This past week I’ve had the bad case of the gremlins. Those pesky lil buggers that just seem to mess everything up. Someone must have told them coffee is my weakness because they attacked with a vengeance. A week of coffee mishaps (every. single. day.) finally culminated in a destroyed keyboard & motherboard. Yup.
So ctrl+curate’s usual diy & recipes posts will be on temporary hiatus until I can get my laptop repaired or replaced. I’ll be trying to post tip posts in the interim, but am hesitant to even do that because my old backup laptop doesn’t quite support the design programs correctly. I’m not even 100% sure what color the posted image looks like published. Hopefully it won’t take long, but in the meantime please check out the archives, keep checking for those “tip” posts”, and leave any laptop recommendations below!
I can’t wait to throw open the windows and spring clean! It feels like a seasonal reset. Finally putting winter coats in storage (Chicago, don’t you pull another snowy Spring weekend on me) and dragging out the shorts feels amazing. But, if you’re not as enthused about the process, hopefully this post helps take some of the stress off.
Start top to bottom, dry to wet. Dust high areas (shelves, light fixtures) and work your way down the room so you don’t have to repeat yourself. Once all the dry cleaning is done, wipe down surfaces with spray, wet wipes, & mopping.
Truth: You don’t need a million different cleaners. Use a good multi-purpose spray (I like Method’s grapefruit one), disinfectant spray/wipes for the bathroom, and some magic erasers will handle almost everything. PS: Dollar Tree has a 2 for $1 generic eraser pack. These are great for anything really grimy.
Check for expiration dates Before dusting & mopping, do a trash sweep. Put a trash bag in every room and be brutally honest about what to keep. Console yourself knowing it just saved you a bunch of time cleaning.
Kitchen- Check spices, pantry, fridge, freezer (the food crew at Real Simple mag recommend buying spices several times a year for freshness). Toss anything you can’t remember how long it’s been there, smells or looks weird, or those leftovers you know deep down you’re never eating.
Bathroom- Check beauty products & medicine expiration dates. Are you holding on to that E.L.F Halloween palette just in case? Bacteria won’t care how long it’s been since you last used it, it needs to go.
Desk- Papers always need wrangling. I like to put papers I don’t need readily (i.e. receipts, tax forms) into a box in a closet. Easy access but lets my workspace be just for work. For the papers left behind, try making these easy DIY leather folders by Homey Oh My!
Double Duty Wall Art
I love it when things are multi-functional- pocket knives, corkscrews that also become corks… Well, your decor can serve double duty in small spaces as well.
Go beyond posters and art pieces and try using wall decor to define separate areas. Burkatron’s Leather Magazine Holder is perfect in an entry way or living room, Francois et Moi’s Copper Message Board carves out a work space, and Hello Lidy’sPlant Wall Grid is a kitchen showstopper. (ps- if you can’t drill into your walls, Command Hooks can be retrofitted for these projects as well! Just double check the weight load.)
Conceal, Don’t Feel (stressed about the mess) If you can’t get it off the floor or put it on the wall, cute storage is a must. Target has been killing it with their organization collections (photo credit: Target). They have wire, woven, & wooden bins & baskets that look straight out of a design magazine. A lot of them are on sale now too! Alice & Lois has a great DIY rope version as well.
I like to use baskets in the living room to store gaming controls or extra blankets, long bins in the closet as a stand-in sock drawer (not enough space in the apartment for a full sized dresser), & small trays to manage paper mess.
In college I’d hold on to pieces thinking I’d turn it into a cosplay or upcycle it. But, those days never came. My current, small apartment closet can’t afford to become a holding space for anything I don’t love. This helpful article from Brit + Co walks you through how to tell if a piece is on it’s way out, can be revived, or when to replace it.
