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7 Spring Cleaning Tips That Will Make Your Home Shine

It's about time for a detox.

Home Improvement

Despite all that's going in the world, it's still that time of year again. Bright nail color shades, bright makeup trends, and everyone's favorite —spring cleaning. Now, more than ever, it can prove to be beneficial to keep yourself busy while being productive and busying yourself with decluttering and detoxing your space can offer a reset you didn't know you needed. It can also prove to be deeply therapeutic.

Now, before you start thinking about the drawer full of hair products or the clothes in your closet you've been meaning to give away, we want to give you some tips on how to spruce up and declutter without feeling overwhelmed.

Make A To-Do List

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I am a firm believer in writing it down and making it plain. A to-do list is a must-have tool because it keeps you focused on what you need to get done and it's gratifying to see your progress as you check tasks off. If you're planning on doing a full home cleaning, make a detailed list for each room.

Tackle One Room (Project) At A Time

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A few years ago, I read a blog on how to keep a space organized that really stuck with me: Every day, set a timer for twenty minutes and focus on the spot in your home that needs the most attention. I'd like to think the same rule of thumb could apply here. Instead of looking at your house as a whole, dedicate a specific amount of time (no more than an hour) to each space you'd like to whip into shape.

Is the pantry just a hot mess that you can no longer stand to look at? Are you tired of not being able to find things in the junk drawer you store stuff in? Are pots and pans falling out on you when you open your cabinets? Make those areas your focus. If you're a person that is going to get caught up watching the new season of Queer Eye (be sure to watch episode 5) or chatting with your best girlfriend, set a time limit you feel comfortable with, turn off the television, silence your phone, and knock that thing on out.

Donate It or Throw It Away

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So you've decided to clean out that junk drawer full of stuff. The first thing you should do is empty it entirely. It's difficult to sift through things if you're trying to decide what you don't need while it's still piled on top of each other in a drawer. Lay everything out and make a keep, donate, or throw out pile. The key here is to be real with yourself. Have you used that hair product that has sat unopened over the last six months? Are you really going to use that thing you picked up in the $3 section at Target? If the answer is no, it's time to let go and give it to someone that would make use of it or throw it out if it's expired.

This practice is one that can also be applied to your kitchen, specifically the pantry or the kitchen cabinets and drawers filled with canned goods you haven't thought about since last spring, not to mention all of those cute kitchen accessories you've picked up on HomeGoods runs. Donating canned food to your local food bank is a way to clear your pantry and help feed your community. If you're unsure of how to connect with your local food bank, Feeding America is an excellent resource.

Oh, and I haven't forgotten about all of those dishes and kitchen accessories you aren't using — you can donate those to a charity of your choice. If you don't have one you love just yet, Habitat For Humanity's ReStore's is a personal favorite.

Organize By Season

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I know it's not quite time to pack up our winter coats just yet since there could be what my mom calls an "Easter snap," which is the cold weather that comes along just when you thought you were going to pull out your favorite sundress from last season. But, when it's finally time to start packing that winter gear away, be sure to pack it up and store it. If you live in a small space and don't have room in an additional closet, under the bed storage containers make great options for storing items you aren't using without taking up useful space.

If You Haven't Worn It In A Year, Bid It Adieu

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Speaking of clothes and closets— spring offers an opportunity to get rid off things that no longer fit, you haven't worn in years, or items you don't like anymore. If you're in need of some extra cash for your next trip or are looking to pay down some debt, consigning clothes is a solid option.

If there are charities or causes you enjoy donating to, here's a chance to bless someone on your quest to organize your home. I enjoy giving my gently used clothes to domestic violence organizations so that women who are in need of clothing for job interviews have options. If you don't know where to start, a quick Google search can offer up many charitable causes — but be sure to vet the organization to verify who they serve and who receives what you donate.

Make It Look Good

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One of my pet peeves are wire or mismatched hangers. Yoil (my mom) instilled that in me. That may seem like a weird flex, but I enjoy looking at an organized closet when I got dressed each day, especially since I am working with a small space (thanks LA). I love a good velvet hanger, which I usually pick up from TJ Maxx. They're thin, so they save space, typically keep my clothes from slipping off the hanger onto the floor, and look nice. What's not to love?

Get Those Dust Bunnies

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Last but not least, it's time to clean that carpet and wipe down every nook and cranny in your home, again make sure you're taking it step-by-step. The key to getting the dust that made itself at home during the winter is to start at the top of each room and work your way to the bottom. That means wiping down the ceiling, light fixtures, the walls, and baseboards. Next up is all of the furniture and appliances in each room. If you're someone with allergies, be sure to change your air filters. Your sinuses will thank you!

Spring cleaning doesn't mean turning your house upside down. It should be a time to show your home some love while prepping you for a productive rest of the year. So make that to-do list, get that playlist going, and make your space shine.

Featured image by Getty Images.

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Originally published on March 23, 2019

Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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