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Mary Dishigrikyan is a fourth-year Psychology and English student at UCLA. She is a logophile with a passion for puns and Disneyland.  


Since it’s officially June, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to spend your lazy-hazy-crazy days of summer. A dip in the pool (or several) and oceanside tanning are givens, but another thing to think about are projects to take on this summer. Making major changes in our lives and/or lifestyles always feel nothing short of rejuvenating, and freeing up some time to do so in the summer is necessary. Plus, I bet we could all benefit from clearing our minds about the lack of cleanliness and organization in our surroundings. Can’t think of things to do? Here are some potential projects to get you started:

Revitalize your wardrobe

Closet

photo credit: Rubbermaid Products via photopin cc

Peek inside your closet and tick off, on your fingers, the number of items you’ve only worn once (and that was eons ago). If it takes you two hands or more to do this, then you’re in need of some gargantuan wardrobe renovation. If your closet is already small and cluttered to begin with, this can immensely help free up space you never knew you had. If you still find that your stuff is cluttered and messy after throwing clothes out (or better yet, donating them), storage bins come in handy, and you can even try to empty a drawer in a nearby dresser to compactly fit folded/rolled clothes. The best part about this is the shopping spree you can go on afterwards to reward yourself! It’s the perfect opportunity to revamp your style and put together brand new and undoubtedly compliment-inducing outfits!

On a similar note…

Stop hoarding! You know you’ve still got your pre-algebra notes from the 7th grade. And those scrapbooks that have been collecting dust for the past 5 years. Crafts that you made in kindergarten, or received in kindergarten from friends you haven’t spoken to since the ’90s. College textbooks. Unused furniture.

Get. Rid. Of. All of it. Of course it’s not really the case, but metaphorically speaking, you can breathe sooo much better without all this…stuff…lying around. And that’s really the only word that can describe it – STUFF. Stuff that you honestly don’t need. Discard old things to make room for the new. It’s okay to be sentimental every now and then – and certainly, revisting old memories as you decide what to throw out will do this for you – but you’ve also gotta allow room for bigger, better stuff. Or better yet, no stuff at all! The simpler and freer your living space, the better.

Yelp. is. Awesome.

Embrace it. Love it. Use it to discover places around you that you’ve never heard of or have heard of but haven’t had the chance to visit yet. Driving long distances are therapeutic in their own way, and driving (long) distances to get to new, exciting, and scenic places is even better, because then you have the journey AND the destination to look forward to. Take a trip to the beach or a nearby lake, if your location permits, or drive to a remote meadow filled with flowers and sunshine and the smell of giddiness. This is a must if you’re lucky enough to live close to a national park.

Meadow

photo credit: Mike Hornblade via photopin cc

Or, you can give yourself a mini-history or art lesson with a visit to the museum, or get dressed and check out the hippest rooftop bar within a 5 mile radius. The possibilities, while not quite endless per se, are plentiful!

Learn to play an instrument

This is a task which presents itself on the bucket lists of many, and if it’s something you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t fulfilled, now’s the time! This has the potential to be one of the most rewarding projects to take on, mostly because being able to play an instrument immediately puts you, like, 10 points higher on the coolness scale (just kidding! You’re awesome the way you are). It’s also truly amazing to figure out what you’re capable of learning, whether it’s self-taught or whether you’re learning through somebody else’s instructions. For all you know, you could be this generation’s Mozart.

Piano

photo credit: hillary the mammal via photopin cc

Try out some new hobbies that you may grow to love

Okay, so maybe you’re not this generation’s Mozart, but maybe you’re this decade’s Emily Dickinson! Tread the waters of some new activities and hobbies, such as writing, running, cooking and baking. Engage in activities that are stimulating, but relaxing – plenty of people use cooking and baking as ways of unwinding, so try it for yourself if you’re not already into it! Other useful things to learn that you may find you like are learning HTML (Code Academy is an awesome website to do so) and photography. Read some tips online, or take a class or two at your local community college – you can make your iPhone pictures look straight out of Ansel Adams’s portfolio.

Liven up your home with some DIY decorations

DIY
photo credit: bianca carmo via photopin cc

This is the best way to make all your Pinterest dreams come true. How many times have you seen a photograph of the interior of a house online and thought to yourself, “wow, I wish that was my home,” or “I NEED [INSERT COOL CRAFTY THING OR SOMETHING THAT WAS PROBABLY PURCHASED AT ANTHROPOLOGIE HERE].” Well, there’s no reason for you not to have your home look like the ones you see in photographs. Entertain yourself with some actual projects or two. Take on DIY tasks such as tin-can-and-jewelry lanterns (tea tins are the cutest in the world!), or making Star Wars-themed felt dolls and finger puppets (not entirely functional, but there is a book about it and it is awesome.) Other things you can do include converting extra clothes hangers into scarf hangers, placing tealight candles in small bowls of fragrances such as coffee beans, and re-use old/empty jars to store spices and other dry foods.

What projects do you have planned for this summer?