Spring is here and it is a great time to do some cleaning – while making the most of your time and energy, of course! We’ve put together advice and to-do’s that may ease the process for an older person to take on. It’s all about thinking ahead, following a list, starting small, embracing safety, and knowing actions to take annually. Read on to get your ducks in a row with some home spring cleaning tips for seniors!
Home Spring Cleaning Tips For Seniors
These spring cleaning ideas are intended for those living independently or for those caring for independent seniors who still do cleaning tasks. For caregivers who may want to take on all tasks for the older people in their care, try to remember that offering to help is great, but if a loved one expresses a need to handle home chores on their own – and it would be safe for them, let them do so. Many people take great pride in keeping up their homes; it can instill feelings of independence, optimism, and happiness across the age spectrum.
Step 1. Identify Your Goals
What are your goals? Identify a few major spring cleaning tasks you would like to take on and write them down. Be specific with sub-tasks, and realistic with a list you can get through. Be positive about what you want to accomplish, but know where to draw the line. You can tackle tasks one by one and it will feel good crossing them off the list.
Example Goal List:
Clean out the garage:
- Organize tool bench
- Donate boxes of clothes – boxes needed
- Clear cobwebs from rafters – help needed
- recycle the pile of newspapers – bin needed
Clean out the bathroom:
- Re-purpose ragged towels to be used for dusting – label their tags
- Clean the windows – a rag and window cleaner needed
- Bring expired pill bottles to a local, approved disposal spot. (The police station is sometimes designated for that.)
Step 2. Start in one Spot (A Must-Read for “Start-Strugglers”!)
After you have written a list, begin with one part of that list. If you try to tackle all kinds of tasks all over the place in different rooms, you may end up feeling as though you accomplished less than you did. If you want to see results and feel positively throughout the process, as well as reach a point of completion fastest, start small. This is advice I would give to anyone, but especially to those who find the process overwhelming.
Gather together a few items that you will need, such as a garbage bin, a recycle bag, a rag, and some cleaning spray. If you have organizing to do, it helps to have several boxes, labels, and a marker. Keep your list handy for reference and crossing off what you’ve done.
Start your job.
If it is cleaning, start with one room, and start at the top of that room and work toward the floor where the dust settles.
If it is organizing, approach items one by one and ask yourself: do I keep this, recycle this, give it to someone, or throw it away?
Depending on the answer, put the item in a specific pile. For the items being kept, try to keep like items with like items. Once there are several of an item, a label can be very helpful. Once that area of the room is clear of clutter, and items are in their rightful place, you will likely feel quite accomplished!
Safety Tips When Spring Cleaning
- Pay attention to where you are sitting and your posture while you organize. Oftentimes, sitting on a hard floor will lead to pain later. A chair with a back would be better, even if it means placing a heap of items on a table to go through.
- Do not clean hastily. It won’t make the results better and could cause injury.
- Stand straight and let your arms do the hard work.
- When mopping: Make sure the brush and wiping handle of the mop is at shoulder height.
- When vacuuming: hold the handle of the vacuum loosely and bend your arms near your waist. Walking forward makes the floor nozzle move.
- Don’t fill a cleaning bucket too much, and hold it with two hands near the center of your body. (Kaercher)
Seniors: Don’t Try to Do It All Yourself
Accepting help from others is a great idea. If someone with a kind heart offers to help, try not to turn them down. I mention”with a kind heart,” as a tip to be wary of someone you don’t know who offers to help you out. Always stick with reputable helpers for safety reasons. Also, if you plan to take on a task by yourself that you know may come with risks, please ask someone to be present or to help you out.
Tasks Where Help is Recommended:
- Scrubbing the bathtub
- Cleaning glass dishes that are stored on very high or low shelves
- Vacuuming up the stairs
- Sweeping down the stairs
- Moving furniture around
- Weeding the garden
- Flipping the mattress
(Read more on the History of Spring Cleaning from Country Living)
Check on Your Appliances and Home
Each year, it is a good idea to make sure that appliances are running properly, and are serviced. Getting items serviced annually will help save money as it will likely reduce the frequency of needing repairs. Angie’s List is a great resource online for finding all types of maintenance and repair workers for home jobs. Yelp is another great resource for finding local companies and seeing their public ratings.
Items to Upkeep Annually:
- Appliances like the air conditioner and heater
- Gutter Cleaning
- Bathroom sinks and fixtures (checking for leaks)
Items to Get for Safety and Peace of Mind:
- A fire extinguisher
- A safety step stool for improved access to cabinets
- A rubber mat for the bathtub(s)
- Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
- A flashlight
- Water jugs
- First-aid kit, including good bandages
- Safety plug strips that can be turned on and off with a switch
All of these home spring cleaning tips for seniors are not going to apply to everyone, but with hope, one or several can help you along! Let us know in the comments section if you have found any of these tips or ideas particularly helpful! If you have an additional tip, please feel free to share.
Tired of the Spring Clean grind?
Perhaps it is time to make the move to Independent Living where light cleaning, home, and grounds maintenance are taken care of so you can focus on living the lifestyle you want to live instead of dealing with the tasks of cleaning. Explore our communities to find a senior living solution near you!