Do this soon and feel better fast: we’re talking about spring cleaning. It’s more than an annual ritual to suck up the winter dust bunnies under the bed.
When clutter, crud and chaos consume your space, stress generally consumes your mind. This Fast Company article explains the effects of clutter on your conscience. Needless to say, the more “stuff” you have piled up and around your place of refuge and relaxation, the less you get of either.
Amid the fresh spring air is an opportunity to clean your house or apartment from top to bottom, which will help you feel centered. Mentally and physically, spring cleaning is good for your wellbeing. That’s why we put together this quick guide to help you clean up and clear your mind.
- Clean from top to bottom.
Start with the ceiling and work your way to the floor. Begin with cobwebs and dust in the corners, then dust and clean furniture. Sweep, vacuum and clean your carpets last. That way, everything you stir up will make its way to the floor where you’re sure to get it before you’re finished. If your place is dusty, you might open a window while you work to circulate fresh air. Careful not to inhale too much dust or your sinuses will hate you. And the physical health benefit? Put it this way: if you sweep, vacuum, dust, do dishes and take out the trash, you can burn upwards of 350 calories without ever leaving home. Imagine the burn if you tack on activities like rearranging furniture, scrubbing the bathroom or organizing your bedroom or closets.
- Donate what you don’t need.
The typical rule of thumb is if you haven’t used something in the past year, you probably don’t need it. Check to see if you can donate any items to a local charity. Donating unwanted or unneeded household items such as kitchen utensils, clothes, appliances or furniture can be great for your wellbeing. You’ll feel better knowing someone else can use and enjoy the things you’d otherwise throw out, not to mention the tax deduction you’ll get for your donation (don’t forget to get a receipt—and itemize). You’ll also notice a lighter feeling in your living space as removing those items is the ultimate way to declutter. It’s also a great opportunity to get your steps in as you schlep items to and from your place, your car and the donation center. If you’re lucky, a few items will be heavy so you can really feel the exercise you’re getting.
- Don’t just stay inside.
It may be too early to start mowing the lawn weekly, but now’s the perfect time to weed your lawn or prep your garden for growth. If you plan to plant anything new this year, be sure to turn over the soil. If you didn’t rake last fall, you may want to start there. Gardening and yard work is a great workout. Depending on the size of your garden or lawn, you can burn between 100 and 150 calories pulling weeds. While you’re outside, burn another 70 to 90 calories washing your car and cleaning out the inside (a good vacuum is also a good way to get moving). Remember, spring cleaning isn’t limited to just your house and yard. And, if you do have a lawn that needs mowing, you’ll burn about 200 calories doing it (with a push mower, of course).
Organizing and purging unneeded items from your life can not only make space in your home, but also relieve undo stress. And if you’re having trouble parting with things, try reaching out to a specialist for help.