Add Joy to Spring Cleaning

While spring cleaning can be crucial in keeping your home in tip-top shape, especially for DIYers who find inspiration in the bright season for new home decor projects, the annual ritual can also feel overwhelming.

To add color and whimsy, and make spring cleaning a more joyous event, consider these ideas from mom and designer Joy Cho, the founder and creative director of Oh Joy! – a lifestyle site focused on design, fashion, food and life’s joyful moments.

Frame homemade artwork. Once spring has arrived, you may have compiled lots of children’s artwork from time spent indoors. To keep it all organized, sift through it in the spring and frame some of your children’s hard work to put on the walls as colorful pieces of homemade decor.

Start with a fresh clean. Routinely cleaning your high-touch surfaces with disinfecting wipes and picking up common areas is a good habit to get into and should be a starting point for any spring project. When you start with a clean space, you know you won’t have to deal with dust bunnies and clutter along the way. Plus, with nearly 1 in 3 Americans (31 percent) admitting to rarely or never deep cleaning their households, according to an online Clorox survey in February 2019, regularly freshening up can help you maintain a clean space and cut down on time spent tackling big messes.

Decorate with color. Make your shared spaces as fun and unique as possible by adding pops of color. After cleaning accumulated dirt and dust off your bookshelves, add contact paper to the inside back section of the shelves and flower vases or decorative jars for temporary color and character. You can also add an unexpected spring time pop to floral bouquets by incorporating fragrant mint sprigs or colorful stems. Picking out an attractive spring print that brings you joy and updating your throw pillow shams can also provide little bursts of color.

Repurpose everyday items. Look for items around the house that can serve a secondary purpose, like the limited-edition Oh Joy! Clorox Disinfecting Wipes Designer Collection, which can serve as statement pieces while setting the stage for a happy and healthy season by removing unwanted germs and dirt that may be lurking in your home. The stylish canisters can also be rinsed and reused after the last wipe is gone to hold everything from craft supplies to kids’ toys or flowers.

“For the first-ever Clorox Designer Collection, I created four unique canister designs that are inspired by fresh blooms, spring sunshine and the feeling of a clean, new start,” Cho said. “What I love most is that they make the canisters attractive enough that you no longer need to hide them under the sink. Leaving them on the counter for cleaning up messes throughout the day is not only convenient but adds a little joy to your spring decor as well.”

Maintain your spaces. Spending a little time each day cleaning high-traffic spaces can be easier than devoting an entire day each week to getting your home back in order. Disinfecting wipes make it easy to clean up messes, wipe down surfaces and stay on top of spot cleaning, allowing you to spend less time worrying about dirt and germs and more time with your family.

Find more ways to elevate your space and add joy to spring cleaning at Clorox.com.

Photo courtesy of Lily Glass for Oh Joy! (Family Features)

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Clorox

5 Tips to Spring Clean Your Life

The spring season not only signifies the start of rain showers, colorful flowers and more outdoor activities, it also brings a rise in spring cleaning. Shake off the cold weather blues and revisit the simple parts of everyday life that could use a cleanup.

From storing your winter essentials to cleaning up your whole family’s diet (including your furry friends), these tips can help infuse the spring-cleaning spirit into your busy lifestyle.

Photo courtesy of Fotolia

Tidy Up Your Space

Spring cleaning starts by identifying what area to tackle first. Set yourself up for success by picking a small space, such as your pup’s abode. Clean his or her bowl, replenish old toys and freshen up the bed. Using a removable cover on the bed can help to keep the space tidy all-year long.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Store Away Winter Essentials

As the days get warmer and you start to break out your spring jackets, bulky coats and clothes may go unused. Declutter your closet by storing your winter essentials in bins and setting aside items to donate. This can help to make room for those bright spring clothes you’ve been waiting to wear.

Photo courtesy of Fotolia

Pay Attention to Hard to Reach Places

You may not realize how much dust collects on the top of your ceiling fan when it’s not running. Avoid circulating dust bunnies by giving ceiling fan blades a good brushing with a cloth or vacuum. In addition to keeping your home nice and neat, this can also help ease springtime allergies.

Photo courtesy of Fotolia

Dust Off Those Sneakers and Get Outside

With spring in full swing, freshen up your sneakers by throwing them into the washing machine (by themselves) and hanging them outside to dry. Once you’re ready to get moving, be sure to include your four-legged friend. Playing outside together can increase both of your activity levels and help you enjoy the warmer temperatures.

