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The snow starts melting away, the days start getting longer, the sun shines brighter, and the air smells crisp and clean. Spring is when everything goes from white and grey to green and yellow, it is a time of rebirth, rejuvenation, and regrowth. After surviving a particularly harsh winter this year, I think we are all just about ready to bust out of our snow forts and dance in the rain!

During the winter months, the lack of sun exposure helps our pineal glands produce more melatonin, which makes us sleepy. Once our bodies are exposed to sunlight, the amounts of melatonin produced is reduced dramatically which is why we tend to feel less drowsy once spring finally decides to pop up!

So – it’s finally time to take a big stretch and pull yourself out of winter hibernation mode, open up your windows to replace the old stale air with some new fresh air. However, upon opening your windows and letting all this amazing sunlight into your living room, you are now able to see all the dust that has collected all over your shelves for the past 4 months, and worse… the cobwebs that have accumulated on your ceilings – gross! This is when most people go into spring cleaning mode, pulling out the couch and get rid of the animal-fur tumbleweeds, organizing all the cabinets and closets in the house and sweeping up all the dirt and sand that has managed to find its way under all your furniture and rugs.

Spring cleaning is no new concept, the Iranian and Jewish cultures started “spring cleaning” centuries ago. In Iran, the New Year – now known as Rouz – is a time of regeneration for Iranians; they use symbols like burning and planting to signify renewal and optimism for a new season. It’s also a time for refreshing and reinvigorating life – which includes your home. Iranians take Rouz very seriously – to prepare for this event, they spend the two weeks prior to Rous scouring every area in their home including knick-knacks, rugs, bedding and every cabinet in every room! They buy new clothes and bring in fresh flowers so that the New Year can properly arrive.

So now that we have a better understanding of why you feel the need to spring clean, here are some tips to make your life a little easier during these hectic cleaning times.

Organizing your closet! Seems simple right? I have a rule for whenever I clean my closet, if I haven’t worn it since the last time I cleaned in there, it’s time to go! Color coordinating your closet can help you speed up the outfit-deciding portion of your morning routine and will make your closet more appealing on the eyes.

Wipe your painted walls down with a wet sponge and some soapy water (a squirt of dish soap in a large bucket works wonders.) You will be surprised on how quickly your walls can get dirty, stained and dusty – especially in kitchens and bathrooms.

Bringing in new pillows for your couch and new curtains for your living room will help spice and spruce up any home without costing you too much money. It can help change the feel of the room by adding in accent colors. If the budget doesn’t call for new items, give them a good scrub. Most curtains can be put in the washing machine on a gentle/hand wash setting.

Get your rugs and wood floors clean! Rugs can be a pain, but many home improvement stores allow you to rent rug cleaners at a reasonable cost. Smaller area rugs can be thrown into a washing machine on a cold cycle and then hang dry. Using club soda helps clean up most dye or acid based stains out of carpeting without ruining the fibers, milk will help remove blood, and a small amount of regular laundry detergent in some water w will usually help remove most oil and dirt stains. For wood floors I use Murphy’s Oil Soap with a damp mop, also – I am  obsessed with Holloway House Quick Shine Multi-Surface Floor Finish… I use it on wood and tile floors, bay window, and the kitchen table; you can apply multiple layers for added protection and shine.

Make sure to also wash those windows and mirrors! If you have older windows, this may be more of a challenge – however most newer windows allow you to pull and rotate them inwards to make cleaning both sides a breeze. I prefer to use a foaming glass cleaner made by Sprayway and a lint free towel. Don’t have any lint-free towels laying around? Try wrapping a coffee filter around a small wad of paper towels – this will reduce the amount of those annoying pieces of lint that get left behind from washing windows with regular paper towels drastically.

My last tip for spring cleaning – play your favorite type of dancing music while you clean, I suggest Michael Jackson! It will help keep your energy up and motivation going when you have something to sing and dance along to. Music is known to have an interesting effect on the perception of time, it helps keeps you mind distracted and thus you are less likely to notice you have spent the entire afternoon cleaning the house.