Simple Pleasures as we emerge out of Hibernation Season
Spring Clean your Jersey City Home! The best tactic when taking on a gargantuan project is to tackle it one area at a time over a series of sessions — no need to overwhelm yourself. Whether the area is as big as one room or as small as one drawer or cabinet, break up the task into achievable 10-minute segments, and conquer each 10 minutes when ready. If you are not hiring out, here are some useful tips for each section of your home life.
I have a place for everything so I don’t have to look for things. Umbrellas and keys hang by the door, takeout menus have their own upright file box, makeup and jewelry items are organized by casual/edgy/fancy. And my roomie and I have a huge box of items designated “the party box,” full of plates, plasticwear and decorations for every occassion that resides in our storage unit in the basement for other things we don’t need year-round, like beach chairs, skis, and yearbooks.
Takeaway: Have a place for everything, and especially for those things you need in everyday life. At the very least, group like things with like things in each designated area. Looking for necessities saps your time. And time is the most valuable commodity.
♦ Check expiration dates and toss all expired food items along with non-perishables that you will never eat. Save all fun, outdated holiday cards, announcements, and children’s artwork from your refrigerator in a memory box (or toss) to make room for new news.
♦ Rearrange items in cabinets so the ones you use most are at the forefront.
♦ Go through all pots, utensils, and appliances. Remove what you don’t use regularly for donation.
♦ Scrub the oven, stove, and microwave, and wipe down the fridge once you’ve rid the dead items. Oh the power of mistolin.
UPHOLSTORY/ RUG STAINS
Rugs and furniture unfortunately collide with pets, babies and accidents. Several people in my life cannot be controlled in tiny spaces with their grand, gestural movements (hello, #happyhands) and therefore, stains are inevitable. Here is a quick guide to treating every household stain. And there’s always club soda and vodka.
I stick to the basics: Clorox bleach and Lysol. But the winner with tough bathroom grit is Bar Keepers Friend. It made my tub shiny new with 1/20th of the scrubbing effort I was doing with a traditional brush and formulas. I mean, I think it erodes surfaces via intense chemical exfoliation that is probably extremely unhealthy BUT, there is nothing like looking at a blindingly sparkling white tub.
I recently developed bad allergies and my awesome allergist put me on a regimen that includes covering my mattress and pillows with dust-mite covers (from Kennedy’s), something I never had to think of before in the past. In addition to washing my stuff with All Free & Clear, the covers have really kept invisible dust out of the air—and out of my lungs.
Power-wash away bad-weather grime; then Windex.
Simple soap and water is all you need to clean lights. Change the bulbs if necessary. This is also a good time to check the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
Purge, purge, purge.
Clothes, shoes, jewelry, handbags: Toss as much as you can to feel lighter. Basic rule: If you haven’t worn it in a year, you probably won’t. Sweaty, ratty stuff can be re-purposed as rags for your household cleaning portion of this segment. Outdated denim can be cut and reconstructed into a purse or a skirt or something it wasn’t. But for the most part, toss.
Specialty items (like personalized handmade knit sweaters, say, that have significant emotional value) should be kept in preserved storage or put on display. Same with family heirlooms. Other tips
♦ Schoola allows clothes to be donated to raise real dollars for your local school. Just request a bag (free), fill it with items, and leave for the postman. Schoola sells the clothes at a discounted rate, and the proceeds go directly to fund important programs in schools (22,000 schools involved so far)
Now, if you’re moving your home or your office, you will have a lot of ish to get rid of. That’s where the masterminds Junk-a-Holics come in. They come to you, pick up your stuff and donate, recycle, or re-purpose it accordingly. You do none of the work, but can still feel great being green.
ITEMS THAT NEED TO BE CLEANED
2 Boys Laundromat is my fave, but we should all go to the one on our corner we like best. Support local businesses!
Leon’s One-Hour Cleaners on Prospect & Webster St. is my go-to. They have re-lined my antique coats and made them prettier than the originals; transformed old whites to look newer than new whites, hemmed my jeans and pants with tighter, better seams. They are my fairy seamstresses (and inexpensive!)
