Downsizing and Real Estate

4/21/2021 | By Kari Smith

What is it about cool spring air that makes us want to clean up, clear out, and refresh our living spaces? When the temperature starts to rise, leaves appear on trees, and windows start to open, it’s the perfect time to clean, organize, and start fresh. But it can be daunting! So we’ve put together 10 easy spring cleaning tips for seniors, featuring ways to organize, prioritize, and have a plan.

1. Ask for help from a loved one or a family member.

Even if they only have an hour or two, they can help with hard-to-reach tasks and heavy lifting. Resist the urge to stand on a chair or stepladder if someone can help you with that task. Alternatively, use a duster or vacuum with an extendable handle to reach high spots. You can also join forces with a friend – tackle your space together, then work on their space together. Working as a team often makes tasks seem less overwhelming.

2. Pace yourself.

There is no rush, so don’t do it all at once! It can be intimidating to think of cleaning your entire living space and can be physically taxing. Using a calendar or journal, plan out your spring cleaning for a week – or even a month if that fits your pace. Each day, choose one area to work on, whether it is one cabinet, one closet, or one room of the house.

3. Purchase or gather the items you may need for spring cleaning.

Check your cleaning supplies. Do you have dust rags, paper towels, trash bags, scrub brushes, glass and all-purpose cleaners? Look for natural cleaners that do not have harsh chemicals or scents.

4. Plan ahead for what to do with unwanted items or trash.

Before beginning your spring cleaning – whether you plan to do it all in one day, or spread it out over a week or longer – have a plan for what you will do with discarded items. If you have a weekly schedule for trash removal, you may want to plan to clean the day before trash pick-up, so that your items can be immediately removed.

Will you donate unwanted items? Designate and label boxes or bags for this purpose, so that you can keep them all in one place. Have a plan for how you will transport or have these items picked up, so that they do not leave clutter hanging around for an extended period after the job is done.

Now Is the Time to Start Downsizing and Decluttering!

5. Think safety!

Check smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. If you do not have a yearly schedule for checking these items and changing batteries, make a note to complete this task during spring cleaning. If you have fire extinguishers, check their expiration dates as well.

6. Clean out medicine cabinets.

If you are no longer using prescribed medications, or your medicine has expired, carry the medications with you when you pick up current prescriptions from your pharmacy. Do not throw pills away or flush them! Most pharmacies have a take-back program for unused medications to ensure that pills are discarded safely, and that they will not be harmful to the environment.

Removing unneeded medications is one of the best spring cleaning tips for seniors, as it will not only help to free up space and could also prevent you taking the wrong medication by mistake. In addition to prescriptions, check medications such as allergy and cough medicines, pain relievers, and calcium chews to be sure they are not expired.

7. Clean appliances.

Deep clean your refrigerator and freezer by removing everything, cleaning shelves and racks, and throwing away expired food. This is a great way to ensure that you do not accidentally eat expired food. Clean the exterior of your washer, dryer, and dishwasher. If necessary, use appliance cleaning tablets or packets, or just run an empty clothes washer or dishwasher load with vinegar, baking soda and hot water to remove any buildup.

8. Throw it away.

Although it may seem difficult to throw meaningful things away, ask yourself whether you have used or enjoyed the item recently. If you cannot remember the last time you wore the article of clothing, or it does not fit, add it to the donate bag. Having an area clear of clutter can also prevent bumps, slips, and falls.

9. Consider a bin storage system.

Using bins is an easy way to tuck away hobby supplies, pet leashes, or really anything. Use lightweight fabric bins with handles on the front for easily removal.

10. Among the top spring cleaning tips for seniors? Have fun!

Open the windows, turn on upbeat music, and enjoy!

Kari Smith

Kari Smith is a frequent contributor to Seniors Guide, helping to keep those in the senior industry informed and up-to-date. She's a Virginia native whose love of writing began as a songwriter recording her own music. In addition to teaching music and performing in the Richmond area, Kari also enjoys riding horses and farming.

Kari Smith