Now that temperatures have dropped and we begin pulling out a sweater or two, it’s time to tackle spring cleaning in the fall. If you’ve never tried it, don’t despair; it’s good for the mind and your overall health, and will help you ease into the holiday season — well, easier.
If you are caring for another person in your home, you need to take some time for yourself. Avoid “caregiver burnout” and look for some local resources to help with respite care. You can use the time to focus on you and set some personal goals. You can also use the time to tackle some small decluttering projects at your own pace. Local resources like Lend a Hand of Boulder City and Nevada Lifespan offer respite care.
So, where do you begin your “fall” cleaning?
Falls are a leading cause of injury among older adults. In fact, 3 million older adults are treated for fall injuries in the emergency room every year. And every 20 minutes in the U.S., an older adult will die from a fall. As we age, physical conditions change as well as medications and both can lead to risk and serious injury. Falls are the number one cause of hip fracture and traumatic brain injury.
According to the Mayo Clinic, make an appointment with your doctor, stay active, wear sensible shoes, remove home hazards, light up your living space and use assistive devices.
More information is available at https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/fall-prevention/art-20047358.
Here are some helpful tips for fall cleaning.
Take an inventory of cleaning supplies, storage bins and trash bags before you begin and make a target list of areas you want to focus on:
■ Bathrooms: Especially under the sink and in the linen closet, and throw away the half-used or near-empty bottles of shampoo, conditioner, soap and other goods. Although you may consider “marrying” half-empty bottles, be cautious about the chemicals that may be in the bottle. And don’t flush the contents down the drain; send the whole kit and caboodle to the landfill.
■ Refrigerators: The hodgepodge of lost and misplaced items, a wasteland for the unwanted. Don the gloves and go deep. Pull out the half bottles of dressing and check the dates. Reach for the leftovers, take stock of the condiments and scour the bins and shelves. Opening the door to a clean and organized fridge can be exhilarating.
■ Bedding and linen closets: These tend to accumulate another set of misfits. Take the time to pull out all the towels, comforters, bed skirts, curtains, blankets and anything else that made its way into the linen closet. Inspect the pieces and decide whether it needs to be donated, trashed or if it’s a keeper. And if the latter rings true, then organize the shelves by items and label the shelves to make it easier for everyone to put things away in their rightful place.
The benefits of fall cleaning go deeper than decluttering. Not only do you gain a sense of accomplishment, but you improve your daily life and air quality by getting rid of dust that accumulates in the backs of dressers, closets and spaces in your home. And cleaning with improved sanitizers helps decrease the spread of germs and lessens the risk of illness.
On a final note, a good fall cleaning paves the way for a less stressful holiday season.
To Your Health is provided by the staff of Boulder City Hospital. For more information, call 702-293-4111, ext. 576, or visit bchcares.org.