This is what happens when people meet cleaning challenges head on.

Remember the last time your house felt clean?

It felt good, right? Everything back in the right place and your floors smelling like they've just been aired out in a garden can give you a deeper sense of relaxation and wellbeing than you might realize.

For instance, did you know that a clean space can make you more productive? If you're a parent — a clean home can help your kid do better in school. But that's still only the tip of the iceberg: Researchers have also found that people who work in neater spaces are healthier, that those who have a clean home sleep better and eat healthier. All that leads to you being an all around friendlier person, too.


Photo via Public Domain Pictures.

Perhaps you've been looking for such a transformative clean – the kind that can bring peace of mind to your life — but don't necessarily believe cleaning can be that powerful until you see it. Maybe you need proof from others' who've cleaned before you.

We've got five real, spectacular examples of how cleaning made a huge difference to people — in their homes and far beyond.

Let's start with our closets which, I think we can all agree, are tricky to get organized and clean.

If you, like so many of us, have haphazardly thrown everything you own into your closet and then pushed the door shut as hard as humanly possible, you likely dread opening it back up and looking for something to wear.

According to professional organizer Lauren White, the way you treat the rooms in your house is an extension of how you treat yourself. When you decide that it's time to improve home looks, you'll also be upgrading how it functions, which should help make the levels of stress you associate with your once-cluttered space dissipate.

If you're looking for tips about the transformative power of clean, here are a few nuggets of wisdom from White: Empty every space you're trying to organize completely; touch each item you want to discard to see if you truly need it; group items that should stay together; find a storage system that works for you; then let everything else go. The good vibes will follow.

Don't take our word for it, here's a closet that looked like it was hit by a tornado before White wrangled it into submission. How much calmer does that “after" photo make you feel?

Photos via Lauren White.

This cleaning magic doesn't have to begin and end in your bedroom closet though. There's a whole world outside your front stoop just waiting for you to jump in and help make it sparkle.

And you'll be far from alone in undertaking a public space cleaning project.

In the past few weeks, a new form of activism has sprung up under the moniker “#Trashtag." It's a holdover from a 2015 UCO campaign that's had new life breathed into it by social media. And “breathed into" is right, because with all the the cleaning that's going on in neglected outdoor spaces, people aren't just breathing sighs of relief in their newly cleaned homes, they're feeling more calm and comfortable outside, too.

One reddit user named Daniel picked up some trash on his way home and ended up making a noticeable difference.

Photos via Daniel/Reddit

Another user works with a local group in Jaffa, Israel to restore beauty to areas that had been previously overlooked by organizing cleanups that make public spaces accessible again. Their advice? Don't be afraid to get dirty. Pointy sticks can help rid you of a few pieces of garbage, but there's nothing quite as transformative as getting in there and cleaning up waste with your gloved hands and big bags for collecting trash.

“The only thing needed is your good intention and determination," the user writes. “Also [use] eco-friendly bags to dispose of [trash] properly, don't use plastic 'cause that defeats the purpose."

Photos via Jaffa/Reddit

In Northern Ireland, a group of friends cleaned plastic debris from the River Faughan. One of the group's members, Joel Edgar, told us that it's something they're going to continue doing every few weeks to keep the area looking pristine. “It made me feel like we were only scratching the surface," Eger said. “There's a whole lot more work left to do."

Photos via Joel Edgar.

In South Africa, Henning Lubbe, a 21-year-old activist, has made cleaning the world around him a huge part of his life and future. He started by simply picking up trash in his neighborhood. Now Lubbe is organizing cleanup initiatives with his friends and anyone else who wants to restore the world to its natural beauty.

“On my way to work every morning I pass this dumpsite," he told The Guardian. “I thought, why don't I clean it as part of the challenge?"

“I think this challenge can make a huge impact, especially in places like my town, where we have problems with waste management."

Photos via Henning Lubbe.

Now it's your turn: Whether you've got a closet to untangle or a park down the street you'd like to restore to its former glory, know that you can make a difference — in your life and others' — just by getting a little dirty for a few hours.

Through the power of clean, anything is possible -- whether it's a more beautiful earth or just peace-of-mind as you get dressed every morning. It doesn't take much to brighten the world around you. Even if you don't snap a picture, your impact will be felt.

Clorox believes clean has the power to transforms lives, which is why they've partnered with Upworthy to promote those same traits in people, actions and ideas. Cleaning up and transformation are important aspects of many of our social good stories. Check out the rest in the campaign to read more.

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Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Images via Canva and Unsplash

If there's one thing that everyone can agree on, it's that being in a pandemic sucks.

However, we seem to be on different pages as to what sucks most about it. Many of us are struggling with being separated from our friends and loved ones for so long. Some of us have lost friends and family to the virus, while others are dealing with ongoing health effects of their own illness. Millions are struggling with job loss and financial stress due to businesses being closed. Parents are drowning, dealing with their kids' online schooling and lack of in-person social interactions on top of their own work logistics. Most of us hate wearing masks (even if we do so diligently), and the vast majority of us are just tired of having to think about and deal with everything the pandemic entails.

Much has been made of the mental health impact of the pandemic, which is a good thing. We need to have more open conversations about mental health in general, and with everything so upside down, it's more important now than ever. However, it feels like pandemic mental health conversations have been dominated by people who want to justify anti-lockdown arguments. "We can't let the cure be worse than the disease," people say. Kids' mental health is cited as a reason to open schools, the mental health challenges of financial despair as a reason to keep businesses open, and the mental health impact of social isolation as a reason to ditch social distancing measures.

It's not that those mental health challenges aren't real. They most definitely are. But when we focus exclusively on the mental health impact of lockdowns, we miss the fact that there are also significant mental health struggles on the other side of those arguments.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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When Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin and his wife, Sarah Bloom, announced the death of their 25-year-old son Tommy on New Year's Eve, the whole nation mourned with them. Many also quietly wondered what had caused his death. It's not anyone's business, of course. But when a young, seemingly healthy person dies unexpectedly at home, the question lingers.

Rep. Raskin provided an honest answer to that question in a way that is both heartbreaking and perfect. In a statement published on Medium, Raskin and Bloom shared the details of Tommy's life so beautifully, it makes anyone who reads it feel like we knew him. It also exemplifies how to talk about a loved one who is taken by mental illness.

The statement opens:

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via Budweiser

Budweiser beer, and its low-calorie counterpart, Bud Light, have created some of the most memorable Super Bowl commercials of the past 37 years.

There were the Clydesdales playing football and the poor lost puppy who found its way home because of the helpful horses. Then there were the funny frogs who repeated the brand name, "Bud," "Weis," "Er."

We can't forget the "Wassup?!" ad that premiered in December 1999, spawning the most obnoxious catchphrase of the new millennium.

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