Refresh Your Diet and Your Pup’s

Spring means that fresh fruits and vegetables are starting to come back into season. Spruce up your diet by reintroducing these items, as well as quality proteins like chicken or salmon. In addition, ingredients with sources of fiber, like sweet potatoes, can help fill you up without adding too many empty calories. These foods are not only good for your health, they’re also beneficial for your dog. In fact, these ingredients are often found in many high-quality pet foods such as the NUTRO™ WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS™ line of dry dog food. As part of the NUTRO. FEED CLEAN™ philosophy, these dog food recipes are made with real, recognizable ingredients, allowing you to share your healthy eating lifestyle with your pup.

For more information on NUTRO™, visit Nutro.com or Facebook.com/NUTROBrand. (Family Features)

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Nutro

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen

As days grow longer and temperatures rise, spring cleaning starts to creep to the top of the to-do list for many people. Spring is the perfect time to think about where things can be tidied up, and the kitchen can be a great place to start, especially if you’re looking to make room for healthier options.

Look no further than a store like ALDI, which offers high-quality food at affordable prices, including award-winning, wholesome, better-for-you foods. In fact, 40,000 shoppers voiced their choice in a national survey by global research agency Kantar TNS, and three ALDI-exclusive foods won the prestigious 2018 Product of the Year title.

Try these tips for healthy spring cleaning swaps for your pantry and fridge, and find more helpful ideas at aldi.us.

  1. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

If you’re in the mood for something sweet, reach for the fruit bowl instead of the candy bowl. Fresh fruits like apples, grapes and oranges can curb your craving for sweets without the extra sugar.

  1. Grab Some Guac

For a simple and filling snack, swap out greasy chips and unhealthy dips for hearty veggies and a dip option like ALDI-exclusive Little Salad Bar Fresh Guacamole, a 2018 Product of the Year winner in the Spreads category. It comes in three creamy and delicious flavors: Chunky, Southwest and Pineapple Poblano.

  1. Pass on the Pasta

Cut down on carbs by making your favorite pasta dishes with vegetable noodles instead of spaghetti. Try making “noodles” by peeling vegetable ribbons of zucchini, sweet potatoes, carrots or cucumbers. Simply mix them with your choice of protein and top with a savory sauce for a feel-good twist on comfort food.

  1. Go for Greek

Instead of conventional yogurt, pick a better-for-you Greek option with more protein. For example, ALDI-exclusive Friendly Farms Greek Yogurt Tilts, a 2018 Product of the Year winner in the Snack Cup category, contain low-fat Greek yogurt and delectable toppings that can be combined with just a tilt. The yogurt comes in two fun flavors: Crazy for Coconut and Key Lime Crunch.

  1. Gain Some Grains

When choosing breads and grains, go for multigrain or whole-grain options instead of white. The same goes for rice. Brown rice and whole-grain foods have a higher nutritional value and keep you feeling full, thanks to the increased fiber content.

  1. Pick Up Some Protein

Opt for snacks that can fill you up with protein and nutrients. Try an option such as ALDI-exclusive Elevation by Millville High Protein Bars, a 2018 Product of the Year winner in the Better-For-You Snacks category. They live up to their name with 20 grams of protein and 13 vitamins and minerals in each bar. They also come in two delicious flavors: Mint Chocolate and Chocolate Peanut Butter. (Family Features)

Images courtesy of Fotolia

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ALDI

Spice Up Spring Cleaning

While you’re making this year’s spring cleaning chore list, remember that a true deep clean means decluttering your kitchen from inside the cabinets out.

“The idea of spring cleaning is especially relevant to the spice rack,” said Mark Garcia, chef at McCormickKitchens. “Many people keep the same herbs and spices in their cabinet for years, not realizing that flavor and aroma tend to fade over time.”

He offers the following tips for ensuring your herbs and spices are at their freshest and ready to complement the season’s signature flavors:

  • Sight: Check that the colors of your spices and herbs are bright and vibrant. If the color has faded, so has the flavor.
  • Aroma: Rub or crush the spice or herb in your hand. If the aroma is weak, it is time to replace it.
  • Taste: Give the herb or spice a taste test. If it lacks flavor, it is past its prime.

