There’s no time like the present. Summer cleaning enables you to streamline your homelife and create space that gives you both practical benefits and personal ones too.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that Americans spend an average of 40 minutes a day cleaning house. That’s not bad, but a few summer cleaning hacks will add some creative ideas to maximize your efforts and make it easier than ever.
Personal Benefits of a Clean Environment
Making your physical space less messy has psychological advantages, says an article on TheWayPointe.com. Research shows that minimizing clutter reduces anxiety and stress.
Science backs up the impact of cleaning, according to a study by the University of California. A messy house creates a rise of cortisol in the body, which is a hormone released by the adrenal gland that typically responds to stress.
With those stats in mind, a guide to summer cleaning can actually be a part of your wellness plan. Spending a few minutes a day doing some cleaning is a small price to pay for your mental health.
Cleaning Your Closet
If you live in a small apartment, you’re probably a minimalism expert. But it doesn’t matter if you have limited space or a massive walk-in closet, it’s easy to find yourself adding to your belongings and causing it to bust at the seams.
One effective system to maintain a clutter-free existence is to use seasonal changes to reduce your excess stuff. You’ve probably heard the suggestion to change the batteries in your smoke alarm during each of the two “standard time/daylight savings” time changes every year. You can use a similar technique to minimize the stress of too much clutter by sorting your clothes with a system of winter and summer cleaning.
When the temperatures rise it’s a good idea to swap your winter clothes for summer clothes and do the reverse, come winter. One of the side benefits is how much easier it is to pick out your clothes each day when there are fewer hanging in your closet.
It’s also a good time to purge. If there are clothes you haven’t worn all year, it may be a good time to donate them. Think of the storage space you’ll save!
For the pieces you’re putting away, put them in the laundry first. Only store clean clothing items. And if you’re putting away your fall boot collection, take them to a shoe repair person first.
- Here are some practical reminders:
Don’t forget to put away coats, scarves, gloves, and hats. But keep some lightweight jackets and accessories available in case you go to the mountains or experience some cool summer nights.
- Store heavy sweaters properly: By hanging cashmere or wool, there’s the possibility of stretching them and when they lose their shape you won’t like the way they look. Always store sweaters folded, even during the winter. When summer rolls around, put them in durable plastic storage bins to keep pests at bay.
- Pack up bulky items efficiently: If your coats are puffy styles, they take up too much closet space. One way to increase storage effectiveness is to purchase vacuum-sealed plastic bags. Without the extra air, you’ll be left with compact bags of clothing which you can store in the garage or under the bed.
- Protect your shoes: Save your boots from getting squished by storing them in their original boxes, if possible. You can also purchase plastic bins to store them individually or hang them on space-saving boot racks.
Summer Cleaning Every Day
Simple and easy cleaning habits can change your home, mood, and lifestyle. We all know what these are – they’re little, mundane acts of housekeeping.
It was summed up so well in a commencement speech by Navy Seal Admiral William H. McRaven in Austin, Texas. He’s the author of “Make Your Bed.”
He told graduates to start each morning by making their bed, as he shared lessons he learned from basic Seals training. Every morning his instructors would show up to his barracks room and the first thing they’d do is inspect his bed. He needed to have:
- Corners square
- Covers pulled tight
- Pillow centered just under the headboard
- Extra blanket folded neatly
“Every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection,” he said. “The wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride. And it will encourage you to do another task. And another. And another. And by the end of that day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if, by chance, you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made. That you made. So, if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”
There are, of course, many other tasks that need your attention on a regular basis, which is why a guide to summer cleaning is helpful.
Pick a dusting day. Get out your rag and polish every Tuesday, or one day of the weekend to be sure dust doesn’t get caked on your collectibles, furniture and countertops.
Summer typically means running the air conditioner (depending on where you live). Check the vents – they can get a harmful layer of dust and dirt that enters your lungs, negatively affecting your health.
According to HowStuffWorks.com, there are millions of dust particles, pollen, spider webs, hair, dirt and other allergens in your home’s air ducts. Not only is it a health matter, you can also save money on your air conditioning and heating usage.
The website offers some steps for cleaning air ducts, including:
- First turn off power source to heating/air conditioning unit.
- Get screwdriver to remove duct covers from walls.
- Using a brush, clean grates and use soap and water if necessary.
