Spring Cleaning and Decluttering Can Make Baby Boomers Happier

Are you baby boomers dreading the task of spring cleaning? Whether you’re simply sprucing up the house, decluttering to downsize, or preparing to put your home up for sale, the process is the same. But why not embrace spring cleaning instead of hating the chore?

Spring Cleaning

Studies actually show that spring cleaning can make us happier.

Makes sense to me. After spring cleaning, I love the fresh, bright look of my home. I adore all the cheerful morning sunshine that streams through clean, sparkling windows. And I enjoy the refreshing clean smells instead of that old stale winter air. Add a gentle spring breeze and some bright spring tulips on the table –  and, yup, I’m feeling pretty good.

I was recently working on a magazine article on this subject, and my editor suggested taking a look at Marie Kondo’s #1 New York Times best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. To be honest, I had never heard of this now-famous Japanese cleaning consultant. Where have I been? When I mentioned the book to others, people gushed about this mysterious guide for simplifying and organizing your life.

Clean ClosetSome of her stuff sounds a bit kooky, like the way she talks about inanimate objects as if they had real feelings. But some of her advice hits home. The basic premise of Kondo’s book is to ask the simple question: What sparks joy?

“Keep only the things that speak to your heart,” she writes. “Then take the plunge and discard all the rest.” Although that seems like a simple solution, when I used it in my own closet, it worked like magic. Turns out letting go can be liberating and empowering.

So, blare some baby boomer Motown music to inspire you and be ruthless. Do you really need to hold on to all those sentimental items and old photographs of people you don’t remember stored in the closet in the guest room you never use? Ask yourself if the memorabilia is still meaningful to you. If not, chuck it! Get rid of clothes and shoes that no longer fit, are damaged, or you haven’t worn in a year. Let go of those items that you think may come in handy someday but never do. Sell or donate all those books you’ll never read. For a few more tips on decluttering, you can check out my blog, Clearing Clutter Makes You Happy.

If you’re ready for the next step and are ready to do some spring cleaning, what are some of the things you should tackle?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Once a year, wipe down overlooked surfaces like baseboards, door frames, and walls.
  • Move your sofa and chairs, roll up area rugs, then vacuum and mop floors. Carpets should be cleaned professionally every 12-18 months or rent a deep cleaner to do it yourself. Wash or dry-clean rugs.
  • Make a new fresh cover for your sofa.
  • Pick a cloudy day to wash windows to reduce streaking.
  • Before the outdoor entertaining season gets underway, scrub sliding glass door tracks with an old, dry toothbrush to loosen debris, then use your vacuum hose to remove it. Finish off by wiping with a wet sponge.
  • Go over curtains and drapes with the upholstery attachment on your vacuum. Sheer curtains can be put in the dryer on low with a fabric-softener sheet.
  • Dust ceiling fans with a special extendable pole duster. For deep cleaning, use a step ladder and wipe the blades with a water-moistened microfiber cloth or terry towel. Repeat with a dry cloth.
  • As it gets warmer outside, put away gloves, winter clothing items, and boots so you’ll have plenty of space for spring clothing.
  • Store shovels, salt, scrapers, and other winter gear. Clean patio furniture.
  • Rotate and flip mattresses. Wash blankets and comforters, or dry clean if necessary. Wash mattress pads and bed skirts. Have pillows professionally cleaned or freshen up in the clothes dryer on the air cycle (no heat).
  • Go through your medicine cabinets and safely discard any outdated products. Wash and dry shower curtains and liners.
  • Clear out your pantry, kitchen cabinets, and drawers and wipe down. Store or donate equipment you don’t use, such as small appliances or cookware. Discard stale spices and any outdated items.
  • Clean the refrigerator and freezer. Vacuum the cooling coils under or behind your refrigerator.

There you go, hope you enjoyed these tips. Conquer that clutter and give your house a good cleaning and you’ll feel healthier, refreshed, and revitalized. What are you waiting for?

Image courtesy of scottchan and khongkitwiriyachan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.


Julie A. Gorges is the author of two young adult novels, Just Call Me Goody Two Shoes and Time to Cast Away and co-author of Residential Steel Design and Construction published by McGraw Hill. In addition, hundreds of her articles and short stories have been published in national and regional magazines, and she received three journalism awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association while working as a newspaper reporter. Julie currently lives in southern California with her husband, Scott, and has two grown children and three grandchildren.

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2 Responses

  1. Cat Michaels says:

    .Julie, I love having my space tidy, but I absolutely hate to clean. The house is always picked up, but the only way I can clean it is to pop on earbuds and listen to an audiobook that makes me forget what I am doing. Thanks goodness I’m married to a great guy who splits cleaning chores in our household. Happiness for me would be having a weekly cleaning crew!

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