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Spring cleaning, coronavirus-style: Areas in your home you shouldn’t ignore

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Come spring, it’s usually time to do a deep cleaning on the inside and outside of your home.

While this normally calls for dusting behind appliances, like the washer and dryer, and the tops of door frames and baseboards, this year spring cleaning will look a bit different due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Although being stuck indoors may feel frustrating, cleaning experts say organizing your space can make you feel a bit better and more productive during such chaotic times.

“When we organize and clean, we are moving and being physical,” said Dennise Conforti, president of the Professional Organizers in Canada.

“Any type of physical exercise is known to help reduce stress, which helps improve your mental health. When you feel organized and in a clean space, it can help you feel more relaxed, refresh your mind and help you gain clarity.”

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READ MORE: How to clean to fight COVID-19? Vinegar won’t work, University of Alberta expert says

Places to clean more during the outbreak

In the height of the COVID-19 outbreak, Conforti said to focus on cleaning high-traffic areas in the house.

While many can practise self-isolation, other people who work in essential businesses — like health-care workers, pharmacists and grocery clerks — have to go outside and interact with the public.

This leads to the risk of those people bringing the virus into the home and possibly spreading it when they touch different surfaces, health experts previously told Global News.

Conforti said areas like the entryway of your home “where you and your family come and go from each day” should be frequently cleaned.

“Doorknobs both inside the home as well as outside the home,” she said.

“Also, think of items you are taking out of the house each day and returning home with, like perhaps your purse, backpack or lunch bag.”

Spring cleaning tips you need to try this season
Spring cleaning tips you need to try this season

Conforti said those items should be cleaned each day, as should areas in the home where you keep them.

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Toronto-based productivity coach and entrepreneur Clare Kumar said other places to prioritize while spring cleaning during the COVID-19 pandemic include the kitchen and bathroom.

“We’re going to be cleaning perhaps a little bit more often — especially in the kitchen because we’re going to be bringing groceries in,” Kumar said.

Kumar added that you should avoid placing items like grocery bags or purses on the kitchen table or counters, where food is prepared and eaten off of.

READ MORE: COVID-19 — How effective are household cleaners in fighting coronavirus?

In addition to the areas that you should focus on cleaning thoroughly, Kumar said to also clean and organize the space that is bugging you the most — like a home office or spare room that’s become a dumping ground.

Now is the best time to tackle the things you’ve been putting off, she said, since your usual responsibilities may be on hold.

“There’s probably some area in your home that’s continuing to have a conversation with you every time you walk by it,” Kumar said.

“It’s saying, ‘Hey you, you were going to give me some attention but you didn’t. Why haven’t you got to me yet?’ I want you to quiet some of those conversations.”

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Tips to declutter your home during spring cleaning
Tips to declutter your home during spring cleaning

Where to keep the things you want to get rid of

While cleaning experts encourage you to organize your home this spring, you may be wondering what to do with the stuff you want to give away, since most non-essential businesses are closed, which includes thrift stores and donation centres.

Conforti said to box these items up, label them as “donations” and identify the place you wish to take them once stores reopen.

“This way, when you can take them, there will be no need to open [the boxes] up to see what is in them,” Conforti said.
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You can then store and stack the boxes in a place where they will be out of sight, like the basement, storage room, garage or even your car.

READ MORE: Your cellphone harbours lots of bacteria. How to keep it clean during COVID-19

If you’re someone who has relied on a house cleaner to tidy up your home, experts recommend holding off on having them come into your space right now.

“If you had a house cleaner before, you are most likely to have them return after this outbreak is over,” Conforti said.

Then, at that point, your house cleaner can do a deep cleaning.

Should we clean our smartphones during the coronavirus outbreak?
Should we clean our smartphones during the coronavirus outbreak?

Although it may seem unbearable to wait for that undetermined amount of time, cleaning experts agree that the best option right now is for you to organize your home.

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“You want to use this opportunity to hone your own skills,” Kumar said.

“If you’re capable of cleaning, then I think it’s one of those things that you want to be taking on yourself and integrating into your rituals for the day as a care and an act of love for yourself and your [family].”

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

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For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

–– With files from Global News’ 

amanda.pope@globalnews.ca