Spring has sprung and we’re all itching to get out of our stuffy houses. But if you take some time to get your spring cleaning out of the way, you’ll be healthier and happier all season long.
Is It Worth It?
A messy house makes us feel badly, and can actually make us physically ill. A tidy environment makes us happier. It is also correlated with other healthy habits; well-organized people eat better, exercise more frequently, and generally enjoy better mental and physical health.
Let’s Get Started:
You’re going to need: brooms, mops, dust pans, rags, and cleaning solutions. Look for environmentally-friendly ones at the store; it’s also cheap and easy to make your own natural, non-toxic cleaners.
Start by cleaning your windows inside and out. Letting in natural light and fresh air reduces harmful bacteria in your home and boosts your production of vitamins B and D and mood-elevating hormones called endorphins. This does wonders for your frame of mind, and gives you a boost of self-confidence to tackle the rest of your objectives.
Everything in its Place:
Time to tidy up. This is a whole house affair, but we’ll start in the kitchen. Go through your pantry, fridge, and spice rack, and chuck anything that’s gone past its prime. For bonus points, dig through the cabinets and do a full-scale purge. Toss any kitchenware that you’re never going to use. Orphaned lids and melted plasticware? Gone. The electric sandwich maker you received during Christmas of 1989 and never opened? That will make a fine contribution to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. When your kitchen cabinets are feeling less burdened, scrub down the sinks and appliances, then mop the floor.
Next, it’s time to tackle your closets. A good rule of thumb to follow: if you haven’t worn it in a year, get rid of it. Making space in your closet could make space in your budget as well; take nicer items to the consignment shop and earn a little money for your time. Check out your bookshelves, tabletops, and mantelpieces; they tend to accrue a lot of junk. Put away everything that didn’t get put up correctly when it should have. Throw away all the random catalogues and coupons you haven’t looked at since they arrived. Sort through your media collection and pull out books, CDs, or movies that no longer interest you, and haul them to the pawn shop or used book store. Donate what you cannot sell. Getting unloved items out of your house makes room for things you will actually use.
Down and Dirty:
Once you’ve freed up the spaces and surfaces in your home, it’s time for dusting. Work from top to bottom. Dust the ceiling fixtures and fans, and attack dirt and grime hiding in the corners of the room. (If you have textured ceilings, this is where the dust bunnies start their breeding cycle.) Then, dust the tops of the door frames, wall art, and window casings. Follow that up with dusting the tops of tall furniture. Go lower with each pass, getting shelves and tabletops and furniture legs in every nook and cranny. Remember, work from top to bottom; your final dusting task should be your baseboards. This helps you remember to go after hard-to-reach places. Then you can move on to sweeping floors and vacuuming carpets. To prevent the furnace from undoing all your hard work, change the HVAC filter. Note the date so you’ll remember to change it again next month.
Now, you can bask in the glow of a job well done. Look at everything you accomplished — your house is fresh, tidy, and well-organized. Head out into the spring sunshine, because it’s going to be a beautiful day. And afterward, you have a nice, clean house to come home to.