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Tips for a great spring cleaning

Senior Wellness | Mar 30, 2016

It seems the sun is finally starting to stay out for long periods of time. As you replace your parka with a light sweater and watch the trees turn green, you may begin thinking about doing some spring cleaning. Not only is spring a fantastic time to get organized, but it is also a the perfect opportunity to assess your home for risks and eliminate anything that might pose a threat to your safety.

Spring cleaning could involve anything from getting rid of the clothing in your overflowing closet to installing new batteries in all of your smoke detectors. Here are a few things you should make sure to place on your to-do list:

"Make sure each room in your home is efficiently organized and easy to walk around."

1. Clear all walking paths
It is important to make sure as you walk through your home nothing is placed in a location that could cause you to trip and fall. Senior community organization United Methodist Homes said to make sure each room in your home is efficiently organized and easy to walk around. In addition, your rugs and carpets should be secured to the floor. All you need to do is tape down their edges to significantly decrease your risk of injury.

2. Install balance helpers on the stairs and in the bathroom
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services recommended putting handrails on both sides of your stairwell. Your banister may not be enough to help you get up and down safely. Having something sturdy on both sides of your body to hold on to could really help you use the stairs safely and efficiently. You may also want to add handrails in the bathroom to help you balance. You should also make sure your shower and/or bathtub are equipped with non-skid strips that help protect you from any harmful slips.

3. Throw away old food
According to Senior Helpers, Spring cleaning is a great time to finally get rid of the food that has piled up in your fridge. Your senses can sometimes weaken as you age and you may have difficulty smelling whether a food has gone bad. Consider asking a loved one to help you with this task, but if you're taking it on alone, just make sure to throw away anything you think is at risk of having spoiled. Of course, cleaning the fridge should be far more than a once-a-year task, so now is a good time to get in the habit of doing so about once a week.

"Get rid of any medicine that is expired or has not been stored properly."

4. Get rid of old medicine
UMH emphasized the importance of opening up that medicine cabinet to get rid of any medicine that is expired or has not been stored properly. Make sure your new medicine is not mixed up with any medication you no longer take and to make sure your current medicine is being stored somewhere cool and dark. Some medications require refrigeration, so read the instructions carefully. Remember, the bathroom is a very moist location, so don't keep your medicine there.

5. Evaluate your finances
Sunrise Senior Living said that spring cleaning can also be about sprucing up some other aspects of your life, aside from your home. You're already in the zone, ready to get your life in order and start anew, so it is also a great time to tackle any bills you haven't paid or reevaluate your current health plan to make sure you're getting the most bang for your buck.

6. Stay safe while you clean
Some of your spring cleaning tasks may require a substantial amount of heavy lifting. It is probably not a good idea to attempt this on your own. Instead, invite some friends and family over to help you out. Switch on some music, put out some delicious food and turn it into a cleaning party.

For the tasks you complete on your own, UMH suggested using cord-free cleaning tools for increased safety and ease. It is also in your best interest to let someone else do any work that requires standing on a ladder.

Spring cleaning can be fun and exciting; just make sure you do it safely.