Even if your home is in relatively good order,there's something cathartic about spring cleaning. This September, take some time to get yourself organised with this list of tasks.
There are some great spring cleaning checklists out there, but to us, spring cleaning is about more than wiping up dirt from all around your house. It's about getting organised, getting rid of the bloat in your life, and giving yourself a clean slate. So with that, we've gathered up some of our past posts and organised them into our own list of essential spring cleaning tasks — including lots of tech-centric stuff.
Clean Your Tech
This is Lifehacker, so let's be honest and say that most of our lives revolve at least a little around our technology. Chances are, you've got just as much clutter connected to your tech — whether it's software bloat or dust in your fans — as you do the rest of your house. So let's start easy with some tech-centric cleaning jobs.
Dust And Shine Your Hardware
Let's start with the physical hardware. No matter what gadgets you have, chances are they could use a little cleaning. If you have a desktop computer, blow out some of the dust with a can of compressed air — this will help keep it cool as summer draws near. If you have a laptop, you should do the same, though it's a bit more complicated — and while you're at it, you can give your laptop a complete makeover by removing grime, cleaning your keyboard, and fixing any broken parts. And while you're at it, your computer peripherals and touch screen gadgets might like a little cleaning, too.
Run Some Software Maintenance
Next, take a look at your software. Modern computers handle an awful lot of maintenance tasks for you (like derfragging), but there are still some things you can do — whether you're on Windows, Mac, or even Linux.
We've detailed most of this in our spring cleaning guides for your Windows and Mac systems: Grab a hard drive analyser and clean up space wasting files, ensure you have a working, regular backup, and uninstall any apps you don't use anymore. By the end of the day, your system will feel like new again.
Revoke Old App Permissions
Software cleanups are all good and well, but so much of our lives are on the web these days — and cleanup there is just as important (if not more so). Head into Facebook and Twitter's App Settings and revoke permissions for any apps you don't use anymore. Once you've done that, check out a tool like MyPermissions which will list a bunch of other services (including Google, Dropbox and Yahoo) that you've connected to other apps. From MyPermissions' home page, you should be able to jump right to each of those services and clean them up easily.
Clean Your Home
Now that the "fun" stuff is out of the way, it's time to get to some of the more traditional spring cleaning tasks — with a few less traditional tricks. Here are some other jobs you should add to the calendar this spring.
Get Rid Of The Clutter
We all have clutter, but some of us are much worse than others. Whether you've just got a few extra things or you're a compulsive hoarder, it's time to clean out the junk. If you're looking to do a full-on clutter cleanout, check out our guide to kicking your clutter habit. Ask yourself: what would you replace if you lost everything? Is this item actually useful, or is it sentimental? If it's sentimental, is it actually worth keeping — or am I just too scared to get rid of it? Remember, while you're cleaning, think of what you can sell. After all, why throw everything away when you could get a little money for it?
Organise Your Office And Kitchen
Some rooms are easier to clean than others. You may spend a lot of time in your living room, for example, but it doesn't have quite the utility of your kitchen or office — which are just as important to keep organised as they are clean. So, when it comes time to clean them, give them a little extra TLC. If you have to, start from scratch and re-organise everything in terms of utility. Put the items you use most often in the drawer closest to you, and make use of empty space behind, under, or above things. This goes for both your office and your kitchen (for example, keep your silverware, plates and glasses in the drawers closest to the dishwasher — and your less regularly used appliances in the hard-to-reach spots.
Overhaul Your Finances
OK, it's not exactly "cleaning your house," but it's a non-tech spring cleaning project we think everyone should undertake. Hopefully you already have a budget in place (if not, here's how to get started), but take a look at it and re-evaluate anything that's changed. Get a raise or a pay cut this year? You'll need to tweak your spending habits accordingly.
Buckle Down And Clean
We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the more traditional cleaning jobs everyone thinks of when they say "spring cleaning". As we mentioned at the top, there are some great checklists out there that list all the basic tasks, right down to "dust the lighting fixtures" and "clean the oven". Sure, you can fake a clean house during the year, but it's spring cleaning time — so stop faking and start doing it! You can get most of the big stuff done in only 15 minutes, so think of what you could do if you gave yourself 30. Then, as the year goes on, make regular cleaning dashes — even 5 minutes worth — and you won't have to fake that clean house anymore.
Make It Fun
All that sound awful to you? Don't give up hope — you just need to make it a little more fun. Cranking up some music and dancing while you clean goes a long way, though there are other things you can do, too. Throw on some headphones and listen to a podcast, or enlist your roommate or spouse to help you — after all, it's their house too. Many hands make light work, and spending some quality time can make the whole thing go a lot faster. Hopefully, by the time you're done, you'll have that cathartic clean slate, and it won't have been that painful.
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