Spring Cleaning: 7 Areas You Might Have Missed

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When you think of spring cleaning, you might think of cleaning every nook and cranny of your home – dusting cobwebs out of corners, mopping the hard to reach places, and cleaning every window inside and out. Or maybe you think of going full-on KonMari and getting rid of anything that doesn’t “spark joy.”

Regardless of how you approach the task, I believe it’s an important one. Cleaning and decluttering can help to relieve stress and free our minds to focus on what really matters – people, projects, hobbies, and rest.

Today, though, I want to share with you seven areas you might not even think about when you think of spring cleaning along with a few helpful ideas for each one. 

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1.) Books

Books are easily overlooked during spring cleaning because they inherently look neat and decorative. Even if you leave a few books randomly scattered throughout your home, you may find it doesn’t bother you quite as much as other clutter. It may even instill a sense of pride or sophistication.

But the reality is we are all harboring books we may never read at all or read for a second time. So what can you do? 

If you and your friends are avid readers, consider hosting a book swap. Have each person bring 3-5 books they no longer want, place them in a pile and everyone can sort through and pick 2-3 new books to take home (bringing home less than you brought to the swap is key!). Donate the leftover books to your local library. Yes, most libraries accept book donations and provide donation criteria on their websites. 

2.) Smartphones

Our phones tend to take up a lot of our time (as I’ve written about previously in this post), but it’s even worse when they are cluttered with unused apps, unopened emails and unloved content. 

Start by deleting apps you don’t use and rearrange apps you do use into groupings that make things easier to find. Open or delete unread emails and consider unsubscribing from marketing and promotional emails that aren’t important to you anymore. 

I would also recommend clearing out old voicemails. Create some space so important people, like your lovely mother, won’t get the dreaded “this mailbox is full” message when they try to leave a voicemail. 

3.) Social Media

Speaking of unloved content…I highly recommend spring cleaning your social feeds. And YES, this means unfollowing or muting some accounts. 

We are not static creatures. Often we follow accounts to “be nice” or because we are in a particular season of life. But then, as we grow out of that season and our consciousness evolves, we find certain accounts no longer serve us or have even become offensive. 

If this has happened to you, know it’s completely normal. You are not a bad or mean person for unfollowing an account that no longer serves you. I’m not saying to unfollow an account just because you disagree with one post. However, if their posts continue to impede your own growth or cause you to feel shame, it’s healthy and even necessary to detach. 

4.) Relationships

Yes, you can spring clean your relationships! To be clear, I’m mostly talking about romantic relationships here, but this could potentially apply to friendships, too. 

Relational spring cleaning is simply taking a look at what you need and don’t need as a couple, then taking appropriate action. It can be as serious as ending a relationship altogether or as silly as adding in a tradition like Taco Tuesdays.

Have a chat with your partner about activities, habits or behaviors that are no longer working. Perhaps each of you could agree to give up one small habit or behavior that annoys the other person, even if only for the spring. As for activities, it’s all about re-prioritizing. Think of the things you love to do, hate to do, or miss doing and add or subtract them from your schedule accordingly.

5.) Pets

Let’s be honest, we pet lovers tend to spoil our pets. This means we often end up with enough toys, food and supplies to stock a small pet store. But keep in mind pet food and pet medication have expiration dates, and broken or partially chewed bones and toys are hazardous. I recommend starting by throwing away or replacing anything that has become a danger to your pet, then you can move on to general cleaning. 

If you have pocket pets, fish, reptiles or birds, be sure to clean their tanks and cages. If you’re a dog or cat lover, wash your pet’s beds and linens. I even take the extra step of washing all cloth toys in the washing machine and running plastic and rubber toys through the dishwasher on a low heat setting. The bonus here is you will substantially eliminate pet odors in your home when you take some time to wash everything. 

Lastly, don’t forget your local pet shelter! Consider donating unused supplies to help pets in need. 

6.) Office

Whether you work inside or outside the home, whether you have a private office or a cubicle, you probably have some spring cleaning to do. I mean, who doesn’t have a stack of papers they’ve been meaning to sort through for months? No…just me? Ok, well, I’ll just write this section for myself. 

Melissa, start by clearing the clutter off of your desk. File away important papers, shred confidential documents, put pens and supplies in a drawer or desk organizer, and throw away any trash (like that sticky note you wrote to yourself two years ago). Then take some time to dust flat surfaces and wipe down your computer and phone.

7.) Car

A 2016 survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that Americans spend about 17,600 minutes per year driving. That’s over 290 hours! If you’re going to spend that much time driving, you might want to consider spring cleaning your car for your own safety and sanity.

This means removing items that don’t belong in your car and finding a proper home for them in your house or office. It also means throwing away or, preferably, recycling trash. Once you’ve cleaned out the clutter, drive to a local detailer and pay someone $25 to vacuum and wash your car. 

Yes, I’m giving you permission to sit this one out. If you’ve already cleaned and decluttered your home, books, smartphone, social feeds, romantic relationship, pet supplies, and office, you deserve to treat yourself to a professionally cleaned car. It’s called self-care, which is what spring cleaning is all about anyway.

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