Many of us are spending quite a lot of time inside of our homes. Well, I don’t know about you, but when I stay home for any long period of time, I start to notice the tiniest things that need cleaning. I’m not just talking about the neverending pile of laundry or the bowl from my macaroni and cheese that’s been in the sink for longer than it probably should. I’m talking about noticing the handprints on sliding glass doors to my patio, the spots of toothpaste on my bathroom mirror, the dust on the blinds, and so much more.
I am fully aware that this period is a really unfamiliar time for most of us and there is no one way that we “should” be utilizing our times. I believe that how we feel and how productive we are will come in waves. We may have a day or two where we want to do All The Things and then a few days where we just want to watch a few more episodes of our latest Netflix binge.
No matter where you land on the spectrum of feelings, if you find yourself wanting to get up and embrace some spring cleaning, here are some out-of-the-box places to consider that aren’t your closet.
1. Your mail holder
A few months ago, I noticed that we often tossed our mail onto the kitchen table after thumbing through it. This started to get annoying pretty quickly as we would then just shuffle it from surface to surface because it didn’t really have a real home. I bought a mail holder that hangs right by our front door and this has been great because everything is in one spot.
Cleaning out your mail holder is helpful because you can sort out any bills that need to be paid, toss out the junk mail, and file away anything that’s been taken care of that you’d like to keep a record of. Or maybe you’ll just find the debit card you’ve been waiting for weeks to arrive that you thought got lost in the mail, like me!
2. Your coat closet
Sometimes I like to play this game called “what random stuff can I pull out of my coat closet.” If this game sounds fun to you too, then give it a go! Depending on where you live, the weather may be starting to get a bit warmer which means those winter coats are ready for hibernation.
But before you tuck it away for months, try it on one more time and ask yourself if you’ll want to have this same coat again next year. If not, now is the time to donate it so it doesn’t take up space until winter.
3. Your underwear drawer
I recently bought all new bras and underwear, and I can’t tell you how much that boosted my body confidence. For the last year, I’ve been wearing a nursing bra, and when I decided to stop breastfeeding, I was looking forward to buying new undergarments. Now that the new pieces have arrived, it’s time for me to look at the older ones I was wearing, assess their condition (you know the ones I’m talking about!), and toss out what no longer fits and works. Bonus points if you organize them with these cute dividers.
4. Your medicine cabinet
Recently, my husband was unexpectedly sick with a terrible cold and I was rummaging around for cold medicine. Thankfully, I found some DayQuil and NyQuil, but truth be told, I had no idea how long that had been in there. Weeks? Months? Dare I say, years?
This made me think about checking the expiration dates more often, discarding what I don’t need or has expired and then restocking what we tend to use each time one of us gets sick. Additionally, many communities collect unused or expired medications for proper disposal, so check to see what’s available in yours before tossing in the garbage.
5. Your spice cabinet
Along the same lines as your medicine cabinet, take a look at your spice cabinet too! I just recently learned that spices can also have expiration dates anywhere from six months to five years.
Also, am I the only one who sometimes has multiple half-filled containers of the same spices? I often forget if I already have that spice when I’m at the store, so I just pick another one and come home to find out that I did, indeed, already have it. If you have multiples of the same spice, see if you can combine them together to save space.
6. Your refrigerator and freezer
Let’s stay in the kitchen a bit longer and clean out one of the places we use every single day: the refrigerator (and the freezer)! Call me weird, but I love when my refrigerator is clean, organized, and rid of all old sauces, ginger nubs, and random bags of “I’m not sure what this once was” that gets hidden in the back behind everything.
Sticking with the theme of expiration dates, take a look at your dressings, sauces, tomato pastes, and broths and see what is ready to be thrown out. Looking to jazz up your fridge space? I bought these organizers a year ago and still use them and love them!
With your freezer, check on leftovers that you’re holding on to, see if anything is freezer burned and needs to be tossed, and maybe give those ice trays a good wash before refilling.
7. The trunk of your car
One time in college, my friend opened up her trunk for us to put our luggage in and I was dumbfounded by how clean and organized the trunk of her car was—as a college student! Believe it or not, that always stuck with me. Right now, my stroller and some reusable grocery bags take up most of the space in my trunk, but it hasn’t always been that way.
Take inventory of what’s in your trunk and if that’s the best place for it. Bonus points if you even build yourself an emergency kit and keep it in your trunk too. This could include an extra blanket, a flashlight with an extra set of batteries, diapers and wipes, and extra set of clothes for your kid(s) and maybe a few nonperishable snacks like jerky or crackers.
Call me crazy, but I truly do enjoy when the spring cleaning time comes around every year. I’m sure you could easily add many more places to this list to clean. Make sure to tag #sharetheeverymom with your spring cleaning photos!
This story was originally published March 25, 2020 and has been updated for timeliness.