Cooking & Home - Nonfiction - Uncategorized

Ashley’s Spring Refresh

Hello, fellow readers! As spring is finally in the air, we are faced with the natural urge to sort things from our lives that may not be serving us as we had hoped. That’s right, it’s spring-cleaning time! The sun is in the sky and garage sale season is just around the corner!

Many people find spring-cleaning to be a stressful task, but might I remind you that it really does not have to be. As someone who cannot keep their home tidy for the life of me, I have read and listened to so many household organization and decluttering books in hopes of finding that one technique that will finally work for me. What I have learned is that there really isn’t a one size fits all answer, seeing how everyone’s lives, workload, and situation is different. Many people work long hours, have errands to run for their families, need time to study, or just have prior commitments; not to mention, making time to unwind, eat, take care of yourself, and do the things you enjoy. It is easy to get overwhelmed and burnt out when balancing so much in your life.

But fear not! You are absolutely not alone on this struggle bus. The library has many books and resources to help you make progress in your home improvement journey. There is still much to gain from the wisdom and writings of those who are also on the quest of home betterment. The world of organization and home upkeep may involve tasks we have never done before, but just because something is new doesn’t mean we should be too intimidated to start. This is where we can lean on the well-earned knowledge of others. Here are some books that I highly recommend for figuring out the best techniques for your spring-cleaning and how to sustainably upkeep your home sweet home.

Good Housekeeping Home Skills: Master Your Domain with Practical Solutions to Everyday Challenges

You can’t go wrong with Good Housekeeping. This book is jam packed with ideas on how to organize, along with the why and when to do it! Plus, it has lots of checklists and QR Codes to use if it has a DIY you want to watch and follow along to. I haven’t seen many books that include the QR Code to follow along in a video, but I really liked that this book does that! I am a visual learner, and the first time I do something, it usually helps me feel more confident when I’ve watched somebody else do it first.

            The information in this book is great too! By the end of this book, you will be a more rounded person. It instructs you how to turn food waste into that into the best veggie broth or compost,  easy steps you can utilize to prevent water damage, how to mend your clothes, stock your pantry, and so much more! Apart from checking this book out, it may be a book to consider purchasing for reference to when you need it. It is that handy.

Green living made easy: 101 eco tips, hacks and recipes to save time and money

This book has tips and tricks for everything, as well as the recipe for how to do and make everything in a green way. If you are looking into making more things homemade and controlling what chemicals are all around you, this book is a great place to start.

The life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing &

Spark joy: an illustrated master class on the art of organizing and tidying up

by Marie Kondo

I find it interesting how psychological cleaning and our attachment to things can be. It makes sense when you think about the different ways people are raised. Some families live scarce, tending to hold onto things because they know what it is like to go without, making the “just in case I need it” attachment to things a struggle. Other families may be more frivolous, having no problem getting rid of things, or somewhere in the middle.  It is obviously great not to waste or be too excessive, but when it begins to overwhelm your space is when the change needs to happen.

            Enter Marie Kondo; the sweetest organizer you may ever come across. In The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy, she shares her organizational journey into finding the perfect method in honoring your things, but not letting them hold you down. She also has a Netflix show if you enjoy watching the method to the madness. I enjoyed listening to these books in the background while I worked through chores and being inspired to tidy up what I can. Even though her method is simple, it is meaningful and I like the idea of thanking our things for serving us, realizing that they have served their course and now can serve others. Other cleaning books can sometimes come off as shaming for holding onto things for so long, but Marie Kondo absolutely does the opposite of that.

In addition, for people with limited space or less experience with housekeeping, Spark Joy has some great tips and diagrams for things like how to properly fold a shirt or odd shaped garments. I also found the system of the order in which to organize your things very helpful. I mean, it may be good if I organize a drawer, but to turn around and have the rest of the room still covered in a tornado of unfolded/ill-fitting clothes can be disheartening to the work you just accomplished. It turns out, there is a logical cleaning order. So far, of all the organizational books I have read, Marie Kondo’s books have the methods I still think of and return back to.

How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind: Dealing with Your House’s Dirty Little Secrets by Dana K. White

If you would like the summary of this book, it is this; “have some will power and go do your dishes”. So many pages of this book discuss not wanting to do the dishes, but doing them anyways. Often if it is a task we don’t want to do, we put it off until we no longer can, and that task is now out of hand. This book is the embodiment and solution to that problem. Change, habits, and growth takes time and consistency, and this book helps you find it, along with how to get the rest of the family into helping clean as well. I may not sound as enthusiastic about this book, but it actually was a good listen; and like it or not, what I needed to hear. Give this book a shot, fellow procrastinators.