Spring cleaning for your health

Spring cleaning comes from the days when our homes were heated by fireplaces and we had to keep everything sealed up tight to hold the heat in. According to BT.com, the warm weather of spring gave us an opportunity to air out the house and clean all the soot and grime that built up over the winter months.

Those days are long gone in Boise; however, the spring cleaning tradition remains a way to brighten your floors and your outlook. From just a simple tidy-up or reorganization of the closet to a full-on deep clean, the annual spring ritual has a variety of health benefits.

Goodnet.org gives five great benefits to spring cleaning:

1. Productivity improves

Put simply, decluttering and organizing everything makes the important stuff easier to find. You might find important stuff in the process!

2. Health improves

Get all that dust out and you're removing allergens from your home. Got a kid at risk for asthma? Fire up that vacuum and grab the dust cloth.

3. Outlook improves

Cleaning and completing the task gives you a sense of satisfaction. The time investment in your home gives you a sense of accomplishment which, in turn, puts you in a good mood.

4. Stress levels improve

A tidier, cleaner space relieves stress, and stress reduction is a good thing. The physical act of cleaning also helps you release the endorphins you get from exercise. Cleaning is way more productive than running 10 miles!

5. Focus improves

A clutter-free home leads to a clutter-free brain, which leads to better decision-making. Keep your house tidy and you're more able to focus on the important stuff that needs your attention.

Time to get to it

Sounds like a good deal, doesn't it? Clean the house and everything in your life becomes easier.

Yeah, we know. Nothing is that easy, especially when our lives are already busy enough. We're already diving into the kids' soccer schedule with practices, games and tournaments or piano lessons, recitals and concerts.

There's also work, grocery shopping, cooking …

AUUGGGHHH … when is there time to do it all?

Sometimes there isn't and that's where asking for help comes in handy. We're blessed in Boise with a number of cleaning services to get your house the fresh lemony scent that comes with a good deep clean.

Here are some of our favorites:

Now, if you're feeling froggy enough to do it all yourself, here's a checklist to walk you through the can't-miss bits for spring cleaning.

Everywhere around the house

  • Wipe down light fixtures and dust lampshades
  • Wipe down walls and baseboards
  • Wipe down doors and knobs
  • Wipe light switch plates
  • Run vacuum over registers and vents and wipe down
  • Give the floors a good scrub
  • Launder curtains and wipe down blinds
  • Scrub out carpet stains and shake out area rugs
  • Wash windows and screens
  • Check batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detector and give the vents a wipe
  • Check ceiling corners and crown molding for dust and spider webs
  • Dust shelves, bookcases, mirrors, pictures frames and wall hangings

The Kitchen

  • Clean out, wipe out and organize cupboards, drawers and pantry
  • Wipe down drawer fronts and cabinet doors
  • Take everything out of the fridge and freezer, scrub them clean and put everything back organized
  • Give the oven, range, hood vent and microwave a good scrub
  • Wipe out and wipe down the dishwasher, blender, food processor and other appliances
  • Clean and disinfect the trash can
  • Replace refrigerator water filter
  • Vacuum refrigerator coils
  • Throw out chipped dishware
  • Sanitize cutting boards and sharpen knives
  • Toss out old herbs and spices
  • Scrub under the sink and organize cleaning supplies

Living Room and Family Areas

  • Deep clean upholstered furniture, treat/condition leather furniture
  • Wash pillows and throws
  • Organize media storage (DVDs, games)
  • Dust DVR, game boxes, etc.
  • Wipe down and disinfect remote controls and gaming accessories
  • Shampoo carpet and/or scrub out stains
  • Pull out furniture cushions and vacuum underneath and in the cracks
  • Wipe down ceiling fans
  • Switch ceiling fans to spin clockwise for cool air circulation

The Bathrooms

  • Clean or replace the shower curtain and shower caddy
  • Wipe down shower door frame and glass
  • Clean and organize medicine cabinet (flush all old or unnecessary medications)
  • Clean and organize linen closet/towel cabinet
  • Clean, organize and de-clutter cabinets and drawers
  • Vacuum and wipe down the exhaust fan
  • Clean and disinfect light switches and fixtures
  • Clean and disinfect toothbrush holders
  • Clean soap dish and/or pump
  • Wipe down mirror
  • Disinfect countertops
  • Polish faucets
  • Scrub the floors
  • Scrub and disinfect toilet (don't miss around the base, under the seat and around the hinges)
  • Scrub the bathtub and/or shower, including taps and shower head
  • Wipe down the walls
  • Wash bathroom cup
  • Launder the floor mat
  • Wash and disinfect the trash can
  • Wipe down cabinets, knobs, towel racks and toilet paper holder
  • Re-caulk around bathtub, if necessary
  • Re-seal tile and grout, if necessary

The Bedrooms

  • Organize the closets and dressers
  • Pack away winter wear and break out your spring duds
  • Discard clothes and shoes that don't fit or don't work for you anymore
  • Switch bed linens to brighter colors and lighter fabric weights
  • Switch to lighter duvet
  • Clean mattresses and pillows
  • Launder shams, blankets and bed skirts
  • Dust the ceiling fan
  • Clean out and organize nightstand, jewelry box and knickknack rack
  • Discard old makeup and lotions

The Office

  • Organize your files and shred unnecessary documents
  • Review/update inventories, bill payment schedules, insurance policies
  • Wipe down computer, keyboard and mouse (tip: turn your keyboard upside down and shake the debris out)
  • Clean and organize desk drawers
  • Wipe down your desk
  • Dust bookshelves and filing cabinets

The Laundry Room

  • Wipe out the inside of the washing machine and dryer
  • Wipe down the outside of the appliances
  • Clean out and organize cubbies and shelves
  • Clean out the dryer vent
  • Empty washing machine drain pump
  • Dust behind and underneath appliances
  • Scrub the floor
  • Toss unnecessary cleaning products

All done

Finished yet? Whew. That was a lot of work, wasn't it?

Now what are you going to do with that pile of clothes, shoes, books, furniture and kitchen items that you've decided you don't need anymore?

Before you truck it all to the dump, consider donating it to a charity or non-profit that will turn those goods into something others can still use. Boise is home to a number of organizations that supply in-need families, some will even come to your house and pick up your donations.

It's a double dose of goodness: decluttering your house and helping our community members get a hand up.