Spring Cleaning Tips Not Related To The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Spring Cleaning Tips Not Related To The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up


If another person talks about how “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” changed their life, I swear I’m going to…

do nothing about it :) Did I get you there?

I have the book but haven’t gotten around to reading it. And I do have to say, I’m a little tired of the hype. 

As a self-proclaimed “hoarder” (a title I hold with a tiny bit of pride, actually), I tend to accumulate a lot of things and have trouble getting rid of them. Although I keep some items for sentimental reasons and “what if” situations, I mainly just collect more items than I get rid of. 

Now that it’s spring and I can actually see everything that has caught dust over summer, fall, and winter, I want to share with you a few of my weird but hopefully helpful tips on spring cleaning. (Note: None, literally none of this has been endorsed by Marie Kondo)

If you have trouble purging your clothes, go through them during an off season. 

For whatever reason, I find it a lot easier to part with items I haven’t worn in a long time if I’m parting with them in an off-season. For example, It’s a lot easier for me to get rid of an old summer dress in March and dingy sweater in July. I know that I haven’t worn some of my dresses in a really long time and if I find them in my closet and don’t really seem to care much for them, I know it’s time for them to find a new home.

Having those items out of sight lets the decision making process easier for me, because I know that I’ve lived without that item for a good period of time without needing it

Promise yourself to replace intimates and accessories. 

We often forget to go through intimates, socks, etc.–things we use on a daily basis–because we use them on a daily basis and they aren’t seasonal. It’s important to go through this stuff and throw out the ill-fitting item, outdated items, and items that have holes in them. If you’re anything like me, the idea of getting new items in their place can be pretty exciting. Promise yourself to get new bras when you toss the old, new socks when you toss out the old, etc. 

Turn your unloved but good quality items into a little cash

Take your clothes and accessories (not intimates though, ew) to secondhand stores that buy gently used items. You might get a little cash out of it. You can also consider selling your items online, too, but I personally find that to be a lot more work than taking garbage bags of clothing to a secondhand clothing store. It takes effort to get to the store, but you can get rid of your clothes in a matter of hours. Problem solved!

Set up a calendar for your skincare and cosmetics

Or any item that has to be tossed or replaced after a certain period of time. It might seem like a lot of work, but believe me, it’ll come in handy and you’ll be organized as hell. You could use a spreadsheet or set calendar alerts on iCal. 

Or, replace your items based on the calendar year. 

Replace your toothbrush and mascara every quarter. Your foundation, every new year. As long as you have a system that works for you, you’re good. Be sure to do a little research on the lifespan of your products. 

Clean your shoes, brah. 

I don’t know how often we think about this, but it’s worth cleaning your shoes after winter. If you’re like me and store shoes you wear on a daily basis in a closet with clean clothes…uhh that’s kinda weird right? Kinda like eating right next to a dirty bathroom, but not as dramatic. Just clean your shoes from time to time. Some shoes are okay to put in the washer and dryer, but you can use disinfecting wipes to clean the others, or special shoe cleaners if the material is more delicate. 

Reward yourself for cleaning. 

I’m a bit of a lazy person, with “bit” being an understatement. Cleaning isn’t my favorite thing to do, and clearing through and organizing clutter can be a major pain in the butt for me. In moments when I’m cleaning, I’m usually wondering how there are some people who actually like cleaning (I’ve met a few of you and I’m still wondering. And for the record, I don’t have anything against you or hate you). Anyway, I like to give myself a reward for cleaning. Nothing crazy, but something enough to make me want to do it. Like pizza. Pizza is a good reward for anything. 

If you have a lot of cleaning to do, set up a 30 day challenge and hold yourself to it. Then, give yourself a really large reward. Basically, just get yourself to do it. 

Actually create a system that works with your lifestyle.

If you like the minimalist look but are a hoarder, you’ll have to get creative to stash away the clutter. And, if you hide the clutter, you may forget you own certain items and buy them again, creating a vicious cycle. This is a moment where you have to tell yourself “No, I have a lot of things and I can’t live like a minimalist.” and then gear up for the lifestyle of a person who has a lot of things and needs creative but accessible storage. We all have to face reality and accept ourselves. 

Seriously, replace your bras. 

Ill-fitting bras showing through your t-shirts or dresses isn’t cute. If you’re in denial that your bra needs to be tossed (I think all of us have been here at some point), you need to check out this infographic. Good bras are important!!!  

Lifecycle of the Bra

If you need a new bra and not thrilled by the idea of going to the store to have yourself measured by a stranger (super awkward), you need to check out ThirdLove. Get 10% off your purchase at ThirdLove with the code TLSPRING10.

That’s pretty much what I’ve got for Spring Cleaning Tips. Do you have any to add to the mix? I would love to hear them, especially since I’m not very proactive when it comes to cleaning. 

Notes: I have nothing against Marie Kondo. She sounds pretty cool and I hope to get around reading her book soon. It has “Magic” in the title for a reason, folks. 

Playing Tourist – A Visit to Alcatraz

A view of Alcatraz Island from the ferry
A view of Alcatraz Island from the ferry

I have probably mentioned this before, but it’s worth noting here again that I’m a Bay Area native. I was born and raised in the Bay Area and have lived here my entire life. 

Which brings me to my point–I’ve lived here my entire life and I have never been to Alcatraz. Until now, of course.

Actually, I can ask any of my friends who were born and raised here and I can tell you only one or two have been to the infamous penitentiary. 

Why? Well, for one, it’s pretty difficult to just go there on a whim. You definitely have to plan ahead. Another reason? It’s right in the middle of all the tourist traps in the city. Fisherman’s Wharf is known for cheap souvenirs, windy cold weather, sea lions, Pier 39, and any other touristy thing you can think of.  