Going through with an honest friend also helps 😉
Moving Forward The greatest organization advice my mom ever gave me was this: When you’re out shopping, do you love an item so much you’re willing to dust it? Each and every item you buy needs some kind of maintenance, and the more you buy, the more stuff you have to take care of. For now though, Design Sponge has a great cleaning maintenance downloadable guide.
Remember, invest in things that make you happy! Hopefully this spring clean helps you declutter and see what those things are. Let me know if you want o see more organization posts! Maybe a room by room organization breakdown?
A future series is in the works on how to shop for quality clothes so you can apply the same clean mantra to your wardrobe.
Segmenting (or supreming) citrus is a great way to remove the bitter taste of the pith & dress up any dish. This is a basic knife skill you can master with a bit of practice in one day! Use a sharp chef‘s or parring knife to get clean cuts.
1| Slice off the top and bottom of the orange enough to see the flesh.
2| Bracing the now flat side against the cutting board, work your knife between the skin and flesh trying to follow the curves of oranges as closely as possible. (The fruit left on the skin is a nice snack if you can’t wait until you’re done segmenting. That might be me every time…)
3| With the skin successfully removed, cut the orange segments away from the pith.
Some cooks like to keep the orange in hand (like pitting an avocado), some like to leave the orange on the cutting board. I found that holding it in hand gave me better control & access.
Halfway around the orange you’ll start to wonder why is this step necessary…
4| You made it! Two options: you can take a bite out of the pith leftovers to understand why this was worth it… OR squeeze out all the juices left behind and save it. (First time segmenting an orange, I took a bite of the pith. I will never doubt again.)
If you’re making the breakfast bowl from ctrl + curate, add the juices right into the yogurt.
Picture perfect segments! Use your new skill and make the breakfast bowl as seen here.
Easy life hack coming your way! I had this method lined up awhile go, but was just waiting for enough glass jars to pile up… Any-who, follow along for the easiest, non-toxic way to remove labels from glass jars.
a pot deep enough to surround your jar
3 T baking soda
Fill your pot & jar with water. With the jar submerged in the pot, bring the water to a boil. Very important to bring have the jar already in the water! It’ll keep it from experiencing an extreme change in temperature and keep it from cracking.
Once the water is boiling, add the baking soda and let sit for ~10 min. Using metal tongs, run your jar under warm water. The temperature should be safe to handle now to gently peel off the first layer of the label, leaving just the adhesive behind. Return the jar to the boiling water for another 10 minutes. Remove the jar, and gently use a sponge to remove the leftover adhesive. Depending on the kind of adhesive the label had, the last step might require a couple of passes in the bath.
Now your jars are label free and sanitized! Extra organisation points: I like to use chalkboard paint (from the Valentine’s candle DIY) on the tops. Several of the jars will be showing up later for a candle DIY too, so keep checking back!
Feb 1 Free Museum Day
Participating Museums, times vary
Shedd Aquarium, The Adler Planetarium, & Field Museum are offering admission free for IL residents throughout the month of Feb. more details Feb 1 IDSA Coaster Break
Kaiser Tiger, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Monthly, IDSA (Industrial Design Society of America) sketching & networking event. Come meet other design professionals in Chicaog! more details
Feb 7 ArtFEED
The Art Institute of Chicago, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Meet other young art lovers over a creatively composed meal and a talk from a museum expert at ArtFEED. 21+ more details + ticket info
Feb 12 2nd Fridays
Chicago Arts District, 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Free art crawl through the 30+ creative spaces and galleries in the Chicago Arts District. Showcasing an exciting display of art and artists from Chicago and beyond. more details
Feb 14 Love Dose (Dose Market)
Morgan MFG in Fulton Market, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Dose Market is a ever-changing marketplace to meet newmakers, bakers, chefs, designers and artists in one spot, letting you shop like a boss. more details + ticket info
Feb 20 Coffee & Conversation
Mac & Cheese Productions, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Coffee & Conversation is a Chicago-based community of entrepreneurs and innovators who share ideas, resources, and inspiration. more details