Finding it hard to spring forward with cleaning chores? Not terribly surprising, after such a long, hard winter. Let me see if I can be of assistance. Will it help, for example, if I tell you there’s science that suggests living in a clean and tidy home supports mental health?
Okay, good, stay with me. Now think about how putting the house in order now might help you bounce better into the new season. Right? Great work! Hesitating now because you’re not sure where to begin? Hang in, I’ve got you covered there too. Check out these tips:
Start by making a list of chores that need to be done. That’s where it all flows from. Decide if you’ll clean one room at a time or task by task. Pencil in enough time so that you don’t feel rushed. If jobs are divided among family members, set user-friendly deadlines.
The science of design also tells us we need well-conceived tools to work effectively. In my experience, that’s certainly true of tools for spring cleaning.
Start with the humble cleaning bucket, not all of which are made equal. Libman’s Clean & Rinse bucket is a clever, flexible, and highly portable example. It has two chambers—so you can use one for soapy water and the other for clean. Or you can use one chamber to toss dirty rags into. Or to carry cleaning products.
There’s a four-gallon bucket with a removable wringer chamber that I like, especially when it’s paired with one of Libman’s cotton string mops, which are well-suited to cleaning up sloppy spills or outdoor surfaces, like decks and porches. Replaceable heads for string and tornado mops are machine- washable.
I use the wide-mouth utility bucket to hold my biggest mop or a window squeegee. It has a spout on either end that makes it easy to dispose of dirty water.
If it’s a job that will last over a few days, or if multiple helpers are involved, I put a communal bucket with soapy water by the back door. Folks drop dirty rags in as used, so they are ready to collect for laundry and don’t sit in a damp, bacteria-breeding pile.
I keep cleaning tools and solutions organized with caddies. Libman has larger hand-held models that can be loaded up and easily carried room to room. Small caddies can be placed on, beside, or under the sink, or be hung up. Ventilation holes mean kitchen tools dry faster. Use them to keep site-specific items within easy reach—say a stain solution in the laundry room, or a veggie brush in the kitchen.
As you clean, check smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms, and change filters on air purifiers and furnaces where necessary.
Think about ventilation: open windows when you can. Dust and vacuum like a fiend—yes, that means wiping down all the lightbulbs:) Consider investing in an air purifier.
Make a note while you go of any small repairs that need to be done. This is a good time to edit rooms generally—get rid of old magazines and books, put away winter accessories, and repurpose or donate décor pieces that no longer serve your needs or reflect your style. Want more tips? Check out this segment I did with CHCH TV.
Recognize that devoting extra time to household chores shouldn’t mean ignoring self-care, especially this year. When you need a break from spring-cleaning:
- go for a walk
- call a friend you’ve missed over the winter
- write a real-live paper card to a far-away
- sit by an open window and read for pleasure
- indulge in a spa moment (got hand cream and cotton gloves ready?)
- do a meditation exercise
- plan on take-out for dinner
- buy yourself spring flowers
Balancing work and downtime will ensure that you—and your home—will be ready to enjoy a glorious spring in 2021.
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Cover photo by Kelly Lacy from Pexels