About four weeks ago, we made plans to finally take a trip to Alcatraz! Was it worth it? Absolutely. There were so many unexpected perks from this trip, like panoramic views of the city and East Bay and beautiful spring wildflowers. 

Here’s a recap of our trip: 

The view of Coit Tower from the waiting area
The view of Coit Tower from the waiting area

The waiting area and ticketing area is legit. The National Parks Service really knows how to herd crowds of people and streamline the process. While we were waiting, I snapped this photo of Coit Tower. 

A view of Alcatraz Island from the ferry
A view of Alcatraz Island from the ferry

We were sailing over rough water but our ferry got us to the island in one piece. That’s a view of the island from the ferry. 

As soon as you get to the island, you’re greeting by this gigantic sign. Really, you can’t miss it. 

Right when you get off the ferry, a ranger gives you a quick rundown of what’s happening on the island and where things are at. They have some special demonstrations throughout the day but the main attraction is the guided audio tour that takes you through the jail cells and various rooms of the prison. It’s included in the admission to the island. 

On the way to the guided tour, you’re taken to a room that shows the toiletries they used, the laundry area, and the showers:


Almost all the rows of jail cells looked like this, with the exception of solitary confinement cells. These cells were state of the art. 

Alcatraz Jail Cells
Alcatraz Jail Cells
Entrance to the admin building
Entrance to the admin building
Dining Hall Menu
Dining Hall Menu

Their meals were a mere 20 minutes long. Pictured above is the menu from the last day Alcatraz was in operation.

After the tour (which took about an hour), we walked around the island to take in the views. 

Sailboats on the bay
Sailboats on the bay

And that’s pretty much it! We headed back on a ferry back to the mainland right afterward. 

Some tips, if you’re planning on making a trip:

  • Book your tickets in advance. The ferries are usually booked one week out. 
  • Try to go in the early afternoon so that you’re there before the heavy winds kick in
  • Eat well before you go. There is food available on the ferry (hot dogs, nachos…) There’s no food on the island and you’re not allowed to bring food to the island. You can drink water though!
  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. There’s a lot of walking involved.
  • There isn’t much cell phone service on the island. Plan accordingly. 
  • There are other special trips available, such as night tours and combo trips to Angel Island. Take a look to see what they offer!

Have you been to Alcatraz? What do you think? 

DIY Felt Letter Board

DIY Felt Letter Board DIY Felt Letter Board

Chances are, you’ve seen really cute felt letter boards floating on around Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook in posts from other bloggers and cool brands. Sounds easy enough to shop around for a felt letter board and buy one, but, have you ever looked at the price tag on one of them? A small board can run you $50 and a large one could be $100-$120. That’s a lot to pay for  a message board, even a cute one. 

Since I didn’t want to pay $100 dollars for a board that came in a cute pink felt, I wanted to try a DIY version. There were a few roadblocks and no, the board is NOT perfect, but I actually prefer that imperfect handcrafted look for some reason. Maybe it’s because I built something with my own two hands…and it required a saw. 

Anyway, here’s more about the project! 

Cost of the project:

To be frank, I don’t think I cut a lot of costs for this project, but that’s because I really wanted to use a vintage frame. You can find much cheaper frames at thrift stores and get good ones on sale at craft stores. 

  • 11″x14″ Vintage Frame -$22 (I supported a small local business so I wasn’t too upset about paying a lot for this frame.)
  • Felt – $6 
  • Dowels – $12
  • Quartet Letters – $17
  • Total Cost for a 11″x14″ board: (22 + 6 + 12 + 17 = $57)

There was actually a lot of felt and there were enough dowels left over to make another board. You could actually make two boards if you purchased another frame and another set of letters, which would make it far more cost effective. 

DIY Felt Letter Board

Here’s how to make it!


  • Frame with about a 11″x14″ opening, or smaller. 
  • Felt in the color of your choice (I purchased 1 yard but didn’t use all of it)
  • Wooden Dowels ( I purchased 3/16″ x 36″ dowels and used a hacksaw to cut them down to size. It was pretty damn tedious, but I have enough dowels to make another board)
  • Hot glue gun and glue
  • Hacksaw (depends on if your dowels are the right size)

Note: Select a frame based on how long the dowels you purchase can be. If you want to have a really large board, say 24″x32″, you’ll need to make sure you purchase a bunch of dowels that will fit! 


If the dowels aren’t the perfect fit for your frame, saw all dowels to fit the opening of the frame from the back. I wanted my board to be vertical so I made sure all the dowels fit horizton

Make sure you have enough dowels to fit your board! Lay them over the frame. Since the felt takes up room, you won’t need to fill up the entire open area with dowels, but you should aim to cover 2/3 – 3/4 of the open area with dowels to be safe. 

Turn your frame over so the back side is up. Use the hot glue gun to glue the felt to the frame on the back of the frame at the bottom edge. Place a dowel over it and position it to to where you can see a sign of the dowel in the opening of the frame. Pull on the felt until it is taut against the dowel and make an accordion fold.  Glue in place. You’ll need to glue the dowels to the felt and the felt to the frame as you go. Keep repeating until at the end of the board. You’ll have to keep pulling the fabric taut and gluing. It’s difficult to explain but basically you’re sandwiching the dowels between the felt and gluing in place. 

Another approach you can take to build the board is to create a frame with the dowels that will fit within the dimensions of the opening of the frame. Then, place the dowel frame into the real frame.

It’s all complicated but basically just do what you’re comfortable with. This is by no means an easy project. It’s actually pretty tedious and frustrating but at the end of the day this board rocks. 

That’s it! You’re done! Put the letters in place and you’re good! 

DIY Felt Letter Board