Clean out & carry on,
It’s time for our last summer hurrahs Jersey City. If you’re like me and have chosen air-conditioning and money-making over humidity so you could be a baller during September/October and tail it everywhere when most people go back to work…oh wait, you’re not me.
Anyway, now that I’m planning for two months of adventure, I thought it high time to share my quick checklist of packing needs for most of you who are last-minute shove-in-the-suitcase peeps. These are my summer necessities, but the list is adaptable.
If you leave your house, it’s “phone, wallet, keys.” But traveling for a weekend or a week requires more preparation.
The Gal’s Guide to Traveling Light:
In your purse/carry-on tote (Besides phone, wallet WITH CASH, keys):
*WaterWipes. The “world’s purest baby wipes” will save your life at the airport, on a boat, at the pool, on the beach and taking your makeup off at night. I always carry these in my purse, but they are especially essential during travel. Most hand sanitizers and wipes have a lot of alcohol and other harsh chemicals that ruin my skin. WaterWipes are 99.9% purified water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract. So gentle.
*Lotion that works for face and hands because…dryness. I like Aveeno.
*Light makeup: Your basics. I like to keep blush & a brush to quickly freshen my pale look.
*Something to read. While we’re all connected to interesting soundbites of info via the Internet every day, vacation allows us the time to disconnect (please disconnect!) and get into a story, a journal, or a good magazine. So be prepared. Here are Jersey City’s Summer Reading Picks.
In Your Suitcase:
*Toiletrees: toothbrush, toothpaste, razor(s), shampoo, conditioner, detangling spray, hair pick (hello beach waves! and tangles!), soap, Advil, Neosporin, Visine, Aquaphor, Banana Boat Aloe Vera After Sun Gel & Repel 100 for insects. The generic versions of most of these products are just as good.
*Sun care: Sunscreen!!! After surviving melanoma, I use Neutrogena SPF 70, but I also use Walgreens watermelon SPF 50. For some color on my legs, I use the best: Bain de Soleil Orange Gelèe SPF 4 and for my stomach, Hawaiian Tropic SPF 8. Do not forget UV 400+ sunglasses and a good hat (some have SPF material built in…like these beauts here).
*Bathing suits: Bring 3 for a quick weekend and 5 for a week-long stay. You can always mix & match! (Or buy a new one, yaaas!)
*3-5 Cover-ups that can be scarves, shirts, skirts or dresses.
*2 going out outfits, max. Because you’ve got the above to work with.
*Shorts/tees/tanks: PJs that can double as beach coverups/lounge wear and can triple as workout gear.
*A hoodie, zip-up or jacket because there are cold beach/ lake nights and/or blasting indoor ACs.
*Shoes: Flip flops, sneakers, going out shoes. I’ve found that shoes take up the most space. So if you are strictly going to a beachy or tropical place, only pack flip flops and fancy flip flops. If you’re attending a wedding, event, or a chi-chi nightclub, you’ll need your strappy heels. If you plan on exercising or know you’ll be doing a lot of walking (especially on cobblestone streets or any rough terrain), bring your sneaks. Otherwise, save your suitcase space and just bring your flips. Great for getting through the airport security line quickly, too.
*Undies, bras, socks (<—-if you’re bringing sneaks or you like to sleep in foot-covers, like me).
*Hardware: Chargers, laptop (only if you need it; as a constant writer with multiple projects, I often do), “real” camera (if you want better than phone-quality photos).
*Accessories: earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets, anklets, head scarves that can double as belts, all of which should coordinate with your shizzaz. Since most accessories don’t take up space, you should maximize here to minimize your outfits. Accessories change your look. Period. (Emphasis on punctuation here needed.)
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