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I mentioned in my last post that spring cleaning is a productive way to pass time in quarantine. Deep cleaning is healthy in a number of ways: decluttering the space around you declutters the mind and can lead to reduced stress and improved mental health; cleaning rids your spaces of dirt, dust, grime, and pathogens that carry disease; it’s exercise, among other reasons. Whatever reason you commit to spring cleaning, it’s probably a good one. Here’s a checklist of cleaning activities to complete for a sparkling, fresh home.
Marie-Kondo everything! I’m a huge fan of her philosophy of appreciating and caring for the things that bring us joy, and thanking and removing the things that no longer do, or never have, from our lives. My philosophy is similar; either you love it, you need it, or both. If none of those criteria are met, out it goes. You might be surprised how much stuff can accumulate over a year that you do not want or need – why burden yourself with it? Throw it away, give it away, or, once quarantine is over, have a yard sale!
In short, this means removing from any horizontal surface anything that does not belong there. Take everything that is not in its place – the jacket on the floor, the shoes on the chair, the papers on the counter, etc. – and put it in its proper place. If something is routinely out of place, though, consider moving it to the location toward which it gravitates; maybe it’s meant to be there. This also means that if things have been hastily and poorly put away, for example if coats are falling off their hangers, to put them away nicely.
Dust – everything.
Dust is actually largely composed of human hair and skin tissue. I know, I know – gross, but true. And it gets absolutely everywhere – the sides of door frames, the surface of blinds, even on crown moldings. If your duster isn’t doing the trick, wet a rag with a little water, pull it taut against your finger(s), and wipe the stubborn dust. Also, don’t just dust around things – dust in them and under them, as well. Yes, that means taking all your knickknacks off the shelf and replacing them, but hopefully you’ll have less of those anyway after following checklist item #1 ;).
Yes, I mean everything. Dust, dirt, and sweat all get into surfaces like chairs and sofas, as well as mattress pads, so vacuum them every once in a while. The difference in both appearance and smell after vacuuming is amazing! Perhaps you don’t think your dog sheds that much – until you vacuum your navy blue sofa and realize that it’s actually a shade darker than you thought!
This means wiping down mirrors, counters, applicances, etc., with a cleaner. It means mopping floors, or cleaning carpets, or both. It means wiping down things you may never have, even in places you can’t see. As we all have learned in life, just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. If something is worth doing at all, it’s worth doing it well, which includes doing it thoroughly. So wipe down the bottom of the utensil crock in the kitchen, or the back of the toilet. You’ll be glad you did, if only for the satisfaction of knowing what you did was done thoroughly and well.
Launder whatever you can.
We all know to change our sheets and towels every week and launder our clothes every few wears. But how many times do we remember to launder things like the dress that’s been sitting in the closet for five years (why do you still have that? See checklist item #1), the curtains on the windows, the pillows on our couches, or the comforters on top of our beds? While it’s true that these things do not get as dirty as often or as quickly as some others, (for example, sheets are what keep a mattress pad and comforter cleaner for longer), they do, in fact, accumulate dust and dirt and such, and deserve to be cared for as well as any other fabric item in a home.
Empty the garbage.
Something we always did in my parents’ house was taking the smaller trash cans, like those in bathrooms or bedrooms, and dumping their contents into the large trash can in the kitchen. Once that was done and/or the kitchen trash was full, it was then taken out to the garbage in the carport. Don’t neglect smaller trash cans, letting literal garbage stay in your home longer than it is welcome.
That means polishing any silver or glass, and treating any wood in your home as well. If you’ve fallen out of love with a wood piece in your home, try cleaning and polishing it (I like these wipes) and see if your opinion changes at all. The way to keep quality (and even not-so-quality) pieces in your life is to treat them with decency. That includes caring for them with cleaning and polish.
Spring cleaning may not be the most exciting way to spend a day, but it can bring you great satisfaction in a clean home and a job well done. After all that work and exercise, sit with a glass of water and enjoy your handiwork. Then, try to keep it that way!