How to Make Cleaning Fun During the Winter Season

The winter season is a time for hibernating, for feeling cozy in our caves, for spending time inside with loved ones, enjoying a good book or film, and sipping a hot tea to keep the chill away. Its also a time for enjoying outdoor activities like ice skating, skiing, tobogganing, and taking long, invigorating hikes. For many it is a time of holiday celebrations, gift giving, and revelry.

No matter how you spend the shorter days of the year, winter’s cold drives us indoors more often than out, and when your home is organized and clean, this can be one of the greatest pleasures as you dig in for the long haul.

The general adage is that spring is the time for cleaning. After a seemingly unending winter, people love to clean out their closets, get rid of things they don’t use, and generally lighten the load of accumulation. But winter is also a time for cleaning, albeit in another spirit.

In winter we want to make sure that all our belongings are where they should be, easily at hand to give us greater comfort when we need them. We want our quilts and blankets at the ready, our boots and galoshes standing at attention, and all of the accoutrements of home decor sparkling and fresh for the short days and long nights that ignite our wish to be enveloped.

During the winter your house is closed off from the outside elements. This is a time when accumulated dust and dander can be especially annoying as we breathe it in day in and day out. Now is the time to be more diligent than ever when it comes to keeping things clean and pristine.

A clean, bright home changes us psychologically. The sensation of shorter, darker days doesn’t loom as deeply when everything around us sparkles and smells fresh. In this regard, winter is actually the best time to get your cleaning gloves out and your tools in gear as you attend to all the details, large and small. A little bit of application each day will save you from daunting cleanups later on, so plan on a mere half hour of dusting, vacuuming, and polishing a little at a time to give your abode the tender loving care it requires.

Because we tend to be more sedentary in winter, you can look at your daily cleaning tasks as a great way to get some serious exercise. An aerobic mopping session, a long stretch as you reach up to clean the moldings around your ceiling, and some hardy circulatory activation through scrubbing your bathtub is all it takes to get your body in gear. Put on your favorite old disco, funk, or reggae record, do it all to the beat, and you’ll be looking forward to cleaning every day, maybe even extending the time to an hour or more! There’s nothing like a little Donna Summer, Sly and the Family Stone, or Bob Marley to get your vacuum from first great to constructive overdrive!

While you’re grooving to the beat, take a look at those furnace filters. With more debris in the air from closed windows, you probably need to clean all the dust and grime that’s accumulated there. You might even need to replace them, especially if you have a fireplace that emits smoke and grime.

Shake your tail-feather over some deep carpet cleaning, which is probably long overdue, especially now that you and your family are probably tracking in bits of salt and dried mud from the outside. Make sure you have a good mat that absorbs moisture by all of your entrances from the outdoors, with trays ready for boots and shoes as they come off. Make it a household rule: no footwear inside! Keep one-size-fits all slippers by the inside of your door for your family and guests to slip on easily.

Just a few minutes a day of dusting all surfaces in your home makes all the difference. Don’t forget the ceiling fan blades, the moldings at the tops of your windows, and all of your lighting fixtures. And while you’re at it, make that phone call to hire a pro to clean all of your air ducts, which will greatly reduce the presence of germs and allergens in your home, while also making your furnace run more efficiently.

A great way to burn off calories is by cleaning windows. Reaching up, across, and down gets you stretched and fit as you remove soot and film that has built up from burning candles and logs in your fireplace, or just the general buildup that occurs from daily living. Watch how the glass clears to help bring in the light and you’ll be inspired to do this task like never before. Just a little vinegar mixed with water is a great way to wash away grime, without spending a lot of money on toxic cleaning solutions.

Ok, so here’s the big one: your kitchen ceiling. When was the last time you attempted to clean this baby?  Well, its winter and now is the time to rid this space of grease and all the other gunk that cooking releases. Crank up the volume on your stereo, add a mild dish soap to warm water, dip in your sponge, squeeze to remove excess water, and let’s keep the party going!

While we’re in the kitchen, let’s just stay there for a minute to clean out the fridge. Now that you’re getting in shape with a daily cleaning routine, it might just be time to throw out all those jars and bags of food you haven’t touched in ages. Throw out the contents and then recycle the glass and plastic containers. And don’t forget that old, shriveled onion at the back of the veggie drawer! Take everything out, while you’re at it, so you can clean and deodorize the entire interior.

First unplug the fridge. Remove drawers and scrub them with a soft sponge, warm water and liquid dish soap, leaving them to air dry. Wipe down the inside walls with equal parts of white vinegar and water. Place a partially opened box of baking soda to absorb future odors before reorganizing and returning foods for refrigeration. This box should be changed every two months in order to stay effective. And while your fridge is still unplugged, slide a wire coil brush under the kick plate under the door to remove all dust and debris there. Pretty disgusting, but it has to be done.

Okay, you’ve earned a little down time, so take a trip over to your computer. Turn off the power and unplug. Screw off the back panel and take a can of compressed air to blow out all the dust and dander there. Turn your keyboard upside down and brush out all the embedded crumbs into the trash. Spray more compressed air between the keys and then wipe them down with a damp cloth.

Other winter cleaning tasks you can attend to are making sure that all your cold weather gear is clean and in good working order. This means that your coats, hats, gloves, and scarves are clean and ready for use. Your sleds, skis, skates, scrapers, and snow shovels should also be free and clear of any dirt and debris, assuring that they’ll function as they should.

Taking out that fake Christmas tree again? Why not put it in the tub and give it a light spray? Let it dry and you’ll see it will look just like new. Remember to clean all of your ornaments before putting them up on the tree, and once the holidays are over, clean them again, wrapping them in discarded tissue and wrapping paper to keep them in good shape during the year.

Don’t think that just because you’ve done your cleaning duty for the day you have to turn off the music. Keep it on and have yourself a little celebration of domestic cleanliness, right there in the middle of the living room. Get your groove on, lose a few more calories, and get a little more fit… all in the spirit of making cleaning fun during the winter season!

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