Are you a spring-cleaning enthusiast -- or a serial avoider? While strong cases can be made both for and against a massive stem-to-stern cleanse, what is always true is that taking simple steps to incrementally clean and organize your living environment gives you outsized rewards compared to the effort you put in.
So if you're lacking a little motivation, read on.
1. You Breathe Better. If you're one of the 20 million Americans allergic to dust mites, giving your home a thorough dust will provide some relief from runny noses, itchy eyes and even from asthma attacks.
2. You Get Free Aromatherapy. There's nothing quite like the fresh scent of a home that has been thoroughly cleaned.
3. You Gain Energy. Clutter isn't just ugly to look at -- it is exhausting. Every time you see it you are reminded of how much work you still have to do. When you clean up, you free the mental energy you were devoting to thinking about all the work you still had to do.
4. You Lengthen the Life of Your Valuable Things. Well-maintained things simply hold up better over the long run when they are well cared for.
5. You Improve Safety. Sleep more soundly knowing smoke detectors and carbon-monoxide alarms have fully charged batteries and that important documents are organized so you can get to them quickly if needed.
6. You Get a Happier Start to Your Day. Outer order leads to inner order.
7. You Gain Time. Sadly, the average person wastes at least 30 minutes, and often 60 minutes, a day, looking for things they know they have but just can't seem to put a finger on.
8. Healthier Skin. Old cosmetics harbor bacteria and other nasty things that can cause dermatitis, pink eye and even cold sores. Your skin will thank you for getting rid of makeup that's past its prime.
9. You Get to Say Goodbye to Winter. Relish the thought that you can skip the coats, mittens and gloves before heading out the door. Enjoy cooking while it's still light outside. Leave the windows open and let those fresh breezes clear out stale air.
10. You Are Reminded of What You Have and Appreciate It. It's easy to lose sight of what you have when things are a mess. When you deep-clean, you get to reconnect with the reasons why you fell in love with your home in the first place.
11. You Strengthen Your Delegating Muscle. If you live with others, enlist the help of housemates to get spring cleaning done.
12. Everything Sparkles. Sparkling glass and polished metal are just plain pretty.
13. Your House Is Grandma-Ready. Enjoy the satisfaction you can get only when the house is cleaner than a surgery theater in a hospital. Use it as an excuse to invite Grandma over.
14. You'll Increase Your Home's Value. Taking the time to create effective storage areas in your home pays dividends when it comes time to sell.
15. You'll Have to Do Less Cleaning Later. Often in spring cleaning, you tackle the root causes of clutter and dirt buildup. That means a little elbow grease today pays dividends in the long run.
16. You'll Enjoy More Light. Squeaky-clean windows, dusted lampshades and fresh light bulbs all mean a brighter, cheerier home.
17. It'll Get Your Creative Juices Flowing. As you focus on each room, you'll see quickly where small tweaks, like changing the angle of a couch, can make a huge difference. Have fun while you freshen up each space.
18. Finding Something You Thought You Had Lost.
19. You Get to Cross Lots of Tasks Off Your List.
20. You Can Do Things You Can't Do During Winter. The mere fact that you can throw open a window is wonderful. So is spending an hour or two outside cleaning windows.
21. More Color! Flowers, brighter sheets, pillows and throws come out of hiding and brighten up tired rooms.
22. You Gain a Happier Commute. Cleaning out your car is a dreary affair in winter. But once the warm weather arrives, it's fun again.
23. You Get the Motivation to Work Out. When you see all your summer outfits, doesn't it make you want to fit into them (without the rolls hanging out) and inspire you to get back on the exercise bandwagon?
24. A Walk Down Memory Lane. As you dust picture frames and put away wayward items, you'll invariably come across something that reminds you of that time when ...
25. You Get Exercise Without Exercising. Burn calories while you clean!
26. You Get a Better Night's Sleep. When you turn your mattress, it holds its shape better over time, which means better zzzzzs for you.
27. You Can Take a Tax Deduction. Donating unwanted items gives you something to deduct next April.
28. You Get an Updated, Fresh "Look" Without Spending a Dime.
29. You Have a Chance to Listen to Something Great. Never have time to read? While you're cleaning, listen to a great podcast or book on tape. Or put on your favorite tunes.
30. Seeing Countertops and Desktops. It's easy to forget how great they look when they're empty and you actually have room to work.
(The writers are co-founders of Buttoned Up, a company dedicated to helping stressed women get organized. Send
ideas and questions to yourlife(at)getbuttonedup.com. For more columns, go to scrippsnews.com.)
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