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Spring Cleaning and Decluttering Tips

By Tracey Satterfield

Living in a clean and uncluttered environment has many advantages. Not only is it good for your physical well-being, but also your mental state. How often have we been overwhelmed with anxiety before finally making the time to do a little cleaning and organizing? We instantly feel less weight on our shoulders when we remove some of the clutter around us.

Many people confuse decluttering and organizing with cleaning. However, decluttering and cleaning are two very different things. The first step to “spring cleaning” is decluttering. Here are a few basic organizing tips that really impact the look of a home:

•Place all dirty clothes in a basket or container. It’s best if each family member has a separate container in their bedroom or bathroom, so when they undress, they can drop their clothes in immediately.
•Make a rule that all family members need to bring their cups, plates, and utensils to the kitchen every night before going to bed.
•Place a trash can in the kitchen, laundry room, all bedrooms, and bathrooms.
•Make it a daily habit to pick up all shoes, jackets, toys, and school/work items from shared living areas each night before going to bed.
•Keep mail contained to one area. Go through it weekly and throw away all junk mail. Keep bills that need to be paid in a file.
•Make your bed. Bedrooms look much more organized when you complete this simple task.

Our health can be negatively affected by not keeping our home clean. Often, individuals can become physically ill from dirt, mold, dust, and other unsanitary items such as toilet seats, countertops, and bedding. Allergies, colds, rashes, and even flu-like symptoms can occur.

Making housecleaning a priority can be tough in our busy lives because it requires time, energy, and effort from the whole family. Another option is to hire a cleaning service to help with scheduled, consistent cleaning of your home.

If you want to tackle this important task on your own, here are some basic suggestions that make a big difference:
•Wash your bedding. It is important to wash/change your sheets weekly, especially if you have animals who like to snuggle. Animals leave behind dander, fur, and other allergens that you inhale each night while sleeping.
•Vacuum floors often. Even if you don’t have time to clean the whole house, you’ll be amazed by how vacuuming the carpet will improve the look of a room. Vacuuming also helps to remove animal hair, dirt, and dust. If your vacuum has a bag or filter, be sure to change/clean it often. This will also help to keep dust mites out of your home.
•Wipe down kitchen and bathroom counters daily. Just think how many hands are touching these areas as well as containers, grocery bags, cans, food, school bags, pocketbooks, and mail. The germ sources are numerous.
•Clean toilets weekly, especially the seat, which is in direct contact with the body.
•Dust your home at least twice a month. Everything in your home can collect dust. Ceiling fans, blinds, picture frames, artificial plants, bedspreads, pillows, rugs, furniture, shelves, and even unused toys are a few of the items that can collect dust. Some people experience an improvement in their allergies simply by keeping dust under control.
•Sanitize doorknobs, light switches, cabinet handles, toilet handles, and even car door handles. We are constantly touching these items with our hands. This is often how illness is spread from family member to family member.

If a family can make decluttering a priority, half the battle is won. The other half is spending a little time cleaning regularly. If everyone in the family pitches in, great progress can be made in two hours or less.

Try to devote one hour to picking up and decluttering. Then, spend the next hour dividing responsibilities to make the cleaning possible. Mom can take the bathrooms, Dad can take the kitchen, and the children can vacuum and dust. The next thing you know, anxiety is lower, and mood is improved. Guess what, kids? Keep your ears perked because you may hear the words, “Let’s reward ourselves by grabbing a bite to eat and seeing a movie!”