I have a theory about spring cleaning: The longer the days are, the wider we open the curtains or drapes. The lighter the rooms get, the more dirt we notice.
Fortunately our energy levels tend to grow in concert with the length of the days. So instead of closing our eyes to the clutter, we reach for the broom.
There’s something mood-enhancing about cleaning out our living areas. It’s as if we’re sweeping away winter doldrums along with all the cobwebs lurking in formerly dark corners.
Bonus: Cleaning can save you money. Here’s how.
A clean sweep
1. Dirt is unhealthy. Just ask anybody with asthma or a dust mite allergy, or someone who’s sensitive to mold/mildew. Poor air quality can trigger more sick days and/or more use of rescue inhalers and allergy meds.
Ideally you’d vacuum/sweep and dust regularly all year round. But if you fell behind this winter, now’s the time to catch up. This is particularly true if you live in a place where they put gravel on icy roads – a whole lot of dust is being tracked in. Cleaning = a breath of fresh air.
2. Clutter can camouflage. Where’s the iPod charger? Your transit pass? They could be anywhere – and if you give up searching because you’re in a hurry, the replacements are going to cost you. Cleaning = rediscovery.
3. Messes mess with your head. Ever look around your dump of a domicile and get so depressed that you go out? Or have you avoided coming home because the place is dingy and smells like really old laundry?
Being away from home usually means spending money, unless you have really understanding friends who let you hang out night after night. More to the point: Why are you paying rent/a mortgage on a place you can’t stand to be in? Cleaning = serenity.
Treasure may be lurking
4. Hostess with the most mess? If your friends seem to resist coming over for game night or movie night, it’s probably because they don’t like that really-old-laundry scent but are too embarrassed to say so. Revamp your crib and start hosting inexpensive entertainments once more. Cleaning = frugal fraternization.
5. Money may be lurking. Ever find coins under the couch cushions, or crumpled bills in the pockets of clothes you finally got around to washing/dry-cleaning? No? Well, start looking! Cleaning = treasure hunt.
6. Dump junk, earn bucks. Stuff you no longer use – college textbooks, the designer purse you stopped caring about once you finally got it – could garner some money via a consignment store, eBay, or Craigslist.
Put it out there! I earned $1,200 (yes, twelve hundred dollars) off a little plastic statue of a baseball player that I got as part of the community property split. Hope you’re that lucky. Cleaning = extra cash.
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