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With a year spent adjusting to living in a pandemic under our belts, you’re probably a pro by now at disinfecting surfaces and clearing out space for your work-from-home office. But being cooped up in your home for months on end can also leave you feeling restless, and can have a major mental health impact. Which is exactly why a spring cleaning refresh is more important now than ever.
Spring cleaning, especially shared surfaces like bathrooms and kitchen counters, can help you minimize the spread of viruses and bacteria, and promote a healthy immune system. By deep cleaning your spaces for dust, dirt, pet dander, and more, you can help your respiratory wellness by preventing common allergy triggers, too. When you’re moving furniture or really digging into the nooks and crannies of your space to clean, it’s also the perfect time to focus on reorganizing your things.
Not only will you make sure you’re protected against illnesses, studies have shown that decluttering your spaces can give your mood a major boost too, and help you focus if this year has left your brain feeling a little scattered. Can’t commit to downsizing your stuff? Just rearranging what you already have in your home, from clothing to decor, can make world of difference if you’ve been under lockdown, so you won’t feel like you’ve been staring at the same indoor scenery a million times.
If you’re wondering about the best ways to organize your home after a long year, or any living space, really, then we’ve got tips and tricks that will make spring cleaning a breeze.
How to Organize and Clean Your Home
Depending on the size or shape of your living area, it’s worth trying to optimize storage space, and reorganize and clean shared areas, if you can. Here’s what you should consider.
Size of Space: How big is your bedroom? Living room? Home office? Take that into account when making a plan of attack for your spring cleaning so you can tackle the hard work first. Consider how much space organizers like storage units and racks are actually going to take up.
Long-Term Cleanliness: After you spend time cleaning, you want to make sure things stay clean. You can swap items like paper towels and single-use spray bottles with reusable versions, so you know they’ll last the whole season. Think about storing disinfectant wipes or heavy-duty trash bags in various places around your home, so you can do mini spring cleanings throughout the year.
Versatility: You should make sure all your organization tools can pull double duty, like a TV entertainment stand that doubles as storage. The same goes for your cleaning supplies—get products that will disinfect germs as well as scrub grime, or that can or have multiple uses like an all-purpose cleaner.
Mood Boosting: Does this spark joy? Marie Kondo said it best, when considering what to keep and throw away. Staying at home under lockdown has taken a toll on all of us, so you should only keep what will be beneficial to your mental health, as well as your physical wellbeing. Throw out trash like old receipts and papers from a year ago, and consider donating any clothes you aren’t planning to wear post-pandemic.
1. Start Out With The Right Cleaning Supplies
Before you get started, consider giving your cleaning products an eco-friendly overhaul. Choose cleaners that are free of artificial fragrances and potentially harmful chemicals, including likely carcinogens or highly irritating or corrosive substances. Look for formulas that are biodegradable, pH balanced, and don’t have too much wasteful packaging.
Blueland’s non-toxic home cleaning products come in dissolvable refill tablets, so all you need to do is pop them into one of Blueland’s spray bottles and add water. We love that you can use your own reusable bottles if you want, but Blueland’s Clean Suite set has everything to get you prepped for a full deep clean: it includes multi-surface, glass and mirror, and bathroom cleaners, powdered dish soap, 40 dishwasher tablets and 40 laundry tablets. Need to restock? You can easily set up a subscription, which will save you 10 percent on supplies all year-round.
2. Consolidate Your Favorite Clothes
One major source of clutter is clothing, and it’s always hard to know when to let go of clothes that have been with you for a while. The best way to organize your closet is by removing all the clothes and sorting them into piles based on what you want to keep, donate, or throw away. You can always quickly clear up any piles of half-dirty, half-clean clothes by using hanging door hooks to hang up jackets, sweats, or anything you know you’ll use often.
But what about if your issue is just that you need more closet space? We recommend Whitmor’s Double Rod Freestanding Closet for tight apartments, or anyone with a sizeable wardrobe they can’t part with. The 19.25 by 45.25 steel frame is sleek, yet durable, with heavy-duty plastic connectors that make for an easy, tool-free set-up. You’ll get five shelves and two rods to organize shoes, shoes and accessories and instantly add more storage to almost any space.
3. Sanitize Your Surfaces (Even Electronics)
Consider adding a UV sanitizer to your cleaning arsenal, since UV light can help zap germs from bedding and furniture. According to the FDA, a strong source of UV light could help reduce harmful germs and bacteria on surfaces, and help disinfect high-touch items, like your cell phone, wallet and keys.
This top-rated UV light sanitizing wand promises to eliminate 99.99% of germs, viruses and bacteria from surfaces like your furniture. To use, simply wave the wand a few inches over the surface you want to disinfect, and it’ll help kill germs without the use of harsh chemicals or cleaners. We’ve used a UVC wand on everything from laptops to couches to stuffed animals. This sanitizing wand conveniently folds in half too, making it great for the home, and you can keep it near the door if you need to quickly disinfect your face mask or cellphone after being out in public.
