Spring Cleaning for Seniors: Tips to Get it Done
On a temperature level, to some it may feel ‘too soon’ to proclaim that spring is in the air. And while we certainly aren’t off the hook for another snowfall or two (this is Minnesota weather we’re talking about, after all), the days are getting longer and the birds are singing a tinge louder. Spring cleaning is a great way to herald in the new season and get a fresh start early in the year. The thought of cleaning your home from top to bottom may feel overwhelming, but we’ve put together a few tips to take the tension out of the task.
Declutter your medicine cabinet. Take stock of all your medications and prescriptions, including OTC items. Older or expired drugs lose their efficacy and could bring undesired effects, so make sure you dispose of them properly (unless you have a drug take-back program in your area, pour the capsules into a sealable plastic bag, add kitty litter or coffee grounds to the plastic bag, and put it in the trash.) Portion out your daily medications into a pill organizer to help you stay on top of which ones to take and when to take them. Don’t forget to double-check the expiration date on personal items like make-up, sprays, and lotions as these too can lose their effectiveness and essentially take up prime real estate.
Do away with the paper trail. If you’re subscribed to a daily paper or monthly magazine, you know firsthand how quickly these can accumulate and take up valuable space. Unless they’re kept in a designated spot, they tend to take over surface areas and can make it difficult to find what you’re looking for. Give yourself a deadline of a week or two to comb through the pages, and recycle the contents promptly. If the reason you’re hanging on to these papers or magazines is because of a particular article or two that piques your interest, give it the old ‘scrapbook’ treatment - clip it out and stash it in a notebook to review later.
Organize the important stuff. Speaking of paper, do you know where your most important documents are kept? Track down your financials, birth certificate, up-to-date health records, and passwords to your computer and electronic devices. Get a labeled binder or folder to file them in. Doing so before an unexpected crisis or emergency can help save you and your loved ones time, money, and anxiety.
Make it a family affair. Enlist the help of friends or family, and turn the mundane of cleaning into fun, family moments. Having an all-hands-on-deck approach can help things run smoother and more efficiently. Crank some energetic tunes to motivate you and your loved ones to power through the tasks. Cap off the day by preparing a meal for everyone as a token of your gratitude, or ‘phone it in’ and order some pizza - always a crowdpleaser.
Cleanse your closet. While you’re sorting away, don’t forget to tackle your closet. Now might be the time to consider making room for lightweight jackets and shirts, and storing away the bulky sweaters and coats for next year. It also presents an opportunity to see which of your clothes you’d like to keep around, and which ones you’re willing to part with. They say if you haven’t worn the item since last year’s spring cleaning, chances are that you won’t be wearing it again. If you have clothes taking up space in your closet, why not donate them to a national or local charity and reap the tax benefits?
Lastly, know your limits. While spring cleaning is a necessity, fall or injury prevention is even more important. Don't attempt moving furniture or heavy objects on your own. And never stand on a chair or a latter to clean hard-to-reach areas or to change bulbs. For the caregivers or family members out there, A Place for Mom has a handy Home Safety Checklist to go through to ensure the safety of your loved one's home.