As you isolate at home, spring cleaning might be the last task on your mind, but it shouldn’t be. If you’re trying to fight off the coronavirus, cleaning your home is the first step. A cluttered home causes increased stress levels, making the bodywork harder to stay healthy. As your levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) increase, so do health effects such as high blood pressure and increased heart rate.
When you live in a cluttered space, you’re more likely to get sick and less likely to have an organized mind. The more items you have around you, the harder your brain works to focus. And if that isn’t enough, negative feelings such as anxiety and depression often accompany clutter.
If you’re too busy with work to juggle household tasks, consider making time in your schedule for a thorough home cleaning. A deep clean can increase your productivity and home happiness. Here are some ways to clean your home with coronavirus in mind.
How long does the coronavirus live on surfaces?
Coronavirus thrives in the warm temperatures that are common in homes. Experts say it can live on surfaces for up to nine days. That’s why it’s important to follow cleaning guidelines. For cleaning surfaces, use disposable gloves or dedicate one pair of reusable gloves to this task. You can store reusable gloves in a zip-top bag for later use.
It’s especially important to clean high-traffic areas. Think of your light switches, knobs, toilets, and electronics. You can find a list of the EPA’s approved cleaning products here.
Common household cleaners that destroy the coronavirus include alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and bleach. If you’re in a pinch, use soap and water; the friction alone can break the protective envelope of the virus, explains Consumer Reports. Now that you know what to use, follow these steps to start cleaning.
1. Plan your funds and your time.
You may be waiting for your stimulus check, but what about your auto insurance refund?
According to an AARP report, several of the most prominent auto insurance providers in the U.S. plan to return a portion of premium costs to policyholders due to nationwide stay-at-home orders reducing the number of car accidents.
With the extra cash, you can begin a do-it-yourself project such as adding a pop of color with wallpaper or setting up an exercise room. Begin a checklist of your top five projects. Organize them by priority and week, so you don’t tackle everything at once and end up overwhelmed.
2. Know what to recycle.
While you’re cleaning, be mindful of what you dump to avoid common recycling mistakes. Plastic bags are the worst offenders. They aren’t accepted by curbside trash services and are difficult to recycle. Instead, reuse plastic bags for storage, or take them to the grocery store. Some stores even offer plastic bag drop-off programs.
3. Replace your mattress.
You’re worried about the coronavirus, but there’s a familiar lurker in your home that could make you sick: your mattress. If it has been years since you replaced your bed, it’s a good time to invest in a new one.
Mattress laws continue to change, but PentaBDE, a flame retardant, wasn’t phased out until 2004. Newer mattresses are healthier and safer for your family. Once you replace your mattress, choose a dumpster size to remove it safely, and you’ll sleep better at night.
4. Clean your digital space.
Your home is clean, but what about your online life? As more people work from home during the coronavirus pandemic, your work life can bleed into your home life, leaving less time for friends and family. Lighten the load with a digital cleansing.
A service such as mailstrom can help you delete emails. To clean up social media, unfollow friends you don’t connect with regularly, and remove any groups you aren’t interested in. Cleaning up your digital space is a process, and your mind will thank you.
5. Keep waste out of landfills.
Set aside four piles while you clean: items to keep, throw away, sell, or donate. Use this strategy for each room in your house. After you finish, check in with your local donation center for drop-off availability.
Some organizations are still accepting donations during the pandemic. Buffalo Exchange allows you to sell clothing and accessories by mail. If donation centers aren’t open, set aside your donation pile for after the outbreak.
6. Don’t forget your refrigerator.
Spring cleaning your closet space is obvious, but your refrigerator deserves some TLC, too. Remove everything in your fridge, and then check the expiration dates before putting perishable foods away again. Organize by frequency of use, color, or type of food.
Wipe down the handle and each drawer with an EPA-registered disinfectant. It’s best to clean your refrigerator before a grocery shopping trip. Take note of what you have, need, and should stock up on, especially during COVID-19.
7. Transform your garage space.
If you’ve been procrastinating on cleaning out your garage, now is the time to do it. The garage is one place where unused items pile up. Think of what you’d like your space to look like. Can you transform it into a home office or an exercise space? Have a goal in mind to make it easier to start. Consider scheduling a residential dumpster rental for your waste before you begin.
“By having something to look forward to, no matter what your circumstances, you bring happiness into your life well before the event actually takes place.”
Since it may be challenging to get all the supplies you need, plan your project first, and then begin your renovation after the pandemic. Knowing you have something to look forward to boosts your positivity.
8. Clean the car.
When you think of spring cleaning, you’re probably thinking about your home, not your car. Keeping things clean during a pandemic means cleaning your car, too, especially if you use it frequently.
Disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as windows, door handles, and armrests. Thankfully, you can use the same cleaning products for your car as you do for your home, Consumer Reports explains. A mixture of at least 70% isopropyl alcohol kills germs, including the coronavirus, and is safe for most car interiors.
9. Don’t just clean; deep clean.
Deep cleaning means going the extra mile and cleaning surfaces you usually wouldn’t. Declutter your home first, and then wash any materials that trap dust. According to National Jewish Health, endotoxins are by-products of dust that can worsen respiratory issues, such as asthma. Endotoxins are frequently present in soft items such as curtains, stuffed animals, and carpets.
10. Tidy your mind.
While you’re spring cleaning your home and car, don’t forget about your mind. It’s normal to experience feelings of anxiety and depression, especially during coronavirus-related isolation.
Let go of what doesn’t serve you. This could mean furniture, books, or unhealthy relationships. Take time for self-care, and prepare to be the best version of yourself after the pandemic.
Spring Into Happiness
Clutter creates chaos in your outer world and your brain. Dr. Joseph Ferrari of DePaul University found that clutter led to dissatisfaction in overall life quality. When you have to spend time searching for what you need, it leads to procrastination and reduces your productivity.
“It [the danger of clutter] chips away at your well-being, relationships, and more.”
—Dr. Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago
The outside world is chaotic right now, but that doesn’t mean your home and mind have to be. We can help. Let Discount Dumpster haul your waste so that you can begin spring with a happier mind and cleaner home.
“Cutting through the clutter: Study examines ‘dark side of home’.” Science Daily. 20 July 2016. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160720170449.htm
“Clutter Making You Crazy? How to Deal With Hoarding.” Cleveland Clinic. 30 January 2020. www.health.clevelandclinic.org/clutter-making-you-crazy-how-to-tell-if-youre-a-hoarder/
Duke University Superfund Research Center. www.oam.pratt.duke.edu/