Spring has officially sprung! And whether or not the thermometer is cooperating, the warm-up to summer has officially begun. For many, this means it’s time for a deep clean.
The term “spring cleaning” didn’t come from nowhere. This is a time when the light shines in and you catch a better view of the dust bunnies that may have accumulated over the winter. It’s also a time when you can get outside and take care of any debris that dropped throughout the winter, like fallen branches, leaves that were buried under the snow, or perhaps something that’s come off your home and needs to be repaired, like shingles or an eavestrough.
Don’t kid yourself, spring cleaning is a big job and it can be dangerous. And because you’ve likely been hibernating through the winter months, your exuberance to get started can further increase your risk of injury. The last thing you want is to start the season with an injury that can linger all summer, so pay attention to these tips for a safe, enjoyable spring-cleaning experience!
Set Goals According to Physical Demands
Start small and work your way up to bigger jobs. If you’ve been laying low most of the winter, your body probably isn’t ready to start moving furniture, picking up heavy branches or even a lot of smaller ones, or being twisted in a bunch of different directions to clean all the corners of the living room or deck space.
Instead of jumping right into the big tasks, take care of the smaller jobs first. If you need help moving furniture or performing other physically demanding or repetitive tasks, call a friend or family member and schedule a time for them to come over and help you out.
Loosen Up Your Muscles
Doing physical chores is just like doing a workout, so warming up is essential. Start by going for a light walk to get the blood pumping and your muscles nice and loose—perhaps even perform a few stretches. This will increase the maximum amount of stress you can place on your body, making sure it is limber and ready for resistance. Your body needs time to strengthen and adapt, so perform a warm-up to limit the chance of injury.
Being hydrated is also important, especially if you’re outside in the sun. Be sure to drink some water before starting your cleanup, and sip it throughout, too. Water also helps your muscles and joints move more efficiently and further limits the chance of injury and cramping.
Stay Off Your Hands and Knees
There are so many tools out there that make getting down on your hands and knees to clean a thing of the past. “Swiffer” sweepers, mops, and other products are good for your body; they relieve the pressure on your hands, knees, hips and wrists by allowing you to stay upright and push with your body weight. Stand with a mop, duster, or vacuum at hip level and walk behind it, using the force of your body to maneuver it around surfaces.
The same goes for your tub. Instead of bending over to scrub your tub, stand outside it and use a mop to clean it out. Getting inside to sit down can create problems when getting out, and you could end up forcing your body into some strange contortions that can be easily avoided.
Whether you’re lifting furniture, branches, garbage bags, tools and equipment, debris, or another item, you want to do it in a way that prevents injury. For heavy, bulky, or awkward items, it’s recommended you call a friend or someone else who can help you.
When you do perform lifts, make sure to keep the stress off your back and lift with your legs and hips. Rounding your back or putting all the weight on it can result in a number of painful injuries that can last the whole summer or even longer. Even lifting light objects improperly presents the opportunity for tweaks, so be very mindful when you’re picking things up. If you don’t feel you can safely do it, ask for help.
Have Your Tools and Cleaners Ready
If you have to use some tools or equipment you haven’t used in a while, make sure you test everything to make sure it’s in safe working order. Spending a day or a few hours doing some maintenance work is highly recommended. A spring tune-up is always worthwhile before firing up the lawnmower, weed whacker, or other power device.
When it comes to any cleaners or products you plan on using, check the expiry dates. Some of them may contain chemicals that aren’t necessarily ideal for indoor use or inhalation or may be susceptible to chemical reactions after a certain period, so make sure they are still safe to use.
I like to stick predominantly to soap, water, and vinegar to clean my home. It’s safe, natural, and has the ability to leave a good sparkle with a deep clean. If you prefer purchasing cleaners, however, please read the labels so you know the proper safety procedures to follow. Better yet, look for natural cleaning solutions that are safe and feature ingredients you recognize!
I hope you enjoy the warmer months ahead and can kick-off the spring season with a thorough and safe spring cleaning!
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