- Vacuum ducts. You may need an industrial strength vacuum, as household units sometimes lack the power to do deep cleaning.
Kids and Summer Cleaning
They’re home and under foot ... use it to your advantage! Create a list of chores and rewards, so the cleaning gets done and they don’t get bored.
A few summer cleaning chore ideas are:
- Unloading the dishwasher
- Folding laundry
- Cleaning their room
Some ideas for rewarding their work productivity are:
- Getting extra social time with friends
- More time on technology
- Money for movies or treats
- Tickets to amusement parks/concerts
Summer Party Cleaning Tips
Does the rise in temperatures also mean a rise in social time?
When you’re planning a party at your house, what fills your mind is thoughts of fun and games, but what fills your schedule is a lot of cleaning. Will guests be indoors, outdoors ... or in the pool?
More than just some routine summer cleaning is in order if you’re having a big bash. Real Simple Magazine has some ideas to create an “oasis atmosphere” for your backyard party.
Start your outdoor cleanup project as early as possible, beginning with an assessment of your needs based on time of day you’ll have your party, whether it’s inside or outside, and number of guests.
You have to figure out seating, which is one of the most important factors when it comes to the comfort of your guests. If you don’t have enough chairs, call a rental company. Party guests often prefer tables and chairs, particularly if you’re serving food that requires flatware.
Your lighting may be an issue, especially if it’s a nighttime affair. Says Jimmy Duhig of Creative Lighting Design in San Francisco, in many cases you don’t need brightness – just some ambient lighting. People’s eyes adjust if they’re outdoors while it’s getting dark.
And when it comes to summer cleaning to prep for the party, it gives you a great excuse to spend a few days out in the yard. Any standing water needs to be drained. Flower beds may need turning, and you have to clean the pool and patio areas.
An article by Swim University includes a guide to summer cleaning your swimming pool. Even if you don’t have waterfalls and high-tech pool covers, there’s maintenance needed.
Each pool has four components, says SwimUniversity.com: the water; the interior wall; the filter system; and the skimmer system.
Your summer cleaning needs to include a plan to keep these features free of buildup, as well as repaired and clear of dirt and mold.
Time for a Summer Car Clean-Out
Summer cleaning also involves a vehicle assessment. When your car is beginning to concern you – making noises and becoming less reliable – you may want to consider a vehicle donation. This one act enables you to get a tax write-off, benefit a favorite cause, and move your old car to make room for a newer one.
A lot of car dealers hold their best sales in July. U.S. News & World Report compares the rise in summer temperatures to the rise in savings on new cars. They posted an article listing some of the best deals, including the percent of the sticker price you can save this month:
Nissan Altima: 22% off
Kia Optima: 19% off
Ram 1500: 18% off
Hyundai Sonata: 17% off
Hyundai Santa Fe Sport: 17% off
Ford Fusion: 16% off
Hyundai Elantra: 16% off
Ford F-150: 15% off
When you’ve decided it’s time for an upgrade and picked out your new set of wheels, there’s still that one problem – what do you do with your old car? Donate it!
If you’re thinking, “I don’t know how to donate my car,” it’s actually very easy. With a simple phone call to Cars2Charities at 855-520-2100 or by going online, you get the ball rolling.
It’s such a win-win. You find someone to tow away the vehicle you don’t need and pocket a tax break at the same time.
And not only that – your favorite nonprofit gets a donation. When you donate car to charity, you choose which 501(c)(3) gets proceeds from the donation.
If you already volunteer somewhere, you can add to their resources with a car donation. And there are many set up for you as well. You can choose a medical cause such as Children’s Hospital or if you want to benefit veterans make a wounded warrior car donation.
A vehicle donation contributes to your summer cleaning goals by clearing out space in the garage or on other parts of your property, which is another shot at lowering your stress. Excess stuff can be burdensome, and if you’re paying for expensive storage units, boat slips or parking spots, it’s another monkey off your back to alleviate yourself from those bills. You can donate a boat to charity or an RV or many other types of vehicles.
Summer cleaning takes many forms and every little bit helps. Some choose one big act such as a car donation to charity, while others find it more beneficial to add daily chores to their schedule. But whether you tackle it all at once or a half hour a day, seasonal de-cluttering gets you off to a great start.