If the buzz of ‘social distancing’ and ‘quarantining’ is an onset of stress, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Currently, the coronavirus is consuming our news and day-to-day lives, as the United States now has over 82,000 cases and the CDC is advising us to avoid social gatherings of over 10 people. It’s hard to find calm in the chaos, but there are ways to keep a sound mind — and feel like you have some semblance of control — while practicing social distancing.
This week, my family is all under one roof (a rarity), and we decided to kick off our week inside with some spring cleaning. This is a great time to tackle a new daily project around the house or get to that pesky closet cleanout you always put off. Here are a few tasks you should add to your to-do list and tips on how to get them accomplished.
Clean out and organize old photos
[bf_image id="q7tbra-2pyq6w-flnq48"] My sister and I marveled at how many blurry photos of us on the carousel my mom kept, but how many wonderful ones were also hiding in a box under our couch. Create a new space for important photos, like in frames or albums, and clearly label the others in envelopes or photo storage boxes. This cleanout also evokes positivity and nostalgia, which is something we could all use in today’s mayhem.
Clear out clutter on shelves and in drawers
[bf_image id="q7tatc-46543s-nt5z3"] Devote a bit of care to the corners of your home collecting your clutter: baskets, shelves, and bins. I was holding on to every test I took in high school in overstuffed in folders in my office space, along with an abundance of junk in baskets around my room. Go through your junk drawer, sentiment boxes, and files with old documents to recycle the excess. It sounds basic, but it'll free up space and create room for new files and items to come.
Tackle your closet and create bags for donation
It’s a great time to do a closet switch: move springier tops to the front of your closet and retire heavier sweaters to the back. Sort through your winter wardrobe and see what you didn’t get much wear out of this winter, and deem those items for donation. Form a running pile for donations, fold them and put them into labeled garbage bags. Don’t make the mistake on leaving unlabeled garbage bags in your basement or garage—my dorm room bedding and towels that I saved in garbage bags accidentally went out with the donations last year, so don’t be like me.
Check your local donation options to find a good fit for you!
Declutter your shoe stash
[bf_image id="q7t9t3-7rjlco-3yrh2"] Since I’ve been the same shoe size since I was 12, I’m guilty of rarely sorting through my shoes. Take a look at those as well, and keep the ones you regularly reach for. Donate the rest so they make it to new, worthy homes, and trash that ratty pair of sneaks from high school that you know you shouldn’t be wearing anymore.
Rearrange furniture for a fresh space
[bf_image id="q5d7ao-95arls-1jry7h"] Sometimes, the simplest change can make a world of difference in your mindset. Maybe it’s moving your desk under a window to let in more light while you work, or refreshing an old bookshelf to hold seasonal clothes and moving that near your closet space. Rearranging your bedroom furniture could make your space feel brand new and more functional.
Discard old bath and body products in the bathroom
[bf_image id="q7t9t3-7rjlco-begla7"] Clutter in your bathroom is easily built-up. After the holidays, we’re all overstocked on Twisted Peppermint lotion that goes unused for another year. Take time to sort through untouched bath and body products, either unopened or almost used up.
There are tons of options to donate unopened or gently used bath and beauty products to consider. Your surplus could be of great use to a local women’s shelter, or anywhere else near you that accepts these products.
Go through your makeup collection
[bf_image id="q7t9t3-7rjlco-anazyx"] Makeup is tough to part ways with. In cleaning out your makeup bag/drawers, think about your most frequently used products, and what could be expired. Tip: the small canister icon on all beauty products lets you know of its shelf life, whether it be 12, 18 or 24 months. Take note of the last time you used a makeup product and, if it’s expired, throw it away.
There are many women’s shelters that take gently used, sanitized makeup, and there are several products that are easy to sanitize, including lipstick, eyeliners, makeup brushes, and lip liners. Contact your local shelter or donation spot to see what they take.
Deep clean kitchen and sanitize throughout your home
[bf_image id="q7t9t3-7rjlco-ftd0g5"] With the Corona chaos, deep cleaning is a great option to assure your home isn’t hosting unwanted germs. Spring clean the spots that are easy to ignore: your microwave, coffee pot, and refrigerator. I can bet there’s a ketchup bottle back there that has overstayed its welcome.
Discard old dishes and glassware that have seen better days
[bf_image id="q7t9t3-7rjlco-b5xps2"] I know—mugs are incredible, and each one of yours is special. But if your cabinets are bursting at the seams, it could be time to consider donating old dinnerware and cookware and consider investing in some fresh new staples. Stop hanging on to chipped dishes and dirty pots, and give your cabinets some organization.
Cleaning can be a great way to ease anxiety, keep busy and freshen up your home while staying indoors and doing your part to wish away COVID-19. Stay healthy and well.