4. Keep Your Bedroom Dust-Free
Dust can accumulate in your bedroom throughout the year, as dust mites and particles can actually be found most often in pillows and mattresses. If you haven’t cleaned your duvet in a while, now is the time to throw it in the wash, but you should also consider replacing old sheets and pillows if you’ve used them often over a few years.
Consider using under-bed storage boxes for the rest of your bedwear, protecting them from any dust allergens they would usually pick up from being stored in a closet. Onlyeasy’s Foldable Underbed Bag is made from 100% eco-friendly polypropylene nonwoven fabric, which allows for better airflow, so your favorite blankets and such will stay fresh for longer. The multipurpose design allows you to see inside the bags if you tend to forget what you’ve packed away, and can be folded up easily when you’re not using it.
5. Give Your Furniture A Steam Clean
The best steamers (also known as “steam cleaners” or “garment steamers”) can help disinfect clothing, bedding, and furniture that you regularly use, since they get exposed to the sweat and flaked off skin from our bodies. While it won’t completely eradicate the coronavirus, using a hot steamer during your deep clean can go a long way to clean off household germs and bacteria.
Steamer’s Cirrus No. 2 Steamer makes one of our favorite picks, packing serious cleaning and disinfecting power all in a portable design you can use anywhere in the house. With a 90 ml water tank, grippy handle and a long 71-inch cord (about six feet), it’s light enough to use for longer cleaning sessions, and it’s safe for all fabrics, from silk to linen. Take advantage of this steamer to give your pillows, mattresses, and upholstery a quick swipe every week or so, too.
6. Tidy Up Your Bathroom
Bathrooms can be particularly challenging to organize if you have a lot of smaller toiletries, like toothpaste and deodorant, alongside miscellaneous clothes, towels, and more. As one of the most shared spaces in any home, try making use of the limited space by going vertical with hanging organizer racks, or shower caddies.
Another way to go is storing things under the sink—we’re fans of plastic bins that can easily slide out, like this two-tiered set. Madesmart’s baskets are stacked, which will save you more space and eliminate clutter. It comes with an adjustable divider to separate products, and the sliding bins mean all your products will be accessible and within reach. The holes on the side allow airflow to prevent mold and mildew from building up, especially for a space that will get so much steam and humidity from showers.
7. Boost The Air Quality In Your Home
Looking for some fresh, clean air indoors that doesn’t involve committing to a new house plant? The CDC says air purifiers “can help reduce airborne contaminants, including viruses, in a home or confined space.” Having an air purifier won’t just filter out harmful germs and bacteria, it can also be used to help reduce odors around your house and to filter out dust, pollen, and other respiratory irritants so you can breathe a little clearer indoors. The best air purifiers use a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter to better capture unwanted particles.
Coway’s Airmega 150 air purifier combines a True HEPA filter with a three-stage filtration process to get rid of 99.97% of particulates in the air. Clean and compact, it can cover up to 214 square feet of space, making it great for a bedrooms, home offices, or smaller apartments. An air quality indicator will monitor air in your room in real time, and the reusable filter slides out easily for cleaning and drying.
8. Take On Cleaning Outdoors
As the weather gets warmer, there may be unexpected chores that pop up as the seasons transition. There’s storing winter clothing and bedding, and if you have a patio or grill, getting outdoor chores out of the way so you won’t have to think about them when it’s too sweltering hot. Take it in stride and commit to sprucing things up so you’ll be able to jump into backyard hangouts and grilling right away.
Dread cleaning off your grill? The Grillbot motorized grill cleaner takes care of all the elbow work, so you can throw away that old wire grill brush. Grillbot’s three strong nylon brushes rotate to scrape all of that burnt-on residue off grill grates. Simply put it on the grill grate whether it is hot or cold, set the timer, and let it get to work (an alarm will sound when the grill is clean). It’s super durable, with heat and weather resistant casing, and comes with a rechargeable lithium battery. While it can only be used with grills that have a lid, if you’re going to be sparking up a lot of barbeque, this is a good pick.
9. Finish Off By Vacuuming Your Floors and Rugs
Tired of sweeping up around the house? It’s one of the most laborious cleaning tasks, and the one most people save until last, especially when you have to move furniture around to clear the area. But if you value convenience and want to eliminate dust and dirt for good, it might be time to invest in a good robot vacuum cleaner.
You can get the same dust-sucking, germ destroying power for a fraction of the price of an iRoomba Robot with the highly-rated eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S. Measuring just 2.85 inches in height, it delivers a ton of power for its size. With “BoostIQ Technology”, the RoboVac automatically increases suction power when extra vacuuming strength is needed, so it’ll consistently pick up even the most stubborn crumbs and pet hair. A single charge gets you up to 100 minutes of cleaning time. With built-in sensors to help it avoid crashing into objects around the room, you can sit back and let it handle the sweeping.