Thursday, April 5, 2012

Put the Fun Into Spring Cleaning

It is a fact that a living space that is free of clutter reduces stress, while a cluttered one not only increases stress for you, but for the people around you as well. Naturally, spring is the time of year to clean out our closets, make Goodwill donations and clear out the clutter in our living space. If you are looking for extra motivation to stay on task, see the tips below:

• In addition to improving feelings of industriousness and achievement, cleaning, in the form of scrubbing and/or moving from one room to another promotes physical exercise. Looking at spring cleaning as an opportunity for physical activity is a great incentive.

• Start your spring cleaning on a sunny day. It is not unusual to feel lazy and unmotivated when it is cloudy and rainy, but the sun can recharge your batteries. Do all you can to let the sunlight in, from opening the curtains and windows (if it is warm outside) to even going outside to bask in the sun as a way of enhancing your energy to get things done.

• Create a fun environment by including some favorite music and having some favorite snacks and drinks on hand. Actions such as these can go a long way in making cleaning a fun experience, rather than a laborious chore.

• Use baking soda as a healthy cleaning alternative. It’s chemical free, safe for kids and can have a variety of uses. To create your own cleaning solution, stir baking soda in two gallons of water. It does the job when it comes to cleaning surfaces and baking soda alone can deodorize carpets, upholstery and even diffuse trash odor if you sprinkle some in the garbage can after you empty it and before you replace the bag. Baking soda can also be used to freshen clothes by filling a sock with it; then, tying it off; place the sock in your drawers or your gym lockers to keep your clothes from acquiring that musty smell.

• The more help, the merrier. Get your family involved as much as possible. If kids are taught early the value of cleaning, these habits can carry over later in life. Delegate tasks as much as possible; for example, delegate each of the rooms in your home to a person and for daily chores, post a note on the fridge that assigns specific tasks to family members. Talking with friends and neighbors about your cleaning plans can reinforce your energy in completing your cleaning tasks.

• Make it a team effort by communicating effectively. If you are the one in charge, ask your other family members for ideas; for example, there may be a more efficient way of organizing your closet that you haven’t thought of. Also, be open to listening to the others involved. This can only improve your relationships by improving the process of how you work together as a team.

• To maintain cleanliness, abide by the 10-minute rule as much as possible. That means allotting 10 minutes at the beginning and/or at the end of every day to tidy up as a way of preventing future clutter and messes from building up.

• Take time to relax afterwards. Once your cleaning expedition ends, reward yourself with a foot soak and a refreshing drink. As a suggestion, you can mix baking soda or Epsom salts in warm water, place in a basin and use this solution as a natural foot soak. Or, even if it is just sitting out on the front porch with a glass of refreshing iced tea and chatting with neighbors or friends, go ahead and kick back and bask in the victory of your now clutter-free home!

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