It's spring! It's sprung. And now it's time to clean. So one of the interesting things about living in Brooklyn is that we all live in small spaces. Oh sure, we might know someone whose huge apartment we silently covet, but even those places, when you really think about it, aren't all that big. They can't be. This is New York. We compromise on space so that we can live here. We compromise on a lot of things so that we can live here, but that isn't really the point now, other than the fact that it is kind of always the point. Anyway. As we all know from living in New York, staying clean and organized is the key to everything. But you want to do it the right way and make the most out of this, the one time of year that you actually clean everything, you dirty fucker. So in an effort to maximize your space and help you clean efficiently and cost-effectively, I have put together a little guide to spring cleaning. You'll totally be able to invite anyone you want to come over when you're done and he or she will be so impressed that he or she will do whatever nice things it is that he or she does. Maybe it will involve cookies, I don't really know.
Do Invest in a Big Jug of White Vinegar
Seriously. White vinegar is a miracle product. I can't be the first person you've heard extolling the virtues of white vinegar, unless, of course, you've never even attempted to look into cleaning tips before? In which case, I'm glad to be your first white vinegar experience! This stuff can do everything from cleaning your grout to getting build-up off your dishes to brightening your toilet bowl to cleaning your dog's ears. There is basically nothing it can't do in the cleaning world. Plus, it's super-cheap and all-natural and so you can feel great using it too.
Don't Waste Money on Pricey Organic Cleaning Supplies
It's not worth it. Sure the Mrs. Meyer's packaging is pretty and it's tempting to get one spray for your bathroom cleaning and one for your windows and one for your floors. But it's a trick! It's totally a waste of money and a waste of precious cabinet space. Just get the white vinegar. It might not smell like lavender, but you'll get used to it eventually.
Do Use Q-Tips to Clean Hard to Reach Places
As long as you're going to be cleaning, you might as well do a good job. And you're not going to be doing a good job unless you clean all the hard to reach places, like the tracks along your windows or the crevices along your sliding shower door. Oh, you're lucky enough just to have a shower curtain? Well, good for you! I'm jealous. Anyway, Q-Tips are perfect for this. Dip them in some white vinegar and go to town.
Don't Use Q-Tips to Clean Your Ears
So, the only thing that I have to mention here is—whatever you do—do
Do Clean Out Your Closets
Spring is the perfect time to get rid of all the stuff you never wear. There must be some stuff you never wear. Or else why would your closet be a total disaster? This is really the thing that feels the best for me to do because I love getting rid of stuff and there's always so much to throw away. So take the time to remove every single thing you own from your closet and drawers and spread them out on your bed and be cruel. Act like Cersei in Game of Thrones as she decides whether or not someone should die. Only you're just deciding whether or not to keep those jeans with the hole in the ass that still fit you so well but have a hole in the ass. Get rid of them. Be brutal. Be like a Lannister.
Don't Assume That Other People Want Your Old Clothes
I know that you were really attached to that Lauren Conrad-brand turquoise tube top that you bought in 2008 (this is seriously a thing that I owned, and bought at the amazing Dear Fieldbinder of all places) but probably nobody else really wants it. So instead of unloading your stuff at a place that will just turn around and ship it to a developing nation that also doesn't need your tube tops and could benefit from boosting its own consumer economy, consider doing one of two things. Sell your clothes (money! yess!) to a place like Beacon's Closet or take them to the Greenmarket at Grand Army Plaza on a Saturday for textile recycling with GrowNYC.
Do Organize Your Clothes By Color
This is a really great way to work out any OCD tendencies you might have (which, having tendencies is very different than having the actual disorder, obviously) and it will make getting dressed more fun. Because you know who organized his cardigans by color? Mr. Rogers. And we should all be more like Mr. Rogers. And if you're thinking to yourself, "But all my clothes are black!" Don't worry! Then your closet will look the best, because black is the best color.
Don't Organize Your Books By Color
This is going a little too far. Although, well, I will admit that I organize my books by color. But that is because it is the only way I can remember where they are. I am much better at visual memory that textual memory. So I do it because I need to. But it's kind of a tacky thing to do, really, and makes books look like little more than accessories. Once I saw a designer advise that, for aesthetic purposes, you should consider arranging your books so that the spines face the wall and the pages face out. I have never wanted someone to die as much as I did right then. Not the designer. Me. I wanted me to die so I wouldn't have to live in a world like this anymore. Respect your books. That's all I'm saying.
Do Feel Really Good About Yourself At the End
So this is just kind of a fun bonus. Nothing makes me feel better than when I change a lightbulb that has been out for six months. It's like, all by myself, I created light. I basically understand what God felt like at the end of that first day. I've also felt really good when I've unclogged drains and gotten rid of cobwebs in hard to reach corners of my ceilings. And I like feeling good about myself. We all do. Spring cleaning is a great way to get that feeling.
Don't Get Other People to Do Stuff For You
I don't know if you even have the kind of landlord who will come and fix stuff for you. Maybe you don't? I do. He's very nice and whatever. But there's no glory in getting someone else to do the job that you could do yourself. Same goes for hiring a housekeeper. Stop being decadent. Clean your own fucking toilet.
Do Burn Sage or Other Natural Herbs
Congratulations! Your home is clean! You are amazing. But wait! Does it smell a little overwhelmingly of white vinegar? It does? Good! That means you did a great job cleaning! But also, not good. Because you don't want your apartment smelling like white vinegar. So get yourself some dried sage and burn it and wave it around your apartment. This has the added benefit of maybe getting rid of evil spirits. If you can't get your hands on any dried sage, maybe just smoke some weed? That's also bound to impart a lovely, herbal scent that is sure to mask any lingering, vinegar-y odor. Plus, you'll feel even better about yourself and the great job you did. Nice work!
Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen