Spring. Traditionally -- that time of year we do a big clean up -- clear out. This year consider giving your whole life that thorough clean. Out with the old and in with the new.
Think carefully about what you like and don't like about your life. Take some time and challenge yourself. T charts are a simple, useful tool for problem solving. Draw a large T on a sheet of paper. Plus on one side and minus on the other. What is working? What is not working? Pick your topic -- your home, your marriage, your friendships, career, or retirement. A separate chart for each one. The side that fills up easily sends a powerful message. It identifies positives and negatives in your life.
Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in our own sunshine.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
If your life circumstances have recently changed, moving house might be a consideration. After my divorce, twenty years ago, I stayed too long in a house that was too big. Every corner held the dust of very painful memories. I stayed to prove I could manage that house on my own which, in hindsight, was no reason. I have now been in my much smaller home for over ten wonderful years. It is a place that brings me joy every time I open the door. It is mine. Full of my happy memories.
All Those 'Things'
Sometimes it is things in the house that give off those 'bad vibes'. Why do we have such difficulty letting go? Freeing ourselves of those negative 'things' in our life. I remember one cathartic day after my divorce when I put my wedding dress out at the curb in a garbage bag. For me, it was a dramatic personal statement. A small victory in the painful war I was waging at the time. Bold action is sometimes required.
What About Friendships?
Maybe your friendships need a housecleaning. Or, maybe they just need a spring tune up. Is there enough time for the meaningful friends? Are there friendships that have lost significance in your life? Does the call display fill you with happiness or apprehension when a friend calls? What to do? It's either salvage or gently exit. A decision is needed. Honesty, as difficult as it is, tends to be the best policy.
What worked yesterday, doesn't always work today.
- Elizabeth Gilbert
Perhaps old traditions you shared with friends need to be reworked. The other person might be feeling exactly the same way. Summon up the courage to initiate the conversation. We know it's empowering to take charge of your life.
The Thinks You Can Think
Our thoughts can often use a good spring cleaning, as well. That 45 rpm record that plays and replays in your head. Mistakes you made, things you said. We replay them until the needle wears out. Along with it, we wear out our resilience and wear down our self -esteem.
There have been times in my life when I wished I could just turn off that record. Did all that time spent grinding down my mistakes have any positive outcome? Not a whit.
Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.
- Corrie ten Bloom
Resolve to worry less as a spring resolution.
One way to do that, worry less, is to involve yourself in something that feels good. Choose to volunteer, either for a single event or on a regular basis. Besides the obvious, other benefits can be unforeseen. From personal experience, I know it enhances life in many ways. Yes, it makes you feel good but there are other subtle spin offs. You will probably make new friends, and possibly have some new directions presented for your life.
You can, you should, and, if you are brave enough to start, you will.
- Stephen King
If you haven't already, start a journal. A journal never gets tired of hearing the same wishes and worries over and over again. And -- a life story is your very own unique footprint in this world. Write it for your family.
Spring really is a time of new beginnings. Please share your own favourite spring resolution in the comments section.
Something to think about:
Join the movement and plant some wild flowers for our bees this spring.
Live life as though everything is rigged in your favour.
- Arianna Huffington
ALSO ON HUFFPOST:
TRUE: A truly green alternative, lemons are a great way to safely remove water stains from glass and chrome in the kitchen and bathroom. Their acidity breaks down stains while also releasing a fresh clean scent. Simply rub a lemon on the stain and then rinse. Also a great way to remove general grunge from around faucets.
FALSE: Bleach doesn’t clean so much as it disinfects. Bleach does a great job killing bacteria, and also removes tough stains. But bleach doesn't really clean dirt and residue from surfaces. To do that, you need to scrub and rinse the surface with a cleaning product. For many household cleaning jobs, bleach just isn't the right choice. It has heavy fumes that can make you sick, as well as damage and remove colour from some surfaces.
FALSE: We often associate freshness and cleanliness with fragrant scents. But sometimes the fragrance may just be covering up the actual problem. It’s been proven that scented and unscented versions of the same product clean equally well. The best way to know whether a surface is clean is to do the touch test. If it feels clean and looks clean, chances are you have sufficiently removed dirt and grime from the surface.
TRUE: A window squeegee does a great job at removing pet fur from carpets and furniture. Pet hair from dogs and cats can be hard to remove once it has become embedded in the fibres — even with a vacuum. The solution? A simple window squeegee. Use the rubber blade to rake up the pet hair. Once most of the pet hair has been successfully removed, a vacuum should be able to finish the job.
TRUE: For natural furniture scratch repair, just take the meat of a walnut (not the hard shell), and rub it gently on the scratch in the wood using a circular and up-and-down motion. The walnut will release an oily substance, which should also be rubbed into the scratch. It is these natural oils that help repair the wood. A quick polish and the scratch should be gone.
FALSE: An ordinary cleaning cloth has fibres made of cotton or a synthetic material such as nylon. The fibres in these fabrics are quite large. But a microfibre cloth has far more fibres and they're much smaller. Microfibres are able to attach themselves to even the smallest, most microscopic dirt particles — ones that ordinary cloth fibres simply brush past.
FALSE: Citrus peels may temporarily eliminate nasty scents from the garbage disposal. However, if they aren’t completely ground up, they will eventually contribute to the bad smells wafting from your sink. Citrus peels can clog your drain and corrode the metal in your disposal. It’s safer to pour a few teaspoons of white vinegar into the disposal instead.
TRUE: This sounds strange, but there is truth to it! Take an ice cube and place it in the stubborn carpet dent for a while, then fluff it with a fork to get the fibres looking good as new.
TRUE: Plant experts tell us that specific varieties do a great job purifying the air in our homes. Plants such as rubber trees, corn plants, bamboo palm, ficus, gerber daisies, english ivy, peace lily and philodendrons are great picks.
TRUE: This is a popular one. It seems impossible that a sheet of paper covered in ink could clean anything, but it has been a contractor's trick for years. Using newspaper on windows leaves no streaks, is absorbent and easy to maneuver around the window. The lack of lint on newspaper (vs. paper towels or an ordinary cleaning cloth) is the key.
FALSE: The argument here is that the rotating brush in a vacuum can pull, stretch, and wear out carpet fibres. However, this is untrue. Dirt puts more wear and tear on our carpets than most vacuum cleaners ever could. That being said, it is possible to overwork your carpet. If your vacuum cleaner has multiple settings, be sure to use it on the correct one. Don’t use the bare floor setting when vacuuming the carpet.
TRUE: Natural cleaning methods are just as effective as their chemical counterparts but may need to be used differently. Some natural cleaning methods need to sit and soak for maximum efficacy. That said, they definitely do the job when tested. For example, white vinegar not only cuts through grease, but has acidic properties that can create an unfavourable environment for mold and bacteria. Those who make the switch to natural cleaning products find that they can remove stains from clothing, scrub tough grease out of dishes and sanitize their kitchens and bathrooms without using dangerous chemicals.
TRUE: Surprising but true. When you add equal parts of white vinegar with baking soda, clogged drains beware! Simply sprinkle ½ cup of baking soda down your clogged drain, followed by ½ cup of vinegar. Cover with a cloth and wait 5 to 10 minutes before flushing with very hot water. Drains should be clear.
FALSE: Using cold water to wash our clothes is a great way of saving energy and money on our monthly utility bills. It also keeps clothes looking new and fresh longer. However, sometimes hot water is a must. Using hot water helps to kill bacteria, mold and viruses. So, when washing your undergarments, bed sheets, bathroom towels or anything else that may be filled with germs, it’s a good idea to turn the dial to hot.
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