Ultimate Spring Cleaning is a 30-day project to clean and declutter not only your house, but your life. Each day you’ll get a housecleaning assignment, an assignment that involves the world around you, and a project to clear your mind. You can start anytime at the Ultimate Spring Cleaning main page.
We started Ultimate Spring Cleaning 30 days ago. Today we draw to a close with one last task for each track, and then you can deservedly sit back and feel satisfied about a job well done.
I hope this project has been of some help to you. Please, let me know if there are certain tasks you’d like to know more about, if you find anything confusing, or just make note of your progress. I’ll tend to the USC and improve on it as time goes by, so check back.
Your Home: Recycle, Then Toss
If you’ve done the steps outlined over the past 30 days, all that remains are boxes or bags of items that you don’t use, and that really aren’t useful to anyone else either. The final step before hitting your dumpster is to pull out everything recyclable:
- First, the usual things your community recycles: clean paper, cardboard, plastic containers, glass containers, styrofoam, aluminum…check with your local recycling agency for the full list of what they’ll accept.
- Fluorescent lights, chemicals and oil-based paint should be taken to your local recycling depot (often at the local refuse transfer stations). If you open mostly empty cans of latex paint and leave them to dry, the hardened paint can be thrown in with the trash. For fuller paint cans, you can get paint hardener at any hardware store.
- Most of your electronics should be recycled as well:
- Computers, monitors and peripherals
- Cell phones, MP3 players and PDAs
- Any batteries that can be recharged
- Used printer ink cartridges
There are now recycling programs through some computer companies and office supply stores like Staples. There is usually a fee involved with recycling larger items, but cell phone recycling is usually free, and you can actually get a credit by turning in used ink cartridges.
- Finally, CRT televisions or computer monitors. Due to their toxic nature, CRTs usually incur a cost for recycling. Pay it. Don’t be the guy who puts a big old TV in the street in the dead of night so that we taxpayers have to share the cost of disposal.
The point here is to be responsible and minimize the amount of crap that goes to the landfill, because that’s where everything else is going. If it’s a small enough batch to fit in your trash can, put it out there now. If there are larger items, you’ll either have to drive it out to a transfer station or call a junk collection company—if you have furniture, the latter might be best, because they’ll sometimes find a home for that old sofa.
Stay strong and don’t pick anything out to keep. Get rid of it all. Do it now. And one last time, be ruthless.
Your World: Make a Nutrition Plan
Think about how much better it feels without grease and chemicals flowing through your bloodstream. Maybe without eating all those white carbs and that corn syrup you’re a little less glassy-eyed by 3 pm. Perhaps the green leafy vegetables and legumes have made you a little more regular. It’s possible that without as much caffeine you sleep better at night.
Keep that in mind as you plan what you want to eat (and not eat) for the rest of your life.
No matter how much you exercise, about 80% of your ability to get rock-hard abs is tied to the food you eat. Much of your general health and well-being is also based on the fuel you consume. Right now, determine your goals—health, fitness, energy—and then think about how you’re going to eat in order to support those goals.
Think about the high-quality food you’ve been eating this month, and decide how you want to work it into your meals. How can you get more protein in the morning? Is there a lunch spot where you can eat healthy soups or sandwiches? When you come home after a day of work, are you craving red meat? Is it easier for you to have your vegetables in a salad, or juiced?
A nutrition plan is really a meal plan. By now you should have some healthy recipes, and a couple of go-to cookbooks (a new one to try is Jamie’s Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver—it includes tons of photos and ways to mix-and-match ingredients so that you can quickly go “beyond the book”). Continue to plan in advance what you’ll eat, continue to prepare large batches of food that you can separate into portions and refrigerate or freeze, and continue to make yourself a healthy shopping list to support your goals. (Subscribe and get a printable list free!)
Finally, continue to give yourself a weekly “cheat meal” to eat anything you crave.
Yourself: Reward Yourself
Speaking of cheating, your very last task in the Ultimate Spring Cleaning project isn’t really a task: reward yourself for your month of great work.
Do or buy something you really want. Schedule that trip. Head to the park and sleep on the grass. Get tickets to that game or concert. Eat a Double Down Sandwich (although I’m not sure you really want to do that). Bake some cookies and eat them all. Go relax in the gym’s hot tub. Flirt with some women.
Whatever you want and can afford, give it to yourself. Avoid buying more stuff if you can, but make yourself happy.
Then review the lessons and continue the paths you started in this project. Life goes on, and so should your search for a better life. Ultimate Spring Cleaning may be my little idea, but the ultimate path of your life is yours.
Don’t forget to meditate. Come on back next year.
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