Cleaning with spray detergent

COLUMN: Spark your joy with a clean and clutter-free home

Experts offer advice for effective spring cleaning

It’s time to spring clean the house. How is it possible that this time of year is here again?

Spending so much of our lives indoors, the house is ready for windows to fling open and let the fresh air in. That’s a good place to start, but by no means the end to a cleaner home.

A clean home is more than scrubbed floors and washed windows. Perhaps you strive for less clutter in your life. After all, an organized space is the sign of an organized mind, but over time and with the natural ebb and flow of life, the organized spaces quickly get covered up with stuff. That’s where the saying “A place for everything and everything in its place” comes in handy.

There are a multitude of experts ready to enlighten you on how to live a clutter free existence and keep your home clean and tidy. These experts write books, and the library lends them out all year round.

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Begin with Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Written in 2014 on the cusp of what would become a revolution of de-cluttering and cleaning books, Kondo asks us to find the joy in each item we own. If it doesn’t spark joy for you, then out it goes. Not entirely eco-friendly, but still an entertaining book to read.

The latest and greatest in an organized life is The Home Edit, by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin. A colourful book with beautiful pictures that will get you drooling about how glorious an orderly home can be.

They provide a partial list of knick-knacks present in most homes that can be safely tossed. I need to see that list.

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, by Margareta Magnusson is not as bad as it sounds. In fact, it’s all about the “process of clearing out unnecessary belongings that can be undertaken at any age or life stage but should be done sooner than later, before others have to do it for you.” The author uses humour and charm to help us become more comfortable with letting stuff go.

The less “stuff” we have, the less cleaning and tidying up is needed. After all, cleaning is just “putting things away in a less obvious place.”

When it comes time to put on the rubber gloves, read Squeaky Green: the Method Guide to Greening Up Your Cleaning Up, by Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan. The makers of Method products wrote a clever and informative room by room guide to using less toxic chemicals to clean our homes.

The last book I would recommend on this subject is A Year for You: Release the Clutter, Reduce Your Stress, Reclaim Your Life, by Stephanie Bennett Vogt. The author teaches you how to reorient yourself to a more relaxed, spacious and joyous way of living. A way to spark joy within yourself, and live a peaceful, happy life. I think I’ve changed my mind – you should read this book first. There is always time to clean later.

Caroline McKay is the community librarian at the Summerland branch of the Okanagan Regional Library.

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