It’s springtime! Seasonal bulbs are bursting through the earth to show off their beautiful array of colors, baby birds can be heard chirping hungrily from their nests, our favorite baseball teams are gearing up to thrill us through a new season, and it’s time to deep clean the house! Wait, what? How did amazing and fun things turn into chores? Good question. Spring cleaning has been around for generations. And, whether it’s a religious task, cultural mandate, or just an urge, most of us do it. Spring is a time for rebirth. So, as we say goodbye to the chill of winter and tuck away our long johns and chunky sweaters, the desire to renew our space seems innate.
Although the urge may be there, sometimes deep cleaning can be daunting and unappealing. After all, the idea of sitting outside, soaking up rays, and enjoying the first lovely breezes of spring is a lot more enticing than scrubbing grout! With that said, here are some tips to help you over the hump of procrastination:
Keep your eyes on the prize!
Countless studies have shown that mess and clutter lead to stress along with feelings of defeat, guilt, embarrassment, and anxiety — all emotions we don’t want linked to our homes. So, just like when we push through a bad workday or an intense workout, remember it’s temporary and going to pay off with a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.
Make it fun!
Put on your favorite podcast, start an audiobook, or crank up some upbeat tunes to keep your momentum going. Singing your favorite jam as you dance around your kitchen will make those tasks less grueling and the time will seem to go by much faster.
Speaking of time . . . time yourself!
It’s human nature to feel like unpleasant tasks take longer than they actually do. Plus, it makes cleaning a bit of a game. How much can you get done before that timer goes off? You’ll be amazed to see just how much you can accomplish in 15 minutes. Ready? Set? Go!
Add to your prize
Though an uncluttered, clean environment is a reward in and of itself, why not give yourself more incentive with an added bonus? This can equate to anything that makes you happy: a special bottle of wine, a break from cooking with a meal out or ordered in, or a spa treatment like a pedicure. (Remember, it’s almost sandal season. Time to get those tootsies looking their best!)
Something to keep in mind as we start our annual efforts this spring is our tools. This is the perfect time to make sure the things that make our day-to-day lives easier are in top shape.
So convenient and helpful, yet they can become loaded with all sorts of bacteria. The good news is they’re super easy to disinfect, and it’s definitely something to do more often than every spring once you decide which method you like. Soaking your sponge in white vinegar for five minutes, popping it wet into the microwave for one minute on high, or simply tossing it into your dishwasher will have it clean, sanitized, and ready for its next task.
What’s better than an appliance that cleans itself? Pop a bowl with a cup of water, two tablespoons white vinegar, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil in your microwave and set it for five minutes. Food particles will wipe away easily, and errant smells will be banished. Steam cleaned — boom!
If you’ve passed off the regular task of washing your dishes to a machine, now is the time to make sure this appliance is in peak performance mode. Filters are generally easy to remove for a quick scrub — consult your owner’s manual for instructions. Once you’ve replaced the newly cleaned filters, it’s time to clean the whole unit. You can buy a specific cleaner or you can again break out that ever-so-versatile white vinegar. Pour a cup of vinegar in a bowl and place it on the bottom rack. Set the machine to run on its longest, hottest cycle and walk away. Your dishwasher will sparkle like new!
Once you’ve got your kitchen done, don’t forget your trusty friend. Split a lemon in quarters, toss in some salt and a few ice cubes and flip the switch. It’s the simplest way to break up any residue and the odors that go along with it.
So, now you have some tips that will hopefully make your cleaning a lot more enjoyable and go by faster, as well as ideas on how to take care of the tools that help you every day. But there are a couple of other things to consider. This is the perfect time to extend your spring cleaning to your online presence. Whether that means revamping a website or just clearing out your email, set aside some time for this. An inbox with hundreds of unopened emails can cause the same sort of stress as a cluttered house.
On the subject of stress, this is also a wonderful opportunity to clear the cobwebs of the mind, so to speak. In other words, self-care. Similar to a New Year’s resolution, spring offers us another chance to incorporate something into our lives that somehow gets lost in the shuffle of our busy daily schedules. Consider something like taking an online class, gardening, meditation, or tackling that book you just keep meaning to read. Try not to avoid doing something for yourself because you think you don’t have time. Just like you realized how much you could get done in your home in a shorter amount of time than you imagined, you can also do something mentally and emotionally nurturing for yourself, if you make a plan. Okay, maybe you won’t read Don Quixote in a single sitting, but that doesn’t matter. A habit of substituting 15 minutes of TV with 15 minutes of reading will get you through it over time and onto your next book or other enjoyable activity. Happy spring!
CHECK OUT THIS INTERESTING PSYCHOLOGY TODAY STORY ABOUT THE ANXIETY OF CLUTTER HERE.
Written by Jillian A. Mills | Originally published in Neighbors magazine | 2021This article was posted by Cheryl Fallstead