5 spring-cleaning tips for a healthier home
Spring is full of new beginnings, blooming flowers, and warmer weather. It’s also the perfect time to freshen up your home by, yes, spring-cleaning. For some people that means following the KonMari method — Marie Kondo’s popular decluttering regimen — that involves getting rid of many possessions and keeping only the ones that “spark joy.”
Perhaps the reason this method has many devoted fans is because keeping a tidy, clutter-free space has health benefits. So, whether you want to try the KonMari method or have your own strategy, here are a few tips to jumpstart your spring-cleaning.
1. Set clear goals
When starting a project, we often overestimate what we can do. You may want to tackle your entire space. But you’ll run out of steam or feel frustrated that you can’t get it all done. Then you’ll be left with unfinished projects and clutter — which can cause stress and negatively impact your mood.1
Instead of trying to do it all, start with one room or section, like the bathroom or pantry. Set a specific goal, like organizing a hall closet. Once you tackle the first job, cross it off your list and move on to the next one.
2. Go over, under, and in
To really get a deep clean, focus on areas that are often overlooked, such as the top of the fridge, under the bed, and inside the coffee machine. Schedule time to wash curtains and pillows — you only need to clean these items a few times a year. It’s especially important to keep your space dust-free if you’re prone to allergies. So consider investing in a vacuum or air cleaner with a HEPA filter, which traps dust mites, animal dander, and pollen — it can help keep your allergies at bay.
3. Cut out clutter
It happens to everyone — a stack of mail piled on the kitchen table, shoes littering the hall, and half-empty bottles of ketchup in the fridge. Clutter takes up space and can create unnecessary stress. And it can negatively impact your sense of well-being.2 To combat clutter, create designated spaces — a bin or closet for shoes, a rack for magazines, or a hook for keys. If your kids bring home artwork from school, invest in a large portfolio binder. Store the pieces that have meaning and recycle the rest.
Another tip: Set aside 5 to 10 minutes each day for decluttering. For example, go through the mail and keep, recycle, or throw away each item. You can get the whole family involved in helping to declutter — that way it’s a team effort.
4. Look at labels
To clear cabinet space, get rid of expired items. Start by removing all dried goods, oils, and spices from your drawers and cupboards. Place any items with past “best by” dates in a pile. Do the same with your fridge, then discard them. While expired spices aren’t necessarily harmful, they do lose flavor over time. You’ll also want to rid your medicine cabinet of expired prescriptions, or ones you no longer use. Not sure what to do with them? Many of our pharmacies have collection kiosks where you can safely drop off unwanted medications. Check out our online resource center for tips on how to get rid of medications — including a list of which ones are safe to flush.
5. Find a routine
After a major cleaning or organizing session, set a schedule for upkeep. It will take less time and make it easier to do a quick pickup. That way you’re spending a few minutes each day tidying up, instead of an entire day. Taking the effort to stay organized will also make it easier — and less stressful — to invite friends over for dinner or a last-minute get together. So, whether it’s cleaning out the fridge every Sunday or loading the dishwasher each night, find a routine that works for you.
You can also create a less stressful environment by making, and sticking with, a routine in your everyday life. For example, you can make your bedroom a sanctuary — and sleep better — by removing electronic devices and going to bed at the same time. Organizing your home can be the first step in organizing other parts of your life.
Most importantly, having a clean, clutter-free environment can help you reduce stress, improve your mood, and better manage your allergies. So, find a way to tidy up that works best for you — and you’ll be on your way to a healthy home.
1 “No Place Like Home: Home Tours Correlate With Daily Patterns of Mood and Cortisol,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, November 2009, psp.sagepub.com/content/36/1/71.
2“The Dark Side of Home: Assessing Possession ‘clutter’ on Subjective Well-Being,” Journal of Environmental Psychology, March 2016, researchgate.net/publication/298428874_The_dark_side_of_home_Assessing_possession_’clutter’_on_subjective_well-being.