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.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When we think of what a Tyrannosaurus looked like, we picture a gargantuan dinosaur with a huge mouth, formidable legs and tail, and inexplicably tiny arms. When we picture how it behaved, we might imagine it stomping and roaring onto a peaceful scene, single-handedly wreaking havoc and tearing the limbs off of anything it can find with its steak-knife-like teeth like a giant killing machine.

The image is probably fairly accurate, except for one thing—there's a good chance the T. rex wouldn't have been hunting alone.

New research from a fossil-filled quarry in Utah shows that Tyrannosaurs may have been social creatures who utilized complex group hunting strategies, much like wolves do. The research team who conducted the fossil study and made the discovery include scientists from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Colby College of Maine, and James Cook University in Australia.

The idea of social Tyrannosaurs isn't entirely new—Canadian paleontologist Philip Curie floated the hypothesis 20 years ago upon the discovery of a group of T. rex skeletons who appeared to have died together—but it has been widely debated in the paleontology world. Many scientists have doubted that their relatively small brains would be capable of such complex social behavior, and the idea was ridiculed by some as sensationalized paleontology PR.

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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.