We all know that eating right and exercising is good for us. But did you know that spring cleaning is good for you? I found it hard to believe too. So, I did a little research into this outrageous claim. What I found was that, lo and behold, spring cleaning benefits your body, mind and soul. Just start with a small project and by the time your home is decluttered, sparkling and fresh smelling, you’ll have destressed, burned calories, uncovered lost treasures and brought your home back to sanctuary status. Now, before you crank up the music and start your air guitar solo on your mop, here are some fun and creative spring-cleaning hacks and their benefits.

Your makeup or toiletry bag may need a facelift

This is any easy spring-cleaning project to start with. First, empty out everything from the bag. Then turn it upside down and shake it over a garbage can to get any trapped bits out. If it’s machine washable, go ahead and toss it in.  If not, you can wipe it down with an antibacterial wipe. Be sure to let it dry completely. While it dries, check the dates on all liquids, pills and creams. Ladies, mascara may not have an expiration date on it, but it should be replaced every 3 to 4 months. Eye and skin infections are common problems with old, used and borrowed toiletries and makeup. So, say goodbye to anything expired, dried out or just scary. What you keep should be wiped down with an antibacterial wipe, allowed to dry and tossed back in. Since you now know exactly what’s in the bag now, you also know what you need. That gives you a good reason to head to the store and restock. Done! Be sure to repeat this exercise at least once a year.

Studies show that the cleaner you keep your personal products, the healthier it is for you and the less chance of you having a negative reaction.

Who was president last time you cleaned out your refrigerator?

Refrigerators are just one of those not-so-frequently cleaned areas in your home. Admit it, you only focus on it when you’re hungry. Now, really cleaning the fridge is more than just wiping down the shelves. You’ll need to remove all the food. Be sure to pop it into a cooler to keep it chilled for a bit – especially the frozen foods. As you empty the fridge, check expiration dates. When in doubt, throw it out! Pay special attention to condiments. Once your fridge is empty, wipe down every surface with a food-safe cleaner.  If you don’t have one, you can make your own. Here’s a quick recipe for a homemade, family-friendly all-purpose cleaner that’s safe and will leave your fridge sparkling and smelling fresh:

Homemade, Family Friendly All-Purpose Cleaner
Photo by Crema Joe on Unsplash
  • 2 cups of water
  • ½ cup of white vinegar
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 5 tsp Dawn dish soap
  • ½ tsp. of lemon juice

Stop! Before you load the fridge back up, give preferential treatment to healthy foods and snacks.  And don’t feel bad about tossing those foods you don’t want to be eating.  You’ve come so far!  You can do this! You are what you eat, so eat fresh and healthy.

Is it Easter or is that just a dust bunny?

I joke, but it’s all fun and games until someone has an asthma attack. Dust accumulates in areas you don’t even see and can quickly get out of control. If you do suffer from asthma or dust allergies, you may not feel as good as you can in your own home. These spring-cleaning hacks are some of the most inventive I’ve seen.  Who thinks of this stuff?

  • Lint remover roller to dust lamp shades
    • Not just for clothes anymore!  They’re perfect for removing dust and hair from material lamp shades. They’re also great for carpets and any surface that collects dust and hair.
  • Coffee filters to dust TV screens
    • TV screens are literally dust magnets. Dust is attracted to the electric charge they give off. And because washing your TV screen with any liquid cleaner can be damaging, coffee filters are the answer. They’re sturdy, attract and hold dust, and are inexpensive.
  • Pillowcase to dust ceiling fans
    • You’ll want to dust your ceiling fans often.  If too much dust collects, it sticks to the fan and won’t go away until you wash it off. That’s far too much work! All you have to do is take a pillowcase and put it over one blade at a time as if you were putting it on a pillow. As you gently pull the pillowcase off, the dust falls off the blade and INTO the pillow case, and not onto your clean floor.
Pets benefit from Spring Cleaning too!

If you’re a pet parent, you can’t forget your four-legged housemate. It’s important for your pet’s health that their bedding and toys are cleaned regularly. Have you seen what they drag their toys through? Here’s how to clean all your pet’s belongings:

  • Plush and soft toys
    • Your best bet is to put them into the washing machine
  • Hard toys
    • Get the loose dirt off by cleaning them with a damp cloth or brush. Then fill a bucket with one-part warm water and one-part distilled white vinegar. Soak the toys for about half an hour. Rinse them off and they are ready to go.
  • Food and water bowls, and toys that get filled with food
    • These need to be cleaned daily. Warm water and dish soap will do the trick.  If they’re dishwasher safe, pop them in.
  • Bedding
    • Go over with a lint roller, or take outside and shake to get hair and dirt off. Then wash in your washing machine using all-natural, fragrance-free detergent. Use a little less detergent than you do for your own clothes.

A happy, healthy pet makes you a happy, healthy pet owner.  That’s true!  Your pet lowers your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides. Pet owners also feel less lonely and get outdoors more often. Be sure to thank your pet!

The monster is your closet!

If your clothes closet is anything like mine, it’s a black hole with a gravitational pull so strong that nothing escapes it. Somehow things like velour tracksuits, Crocks, and clothes that never fit me, thrive in that environment. Yes, cleaning it out can seem like a daunting task. I can tell you it’s easier than you think, and incredibly rewarding. Follow these simple steps and you’ll have the closet of your dreams in no time:

  1. Take everything out – Yep! Everything! The goal is to only put back what you truly want
  2. Divide every last thing into three piles marked keep, donate and toss out
  3. Keep the basics – those pieces that fit well and you wear often
  4. Donate good, usable clothing that you don’t wear. Charitable organizations like Goodwill or The Salvation Army are always happy to accept gently used pieces
  5. Toss out items that are worn out, damaged or stained
  6. Put your keep pile neatly back into your closet
Photo by Sarah Brown on Unsplash

If you could use a few extra bucks, consign any good clothing you don’t’ want to keep. Poshmark makes it easy to sell like a pro.

Ready for a fun night with friends? Get some buddies to clean out their closets too. Then invite them to bring their discards over. Put everything in the middle of the room, put out some wine or beer, and the fun begins!

A clean and organized closet simplifies decision making and saves you time getting dressed. That adds up to a less stressful and rushed morning. Take that extra time and go for a walk, meditate, or stop for your favorite cup of coffee on the way to work.

The universal truth about spring cleaning

When it comes to spring cleaning, be realistic. Go at your own pace. It’s not a race after all.

Your reward will be an uncluttered, clean and healthy home for yourself, and a feeling of accomplishment and pride. I think American author Sue Grafton really gets the whole spring-cleaning thing. She put it best when she said: “When all else fails, cleaning house is the perfect antidote to most of life’s ills.”

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