To ensure you’re cooking with the freshest flavor, check your spice’s “best by” date and keep these shelf life guidelines in mind:

  • Ground spices: 2-3 years
  • Whole spices: 3-4 years
  • Seasoning blends: 1-2 years
  • Herbs: 1-3 years

When you shop to replace discarded spices, keep these storage tips in mind:

  • Keep spices and herbs away from heat, moisture and direct sunlight.
  • Avoid storing spices and herbs over the stove, dishwasher or sink, or near a window.
  • Members of the red pepper family, including paprika and chili powder, will retain their color and remain fresher when stored in the refrigerator.

While putting your spices to use, follow these simple guidelines:

  • Try not to sprinkle spices and herbs directly from the bottle into a steaming pot. Repeated exposure to heat and moisture can hasten flavor loss and could result in caking. Instead, measure them into a cup, measuring spoon or bowl and then add them.
  • Be sure to use a completely dry measuring spoon when dipping it into a spice or herb.
  • Replace bottle lids tightly immediately after use.

While cleaning out the cupboards, you may encounter forgotten spices or those that are approaching their “best by” dates and need to be used. That’s the perfect excuse to experiment with new recipes or to reward your hard work with a sweet treat.

Find more recipes and tips for keeping your spice rack in tip-top shape at McCormick.com or look for McCormick Spice on Facebook and Pinterest. (FamilyFeatures)

3 Backyard Projects You Can Tackle in a Weekend

Now that warmer weather has finally arrived, you want to be outside to enjoy it. Your backyard could be the perfect place to bask in the sun, entertain friends or indulge in your hobbies. It just needs a little sprucing up, and the right projects can help.

Best of all, many of these projects are quick and easy. To get you started, here are three projects you can accomplish in a spring weekend — and enjoy all summer long.

Forging a fire pit

Whether it’s an afternoon gathering or an evening under the stars, adding a fire pit to your backyard is a great way to make an enjoyable get-together last even longer. And building one is easier than you think.

Start by marking the center of your pit in the ground. Spray a circle around the center, outlining your pit’s desired circumference — say 5 feet. Dig this space to a depth of 6 inches. In your newfound pit, make a similar circle 12 inches in from your outer circle to make the inner wall of your pit.

Fill this area with small stones to serve as the foundation, and lay wet concrete on the ground to solidify and build that foundation. If you do not have the tools you need to successfully make concrete, you can always rent them to eliminate the need for a one-time purchase.

Once the foundation is ready, apply mortar and stones around the ring. Build up the fire pit wall with additional mortar and stones. After the pit has been built to a height of your choosing, use a brush to remove excess mortar from the inside. You may also spray the inside with a can of spray paint to give your pit’s interior a uniform look.

Planning the planters

If you’ve always wanted to add a pop of color to your backyard, planter boxes can be just the ticket. They are relatively simple to build yourself.

Start by choosing a wood, like cedar, for your project. Cut four strips with two half the length of your other two, but sharing the same height. These strips will form the foundation of your rectangular planter. If you lack a saw to cut them with, you can always rent one.

Once your strips are cut, butt the ends together and apply wood glue at the joints to secure the fit. Drill a screw into each end to solidify the fit. Next, attach the bottom panels with glue and drill a screw through the ends of the bottom panels into the sides for a more secure fit.

Finish by lightly sanding any rough or unseemly spaces on the foundations. Add a touch of paint or stain to improve the planter’s appearance and offer long-term protection.

Shedding new light on the shed

If you’re going to spend more time in your backyard this year, it’s time to finally do something about that old shed you’ve been ignoring for years. Fortunately, something as small as a new coat of paint can have a large impact on your shed’s appearance.

Before applying a drop of paint, inspect the shed to be sure no structural maintenance is needed. Then it’s time to clean it. Rent a pressure washer for a quick clean that will free the building of dirt, debris and cobwebs.

Once the shed is clean and dry, apply an oil-based primer, which will help protect the building from the elements and make it easier to paint.

Finally, it’s time to paint. A long-nap roller works well for this project, but you can also rent a paint sprayer. Choose a color to your liking and be sure to select a paint designed for outdoor projects.

Each of these three projects can be tackled in a single weekend, and each can have a lasting effect on your outdoor space. So, what are you waiting for? Get started on your outdoor DIY project today. To find a rental tool provider near you, visit RentalHQ.com. (BPT)