How to Spring Clean Your Life

Spring clean your life

Exciting news! I was interviewed by Nicole Blades on BlogHer for a piece on How to Spring Clean Your Life (For Real)

Below is the piece that ran as a Blog Her Original Post:

Even if the weather in your region isn't acting like it, this is legit spring! One of the things that goes along with the season is cleaning, like, major, deep-rooted cleaning. But that clean-up plan extends beyond the kitchen cabinets and your underwear drawer.

That's why Cindy Goodman is here to help you spring clean your life.

Cindy’s nationally syndicated column, "Work Life Balancing Act" helps her readers with the daily work life balance struggle to find career and personal fulfillment — from tips on productivity to flexibility in the workplace. The column appears weekly in the Miami Herald, Star-Telegram, The Charlotte Observer and dozens of McClatchy newspapers. She is also a member of Hilton Garden Inn’s Bright Minds team, a group of influential women who offer time-saving tips and inspiration to empower the on-the-go business woman.

As a mother of three and also a veteran journalist, Cindy brings her personal experience to the work/life balancing act. She's here to help, folks. Take notes!

BlogHer: When we talk about "spring cleaning" our lives, it may seem a little daunting. Where do we start? What’s the best way to approach de-cluttering one's life? Is it about breaking things down into categories? Do we approach it similar to how we clean our closets: Keep, Donate, Discard?

Cindy Goodman: When it's time for spring cleaning a good place to start is your calendar. What is on your calendar that zaps your time and energy and creates stress? Is it too many networking events, too many kids’ activities, too many late nights at the office? What can you do to make your calendar look different? What can you delegate or where can you scale back to create more time for travel, or a new hobby, or hanging out with friends, those things that will put a smile on your face? De-cluttering your calendar and your to-do list will make a big difference in your stress level.

BlogHer: How might we go about "spring cleaning" our relationships? Is that even a thing? Can we detox our friendships/relationships?

CG: Look at the people in your life who are innovative, creative, inspiring, talented, supportive, and spend more time with them. When you give them more of your time, you will have less time for people who dwell on the negative. This might be one of the most important things we do to better balance our lives.

BlogHer: If we only have time and mind energy to tackle one thing in a Life De-Clutter Project, what should it be?

CG: Declutter the one thing you encounter every day that makes you feel disorganized. For example, every day I would park in my driveway and walk through my cluttered garage. It puts me in a bad mood walking into my home. Last spring, I decided to focus on straightening it out and tossing what I hadn’t used in a long time. By decluttering that one place, it changed my entire outlook every single day.

Most of us have one messy place we encounter daily and it makes us feel guilty and disorganized — it may be our underwear drawer, the backseat of our car, our desk drawer, our utensils drawer. Find your "one place" and tackle it. It will change your outlook!

BlogHer: Specifically talking to mothers, who are already juggling far too many things, what are some practical, actionable tips they can use to de-clutter their busy lives and move closer toward guilt-free work-life balance?

CG: There are three tips I try to follow:

1) Find your workplace soulmate, a superwoman you can count on to help you prioritize or rescue you in a pinch. One thing that I found interesting was on a recent survey Hilton Garden Inn put out that revealed 85 percent of employed women would be more likely to ask a fellow woman for help to get something done quickly at work. We need to continue to support each other!

2) Toss the gadgets that you never use and consider those that would be helpful. I have an electric rice cooker I will NEVER use. For a busy mom like me, it just doesn’t make my life any easier. We all have those kinds of things in our homes. But there are simple, inexpensive gadgets that would make our lives easier (most of them are invented by other moms). The Hilton Garden Inn survey I referenced earlier said that self-cleaning carpets (34 percent), self-folding laundry (34 percent ) and 3-D printers for meals (18 percent) are the top three gadgets busy women wish they would have. Someone should get on that!

3) Lastly, refuse to feel guilty. Clear out those things in your home that make you feel bad about what you haven’t gotten around to doing. I just tossed an unused photo album. I will never take the time to print photos and fill the album. If I really want to make an album I can create a digital one online. If you will never make muffins, toss the muffin pan. It’s okay. I give you permission to do it.

BlogHer: Once we’re done with the "life spring clean,” how can we keep it all organized and maintain the progress? How do we avoid slipping back into the life clutter all over again?

CG: Focus on that "one place" you want to keep organized and how great it feels to see it decluttered. That should be motivation to avoid slipping back into disorganization!

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Nicole Blades is a novelist and freelance journalist who writes about family, identity and culture. 

The Work/Life Balancing Act

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