April 01, 2017
Have clutter, dust and grime built up in your home during the long winter months? Now that warmer weather is here, welcome in the change of season with some spring cleaning to give yourself and your living space a lift! A fresh, clean home creates a restorative and relaxing environment for you and your family. Spring cleaning is also an excellent way to combat another sign of spring — allergies. “Seasonal allergies can be due to mold or pollen and involve primarily upper respiratory such as eyes and nose,” says Dr. Bruce Pfuetze, allergy/immunology specialist with College Park Family Care Center. “Other symptoms could include fatigue, sinus problems and headaches as well as gastrointestinal symptoms and skin allergies. Patients with asthma and COPD are going to have lower respiratory symptoms such as coughing and wheezing and shortness of breath.” All the more reason to make a clean start during spring!
Annual spring cleaning is a custom in many countries. A thorough housecleaning is an important part of the preparation for Chinese New Year and England has a national spring cleaning week in March. Why not make it a tradition in your household as well?
Wondering where to start? The task of spring cleaning won’t seem daunting if you take things one room at a time. Begin with purging attics, closets and storage areas of things you no longer use or want. That will give you room to store your out-of-season winter items from the other areas of your house. Here are more ideas:
Clear Out the Clutter
Reducing the clutter on counters, shelves and coffee tables drastically improves the feel of each room. It’s easier to part with items you’re hanging on to if you recycle, donate to charities or give them away rather than simply discarding them. With what’s left, sort out that pile of magazines or books, put away knickknacks on end tables, and stash the stuff that usually occupies the junk drawer in a stylish basket or bin. Once you’ve streamlined your space, it’s much easier to be organized and find what you need faster.
Dust Your House from Top to Bottom
You don’t have to go out of your house to experience itchy eyes and a runny nose. Dust allergies have many of the same symptoms as those caused by pollen. One of the best ways to combat them is by dusting thoroughly. This includes bookshelves, the tops of cabinets and ceiling fans, and window blinds. Always work from the top of a room down, vacuuming the dust that settles on the floor. Your vacuum cleaner’s brush attachment can help you suck up dust in vents. Use a flat-head mop to wipe down the walls.
Get Rid of Grime
Clear the cobwebs out of the corners with a feather duster, then use a damp cloth to wipe everyday grime off walls and baseboards. Tackle kitchen grease splatters with specially formulated cleaning sprays.
Become a Fan of Your Fan
Fix up an old ceiling fan by installing new blades, or just clean and repaint the old ones.
Open the Curtains
Brighten up your window dressings by simply cleaning them — most draperies are machine washable, but check the labels to be sure. (Many can also be dry-cleaned). To see your windows in a whole new light, replace bland fabrics with bold and graphic prints, or choose open-weave fabrics such as chiffon or organza.
Pack a Punch with Pillows
They can add a pop of color and rejuvenate a neutral couch that might be showing its age. Check out clearance deals in home décor departments — both in store and online — for great bargains.
Wallpaper One Wall
In addition to — or as an alternative to — painting, try wallpapering one wall. You can add design, a complementary color or a dramatic contrast by using a small space and making a modest investment of time and money.
Prefer to Paint?
Instead of repainting the walls, consider a few accent pieces. Try a new hue on the bedroom door, use the ceiling as a fifth wall or paint an old piece of furniture.
Once you’ve decluttered, rearrange your room to create a completely new look. Angle the couch differently. Remove a coffee table. Create conversation areas with chairs and poufs, or switch the focal point of the room from the TV to a fireplace or piece of art.
Shampoo the Rugs
Even when you vacuum regularly, dust, dirt, oils, smoke, allergens and odors cling to carpet fibers. At least once a year, rent a deep-cleaning rug shampooer from a local hardware store or let the professionals handle the job. Either way, you’ll be amazed at the difference once the ground-in dirt in well-traveled areas is lifted.
Breathing better already? “Most people with allergies are unaware of whether their triggers are indoors or outdoors,” observes Dr. Pfuetze. “So talk to your primary care doctor or consider seeing an allergist who can test you to help determine what is causing your symptoms.”
No matter how many of these ideas you incorporate into your home and its décor, you’ll feel better waking up to a cleaner house, accented with some new colors. By minimizing the factors that aggravate allergies, you may be feeling better physically too. Now you’re ready to jump into spring!