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Spring Cleaning: Brilliant or Bogus?
It’s that time of year again… spring cleaning time. Many people use it as an excuse to open the windows and go on an all out cleaning binge while others refuse to have any part in this yearly shenanigan… I mean ritual.
Regardless of whether you partake in any of the spring cleaning festivities, you undoubtedly still clean your home from time to time. To that end I’ve compiled a list of ways to keep your stress and pain factors lower and your fun factor higher while you do it. I hope you don’t mind.
Have Fun While Cleaning
No one, or at least no sane person I know, likes cleaning. But that doesn’t mean it has to be completely awful. Here a few suggestions for making it less tedious:
Listen to music – Get your energy up and make the time fly. You can even dance your way around the house while dusting or go from room to room like Hugh Grant’s character in Love Actually. Or maybe that’s just me.
Listen to a podcast – Be doubly productive by listening to your favorite podcast while you’re doing some mindless, repetitive cleaning project that doesn’t require your full attention.
Listen to an audiobook – When you’ve got lots of mindless work ahead of you, listen to an audiobook. Pick a book you’ve been wanting to read or one that’s fast paced and thrilling.
Reward yourself – Which task(s) do you hate the most? Give yourself a reward for getting it/them done. You can even make it a progressive reward so the sooner you do it, the bigger the reward. Here are a few ideas to get your potential reward wheels turning:
A single ice cream bar if you get the flower bed cleaned out after new growth has started, but a whole box of ice cream bars (or maybe just one big one from that upscale ice cream place) if you get it done before the new growth sprouts.
When decluttering, make a plan to sell some of the stuff to thrift stores, yard sales, used book stores, etc.; that way the more you declutter, the more money you’ll get. Make sure to earmark the money for something fun.
Reward yourself for repurposing old linens (animal shelters love old towels, sheets, and blankets) by getting yourself new ones. Bonus for finding the new ones on sale.
Make a game out of it – What type of game is up to you, but here are a few ideas:
If there are at least 3 people working, divide a task between 2 of them to see which can finish the fastest while also being the most thorough. Great for cleaning toilets and washing windows or walls. The 3rd person is the impartial judge. Winner gets a reward of some predetermined type – maybe they get to pick the next thing they’re going to clean instead of having it assigned to them.
Play dress up – Talk &/or dress like a pirate while you swab the deck, aka sweep and mop. Put on protective gear (rubber gloves, safety glasses, face mask, etc.) and pretend you’re of those guys who come in to clean up radioactive or hazardous material spills in the movies while you clean the toilets, tub, or even that mildewy corner in the basement.
Set a timer to look for lost objects. Whoever finds the most, wins.
Watch a favorite movie – If you’re doing something boring like cleaning out your files, put on a favorite movie that you’ve seen so many times you practically know it by heart. Let it keep you company while you slog through the task.
Make Cleaning Less Painful
The most common pains after spring cleaning are those from sore, overworked muscles. Here are a few ways to minimize them:
Take frequent breaks – Give your muscles a rest at least once an hour; they’ll thank you for it the next day by not hurting as much. During these breaks make sure to move your whole body, while making sure to move the areas you were just using in a different way. For instance, if you were scrubbing the floor, make sure you spend some time looking up and moving your arms in a twist-like fashion. The physically harder the task, the more breaks you should take.
Divide and conquer – Don’t try to tackle it all in one day. Divide the jobs up in whichever way works for you. A few ideas for how to divide things up:
Divide the work by room and do one room at a time
Do the same task in each room. For instance, get out your long handled duster and do all of the door, window, and picture frames throughout the house.
Clean from top to bottom: ceilings, then light fixtures, then windows and walls, etc.
Set a time limit – Doing too much in one day is a sure fire way to be sore the next day. If you have a big goal for the day, make sure to break up the most physically demanding tasks with ones that are easier.
Take a bath when you’re done – A nice warm epsom salt bath will do wonders for body and soul.
That’s all I’ve got today. If you’ve got a way to minimize pain, boredom, or stress during spring cleaning that I didn’t mention, please share it in the comments so we all can benefit from it.