5 tips for safe spring cleaning
Time to turn the page on winter doldrums and give a nod to spring. And no better time than now to think about spring cleaning, whether you endear or dread it.
Spring cleaning will help clear your home and mind – a sort of physical and mental decluttering.
Of course, older adults want to put personal safety at the forefront of any cleaning effort so you can continue to age in place for years to come.
With that always in mind, here are five tips to get your home clean for the spring.
Start with a list
Write it on a piece of paper or make notes in your tablet. But before you pick up a broom, mop or duster, make a list of what you want to accomplish. You don’t have to tackle every cleaning project every year. So set priorities on what needs your attention most.
For instance, if you use the kitchen, one restroom, your bedroom and the living room daily, focus on decluttering and cleaning them now. Or maybe there’s a closet that’s busting at the seams, but the dining room can wait.
The best part of a list is the satisfaction you get when you cross off completed tasks!
Create 3 important ‘piles’
Organization experts agree that when you clean and declutter, it’s smart to approach the process with three “pockets” in mind: Keep, Donate, Toss.
In each area that you spring clean, think about everything you touch. If you love it or use it, it’s a keeper. If you don’t love it and don’t use it, consider it’s level of future usefulness.
You’ll want to put broken, tattered, over-used and outdated items in the trash. For items that are still in good shape and likely useful to others, consider donating or even making some money off them.
And if you’re interested in making some money on items you no longer want, you might try online consignment shops, such as Poshmark, and ThreadUp, where you can post photos and sell a variety of things.
And make sure you get rid of items in the Toss and Donate pockets before you start the cleaning. No sense cleaning or moving around clutter.
Bring in some help
Consider asking a trusted family member or friend to help – or at least keep you company – as you take on the tasks. The benefits of having another set of hands or eyes include:
- safety. You can avoid overextending yourself.
- decisiveness. Another person can give impartial opinions on what to keep and what to let go of (because sometimes sentiment gets in the way of practicality).
- integrity. The helper can help you identify what needs more attention and what is clean enough.
- equity. You probably hate some tasks – for instance, dusting blinds or cleaning drapes. But your buddy likes to do them.
Focus on key areas
Some areas of the home deserve a touch of spring cleaning every year. Make sure you go through your:
- Medicine cabinet. Check for expired medicines and leftover prescriptions. Scratch out personal information on those labels before you dispose of them according to FDA approved methods. Wipe clean the cabinet inside and out. Then take stock to be sure it’s stored with relevant, well-identified prescriptions, over-the-counter medicine and first aid items.
- Documents. No matter where you keep financial, health and legal documents (an office, a drawer, the kitchen, etc.), you want to sort and organize them at least once a year. Keep the most relevant, up-to-date documents at the top of folders and mark the drawer for a trusted loved one to easily help, if ever necessary.
- Entryways and high traffic areas. To stay safe throughout the year, you want to regularly clear these spaces of clutter.
- Bathroom and kitchen. These two areas – where we use water the most – are the most susceptible to germs, bacteria, mold and mildew, not to mention slipping hazards. Use antibacterial products to wipe down surfaces.
You don’t have to get everything clean in a weekend, a month or a season. And it doesn’t have to sparkle.
Instead, focus on keeping your home space clutter-free year round to avoid trips and falls. Wipe down a space or two within your safe reach every day. Ask for help to get to areas or items that are too far, too heavy, too awkward or too much of anything for you to handle.
And finally, take time to appreciate your surroundings and the things you love around you. It’ll help you maintain a healthy, clean state of mind!
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