Let’s face it, cleaning is seldom fun. It’s a chore that needs to be done so we do it, but it’s not a project that normally inspires joy. And it’s even harder to get motivated to clean when you’re stressed, but often it’s the perfect task to relieve anxiety. The physical movement will release endorphins and get blood and oxygen flowing. And even better, making a positive change to your environment produces a feeling of control which will help lift a glum mood. Here are four ways to make light spring-cleaning a joyful experience.
- Clean one area at a time: Pick one small, messy area in your house that makes you cringe every time you see it. Is the junk drawer in your kitchen overflowing? Can you barely close the door on a closet? Is there another civilization living under your sink? Go to that area with two bags, one for the thrift store and one for the trash can. Be ruthless. If you haven’t used the item for a long while, are you really going to use it in the future? If not, away it goes. Does the item still work or have use? Would you feel comfortable handing the item to someone? Thrift stores don’t want your trash. Put in it the garbage and then be extra diligent about recycling to make up for adding to the landfill if you feel guilty.
- Clean something you don’t normally clean: You know how it’s always more fun to cook in someone else’s kitchen? The same way with cleaning if you attack a new and different area. Ceiling fans are a great place to start and getting the dust off of those will help with allergies. Running a damp cloth through the slats in the blinds is time-consuming but worth it to get rid of all the grime. Are your curtains able to be cleaned in the machine or hand-washed? You’ll be amazed at how much dust has accumulated when you look at the wash water.
- Find the perfect cleaner: If you have a commercial product you like then use that. You might be out of your favorite cleaner and not able to get to the store, and some people are sensitive to chemicals and prefer to work with natural ingredients. Vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice can all be used and there are many recipes available on the internet. Whatever you prefer, give it a kick by adding a few drops of an uplifting essential oil such as grapefruit, bergamot, or peppermint. If you’re a fan of essential oils, this is a great time to order a few bottle of the basics and experiment with blending to create a unique mix that makes you happy.
- Update your wardrobe: Styles change and so does your taste in clothes, along with your body shape. It makes sense that what you wore two years ago may be outdated or might not appeal to you anymore, or might not fit as well as it did when you bought it. It’s hard to get rid of clothing items that you love but if it’s hanging in your closet and taking up space, it’s not serving a purpose. Away it goes! Then make a list of new items that you need so when you go clothes shopping again, you’ll be ready. PS – this also applies to shoes.
Make a goal for what you want to accomplish, pick out a reward you’d like, set the timer, and start. Be realistic in how much you can actually get done in the allotted time, but do make it a challenge. It’s amazing how much quicker you can move when a timer is ticking down. And come up with a reward that you can actually give yourself. Do you have a guilty-pleasure television or cable show you like to watch? Do you want an hour of uninterrupted reading or internet surfing? Make sure you honor yourself by keeping your promise with that reward if you’ve reached your goal. Happy cleaning!
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