In the 18th Century, when people used to use wood stoves, fires, and oil candles to heat their homes all winter, annual spring cleaning was an excuse to crack open the windows and clean up the soot build up. Hundreds of years later, the switch from heating to air conditioning can be made with a literal switch, but we still keep the idea of spring cleaning in practice. Here are a few things you’re probably forgetting this spring:
1. Your cell phone
The center of your world in the 21st century might be your computer, rather than your phone. Not only should you clean the surface of your phone to get the grime from your fingers off your cheek, but you should also clear your data. Starting on the outside, spray a paper towel with a squirt of Windex and wipe down the whole phone (sans case). Next, start clearing unnecessary stuff from your storage. Things that are safe to delete are as follows:
- contacts you do not call
- apps you no longer use
- photos you no longer need (or did not mean to take, like accidental screenshots)
- social media followers you do not talk to anymore
- Text messages
While you’re at it, it wouldn’t hurt to change your passwords and add a password to your phone (and then write them all down).
2. Your computer
You will increase efficiency and save battery life (for both you and your PC) by adding this to your spring cleaning list. Just like your cell phone, start from the outside and work your way in. A super-damp paper towel or a computer wipe will get the dust and germs off your screen and a Q-tip can easily maneuver around the keys on your keyboard. When cleaning out your hard-drive, don’t forget to:
- Organize your email inboxes
- Delete old files
- Download your pictures
- Delete internet cookies (Tools>Clear browsing data. You’ll want to clear “cookies,” “browsing data,” “download history,” and “cached images and files.”)
- Update your anti-virus software
- Clear your SD cards (camera cards) and USB drives
Lastly, back up your files. (Try Carbonite: for an annual subscription, your computer will automatically back everything up to a Cloud!)
3. Your junk drawer
Clear this one so you can collect more junk for the next 365 days.
- Get rid of anything that is almost empty: old pens, chapsticks, prescription medicines, disposable batteries
- Throw away old magazines and newspapers
- Wrap up your cords and keep them together (twist ties that come with trash bags and loaves of bread can be re-purposed to keep cords from tangling up again)
- Throw away lingering trash
Keep in mind, if there’s something that you haven’t used for a year, you probably will not use it for another year to come.
All in all, to stay on top of an organized house, never leave a room without leaving it a little better than it looked when you walked in. Make your bed when you leave your bedroom, replace the toilet paper when you leave the bathroom, load the dishwasher when you leave the kitchen, throw away water bottles when you leave your car, and straighten the couch and coffee table when you leave the living room.
Don’t just clean, but take advantage of spring cleaning and use it as an excuse to de-clutter. William Morris, a 19th Century writer and artist, said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
– Elizabeth Ervin, Freshman Ole Miss journalism student and Type-A personality, firstname.lastname@example.org