an item that you can use for a lot of things outside of the traditional ways such as grandma’s chocolate chip cookies. I bet you didn’t know these three ways that baking soda can help you…

  1. Remove stains from plastic food containers: Have you ever had leftovers in a container that left marks? Baking Soda can help clean it up! It is super easy too. Just wipe with a clean sponge sprinkled with baking soda or erase tough stains in a solution of four tablespoons of baking soda and a quart of warm water. That’s it!!
  2. Refresh a foul-smelling fridge: Seafood has a way of leaving a bad odors and no one likes that aroma. Stick some baking soda in your fridge for a few days and it will help clear that smell out!
  3. Clean store bought fruits and veggies: You have to be careful with everything that you purchase.  I wipe up and clean off everything that I buy. Clean your fruits and vegetables with a mixture of water & baking soda. This can remove both dirt and that waxy coating that comes on a product.
  4. BONUS ~ Scrub down kitchen surfaces: Kitchens can be dirty, but they need to be kept up with; cleaning with baking soda can be a great perk! Combine it with water to clean countertops, stainless steel sinks, microwaves, etc.

We love all the different uses for baking soda in our kitchen and try to use it whenever possible!

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MAKE THE MOST OF ANY SIZED SPACE WITH ELFA FROM THE CONTAINER STORE

elfa is the original custom shelving and drawer system that’s perfect for any room in your home. From your closet to your pantry, elfa works just about anywhere that needs organizing. 

Here are a few of our favorite elfa components to get organized throughout the home.

Platinum elfa Utility Mesh Door & Wall Rack System Components

Create a flexible, customized storage center on the back of a door or on a wall with this rack system. Mix and match baskets, board boxes, and hooks to achieve your desired level of organization.

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White Cabinet-Sized elfa Mesh Easy Gliders

Optimize your lower cabinet space with these mesh gliders. Store pots and pans, bowls, and even food with convenience and ease.

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Lynk Tall White Solid Shelf Dividers Pkg/2

Slide these dividers onto a solid shelf to organize sweaters, linens, books, and even purses. Keep everything separate and in its place without compromising design.

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Frugal Home Improvements

With spring around the corner we all can’t help but get excited for home improvements or upgrades. I know we have tons on our mind of what we want to do! Set goals based on importance as well as budget. Don’t do something if it is outside of budget. If it is outside of budget for some reason but it needs to be done, then be frugal. Do what you can yourself and outsource the rest, or take your time since we know you are a busy mama.

The first thing we have decided to do is paint our doors. Currently all our indoor doors are wooden and it drives me nuts!!! It’s so outdated. We washed the doors down first then decided to paint them.  Face it too, doors aren’t cheap! My husband decided it was best to paint them white. After searching for the perfect white paint that would hold over we’ll enough, the doors became perfect!!

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The second thing we did was get an estimate for our kitchen flooring. It is just outdated and needs to match our black splash. We knew that we weren’t going to pay double what it costs for the materials. All of our quotes came back WAY high so what did we do?? We had my husband do it on the weekend and have his buddies over… We offered to pay them in beer and pizza, it worked! We saved TONS of money this way.

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The third thing we did was spring cleaning. This is kind of like a duh moment. This might not be frugal but we knew that we had to clean and we weren’t going to outsource this. We made sure to make a list of things that needed to be done. We have been living in the house for six months now and never really fully did a deep cleaning so we knew that this was a must. Here is a list of things that we decided to do for our ’spring’ cleaning.

—Clean the windows

—Clean behind furniture

—Wipe down the walls

—Paint the walls

—Wipe down the trim

—Wipe down all appliances

—Clean inside all appliances

—Deep clean vacuum

—Clean grout between tiles

—Dust everything everywhere

—Clean and flip the mattresses

—Clean out the trash cans (inside and outside)

—Dust Ceiling Fixtures

—Clean out inside cupboards

—Declutter

—Wash curtains and blinds

—Clean chairs

—Reorganize inside dressers

What are some things that you do for your annually spring cleaning or home improvements?

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