Aaahhhh…the first signs of Spring! The days are getting warmer and longer and we can finally throw open our windows and let breezy fresh air into our homes.
It is also the time many of us turn our thoughts to “Spring Cleaning”. Welcomed by some, tolerated by most, dreaded by a few of us, here is why the springtime ritual can include activities that will make both you and your home healthier and happier.
Try a few of the easy steps below and you’ll give yourself and your home a boost of fresh energy, just in time for Spring!
Let the Sun in
Sun – beautiful sun! A good source of Vitamin D, and after a long cold winter – the strengthening sun begins to lift our emotional spirits. The dark dreary days of winter are behind us, and most of us will feel healthier with the longer, brighter days. Along with the sun comes the infusion of fresh air. Opening up windows to let stale air out and fresh air in is one of the easiest ways to begin. First grab your glass cleaner and enjoy cleaning the dust and streaks of winter away. As you open, check screens for tears and that they are fitting securely. Switch your furnace to a lower-humidity setting to prevent a build-up of moisture around windows, and change or vacuum your furnace filter. Window blinds deserve a quick dusting or a light vacuum, and fabric curtains would love either a cleaning or a shake outside to freshen up.
Make your bedrooms a springtime priority. Strip beds of everything, including bed-skirts and mattress protectors. Launder everything, including pillows. Flip your mattress both ways: head-to-toe and side-to-side – and give it a good vacuum. Dust, pollens and allergens just LOVE to settle into layers of bedding. A fresh start with a clean bedroom will get you breathing better and sleeping more soundly.
Sweep to the Music
Sweeping and mopping is a whole lot more fun when you turn up the radio or CD volume! Playing your favourite music will help you to lose track of the time and make vacuuming or sweeping from room to room enjoyable. You’ll be burning calories, and getting a bit of a strength workout too.
Off the Floor
Now is the time to do a clean sweep or vacuum behind and under furniture. Spiders, ants, bugs and those pesky “dust bunnies” find their way into every home. Getting things up and off the floor is a good start. Store seasonal or keepsake items in clear stackable totes, bins or on shelving. If bins are clear and labelled, it will be easy to find what you are looking for – imagine the time you will save the next time you search for a stored item! Don’t forget to transfer any goods you are currently keeping in cardboard boxes into plastic, as boxes over time will absorb moisture and will become musty, dusty and eventually mouldy.
Lighten & Brighten
Now is a perfect time to de-clutter. Try to find a few things that you can’t say you really love anymore and consider donating them. You are giving to charity while freeing up some space in your room, cupboard, or closet – a win-win for you. Don’t forget to celebrate your fresh and healthy home: move a few pieces of furniture around, maybe add a new splash of colour with some inexpensive throw cushions or a new lampshade – you will love the new look.
Out the Door
With the snow melting and air warming it’s time to store heavy sweaters and mittens away and pull out your spring clothes. What an excellent opportunity to do a quick purge of your seasonal clothes. It’s as easy as this: things you wore or used over the winter can be washed and stored. Now make a pile of anything you did not wear or use all season long. Try to keep only half of those items and donate the rest. You will feel great knowing you are helping others and creating more space in your closets.
Heave the Hazards
So many of us complete indoor projects over the fall and winter and it’s easy to accumulate paint cans/solvents etc., things that we know we can’t bring to the curbside. Take a walk through your garage, basement and storage areas with an empty recycle bin. Fill it with paint cans, oils, glues, aerosol cans, dead batteries, old phones & computers etc. The bin will make it easy to carry them and will protect your car during transit. Then pick a beautiful day to enjoy a leisurely drive to your local Hazardous Waste or Household Recycle Centre. It’s a great way to remove these items in an earth-friendly way.
Set small, realistic goals. Don’t expect to get your whole home organized and cleaned out in one day. Break it into manageable pieces – maybe plan to accomplish one or two rooms or activities per week. None of us have the time or energy to clean or organize for an entire day. And celebrate each success – don’t forget to stand back and admire your hard work.
Barbara Lindegger, Professional Organizer. www.successfulorganizingsolutions.ca.