Spring Cleaning — Hitting Refresh During the COVID-19 Outbreak

by Ariela Paulsen
Spring Cleaning — Hitting Refresh During the COVID-19 Outbreak

As the days get warmer, I always find myself throwing the windows wide open and wanting to sweep away a winter’s worth of dust and grime.  My antsy, cooped-up, squeamish response to a global health pandemic has only increased that impulse.

Even experts — on change-making, mental health, and physical health alike — agree that changing your physical environment can have a tremendous positive impact.

So, let’s do it!  Let’s use this time at home to refresh our lives, priorities, and homes.  If this feels daunting, check out our tips for making your spring cleaning fun, productive, and spoonie-friendly:

Clearing the clutter… with structure!

Marie Kondo’s strategy for tidying up swept the internet this year.  For good reason! She provides structure to what can be a nebulous task.  “Make things less messy” becomes a step-by-step process. So whether you like the philosophy in Tidying Up or not, find one that works for you!  Ask friends (and the internet) what has worked for them, or just come up with your own method. It can be helpful to attack one room at a time, rather than trying to get the whole house done at once.  My process looks something like this:

  1. TURN ON MUSIC.  Something that’ll keep me upbeat and fun!
  2. Take a look around the room and congratulate myself on the ways in which I have successfully stayed organized.
  3. Head to the areas that could use some reorganization — usually closets, cabinets, and other storage spaces.  Or that one space on the floor that inevitably becomes a pile of things to go through…
  4. Picking one space at a time, take out all items and sort into piles — keep, toss/donate, relocate.  Once all items have been placed into piles, I put things away in a way that will be easy to maintain (see the section about containers).
  5. Focusing on one type of cleaning at a time (ie sweeping, mopping, dusting, vacuuming…), do a thorough cleaning of the whole room, including the tough-to-get crevices like behind/under furniture.
  6. Once it’s all clean, do a little dance and celebrate in some way!  When you’re feeling ready for more, head to the next room and repeat steps 1-6.

Containers and organizers

I have a vivid memory as a young child of playing “catalogues” with my older sisters.  We would flip through the many magazines and catalogues my mom had collected and circle the items we liked, then pretend we were older with homes of our own, and discussing what we would do with our new things.  My oldest sister would always squeal with excitement at the sight of any type of organizer. I always thought she was silly, but now as a scatter-brained spoonie adult, I totally get it! Keeping things in order in a haphazard closet is nearly impossible.  Keeping things in order in clearly labeled bins is downright fun! (Ok, maybe not everyone is my level of organizer nerd, but it’s certainly a step up!)

For those of us who have a whole mess of medications and other medical equipment, check out our tips for organizing medication.  The Mighty MedPlanner is great for organizing smaller supplies, or the Mighty Pack for keeping all your equipment in one place.


Remember our whole New Year’s focus on self-love?  Here’s a great time to practice!  You will not get to everything in one day — you may not even finish one room in one day.  You will find places where you are ashamed at how sloppy you’ve been all year. You will have moments in which you throw up your hands and say “well, good enough!” 

All of this is ok! 

You are doing an amazing thing for yourself and your space, and any forward movement is wonderful.

Ask for help

Mighty Well Team holding their arms up to show strength

One cool thing about cleaning is that it can be a form of exercise!  This means, however, that not all bodies should be doing all types of cleaning.  Vacuuming hurts your shoulder? Ask for help. Need to move some furniture? Don’t do it alone.  Your fatigue sets in after 15 minutes of any cleaning activity? That’s ok. Allow yourself to take breaks, and talk to those in your home to see who will help.  Remind them of the benefits of a spring cleaning, show them you’re working your hardest to make it happen, and ask if they will collaborate. You can even make it a fun bonding experience by laughing at (or making silly sculptures from) the junk you’ve accumulated.

Nurture your nose

Ok, maybe being home so much has made my titles a bit silly.  But in all seriousness — cleaning can be rough on our respiratory systems, and now is the time to bring as much love to our lungs as we can!  When cleaning, notice when dust is flying into the air, or where there may be mold. It is important to address those areas and get the allergens out, but consider wearing a mask and open the windows.  Avoid using feather dusters; rather, wipe with a microfiber cloth or use the duster end of a vacuum.  If you are particularly sensitive, use this as an opportunity to practice asking for help! And finally, take a minute to look at your cleaning sprays.  When possible (and without going to a crowded grocery store), use plant-based cleaning sprays without strong scents and chemicals.  

Mostly, I hope you have fun!  Remember that any cleaning you do now is a bonus, so if it doesn’t get finished, that’s ok!

As always, we’d love to have you join our Friends in the Fight community, for tips and distractions to get us all through this strange time.

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