April showers may bring May flowers, but they also prompt the kickoff to spring cleaning season. Approximately 76 percent of homes in the U.S. plan to take part in the annual ritual. While the obvious outcome is a more pristine home, getting rid of old junk and dust can be a cathartic experience that’s also apt to give you a much needed boost to your physical and mental well-being after a long winter. Here are some projects you should consider tackling.
If you’ve been feeling antsy lately, it could have something to do with your living space. Studies suggest that clutter and superfluous items can prompt stress and unnecessary anxiety. Ironically, many of the things we think will bring us pleasure actually end up making us feel depressed and anxious. Cramped and messy rooms can bring on these feelings, so go through each room and donate any items you never or cannot use anymore. Anything that’s broken or too junky can be tossed.
You may think that most allergens are lurking outdoors among pollen-filled flowers, but indoor air can actually be five times more hazardous to someone with allergies. Mold, pet dander, dust mites, and toxins from your cleaning products may be present, all of which can have a negative impact on your immune system while prompting itchy eyes, a runny nose, and chest congestion. Keep things under control by vacuuming frequently, replacing carpeting with hard flooring, keeping your pet’s personal areas tidy, and choosing low-VOC (natural) cleaning products. If you need bleach, make sure the room is properly ventilated while you work.
Do A Deep Clean
Consider investing in a professional cleaning service to do a thorough deep clean - think baseboards, walls, and cabinets. For this service, you can expect to pay between $97 and $192. Studies show that there’s a link to a clean home and being more healthy and active, meaning we make better food choices, get improved sleep, and participate in physical activity on a more regular basis.
Don’t Forget The Details
Spring cleaning isn’t just about the removal of clutter and dust. It’s also the appropriate time to take care of pertinent home projects that affect health and well-being. These projects include:
- Get a Mold Inspection: Allergens are tricky as the symptoms can be similar, but mold can be extremely serious. Aside from experiencing skin rashes, congestion, coughing, and throat/eye irritation, perpetual exposure can promote asthma and cause lung damage in severe instances. Along with keeping up with cleaning damp areas of your home on a regular basis, make sure there’s proper ventilation in areas like the bathroom. The average cost of getting a small to medium-sized home inspected for mold is $300 to $400.
- Check Your Outdoor Lighting: Along with being a safety measure, outdoor lighting can help scare off intruders, so make sure each bulb is operating properly and replace if necessary - LED options last longer. If you don’t have motion-sensor lights, now is a good time to consider installing them for extra protection. Basic fixtures cost about $15 to $70 per light.
- Inspect Your Detectors: First of all, if you don’t already have smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, get them installed pronto because you’ll be able to increase your chance of surviving a house fire by 50 percent. Place them outside every bedroom and on each level of your home. If you already have both devices, replace the batteries and check the expiration date on monoxide detectors.
- Purify the Air: Along with removing allergens, make sure you’re changing the air filter in your home every other month and vacuuming the filter covers at least once a year. If you can’t find a filter that fits, there are custom sizes available. If you notice a lot of dirt, schedule a pro HVAC cleaning and inspection.
Depending on the size and state of your home, spring cleaning can take anywhere from a weekend to several weeks. No matter where you fall on the scale, don’t begin the arduous task without implementing a solid plan. This plan should include a room-by-room strategy for cleaning, purging, and organizing. Even if the process becomes frustrating or overwhelming, finish what you started, and you’ll have the entire summer - or longer - to reap the benefits.