Updated: Mar 26
It's hard to miss the recent news about the Coronavirus. Our news media is covering it around the clock, our local grocery stores have growing empty shelves, national events are being cancelled and we're getting emails from schools, churches and businesses on new protocols. It can be hard to put the coronavirus out of our minds.
As we continue to learn more about what this means for us as individuals, one thing is likely - we'll be spending more time in our homes this spring than we had first thought. In light of the COVID-19's impact in the United States and around the globe, the topic of cleaning has risen exponentially in importance.
Neat Little Nest has been sharing thoughts on spring decluttering and cleaning all month long, so we are choosing to dedicate this March post to spring cleaning and the Coronavirus.
how decluttering + organizing help with cleaning
When you home is cluttered and disorganized, it becomes much more difficult to clean since you have to move so many things around to actually clean the space.
Taking the time to remove items from your home that you no longer love or need (decluttering) and then creating a home for the items you keep (organizing), will make cleaning your home on an ongoing basis, or in times of sickness, much easier.
I always recommend decluttering first, cleaning second. Having said that, if your home is extremely cluttered and you don't have enough time to fully declutter first, then declutter and clean + disinfect high-use items and areas first and then restart your decluttering.
cleaning and the coronavirus | 2-pronged approach
What is currently known about COVID-19 and similar illnesses such as SARS and MERS, is that person-to-person transmission is the most likely source of infection, most frequently through respiratory droplets passed from talking, coughing or sneezing within ~6 feet. Transmission by contaminated surfaces has not been documented, but there’s evidence that the new coronavirus may remain viable for hours or days on surfaces.
The best places to stay updated on health guidelines is from trusted organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or Public Health Emergency.
As it relates to cleaning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a two-pronged approach. The first step is to clean visibly dirty and frequently touched surfaces often, followed by disinfection, as a best practice for the prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses.
Step 1: Clean
The first step is to clean frequently touched surfaces using detergent or soap with water daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. As you likely know, I'm a big fan of using non-toxic cleaning products given the harm that some of the ingredients in many cleaning products can do to our health.You can find my favorite cleaners here.
Step 2: Disinfect
The second step is to disinfect the surfaces after you've cleaned them. A few options for disinfecting include:
alcohol solutions | ensure solution has 70% alcohol
diluting household bleach | 1/3rd cup bleach per gallon or 4 teaspoons per quart of water. Be cautious when using by following ventilation requirements and by ensuring you do not mix with ammonia
EPA-registered household disinfectants | CDC has a list of disinfectants here
how weekly routines can help keep spaces clean
Many of you are familiar with my Weekly Reset, but if you're new here, let me give you the cliff notes version. Each week, my entire family dedicates time to do a select set of tasks to reset our home. While there is slight variation week-to-week, the main tasks we focus on each week include:
putting items back to their homes
taking inventory of food supplies + planning weekly meals
clean any spaces in the house that need it
For us, this weekly routine has been done for so long it's now a habit and part of what we do.
using #Focused15 for daily cleaning
For those of you who are new to Neat Little Nest, you might not have heard me talk about a Focused15, so let me define it briefly. The Focused15 is a simple technique where you pick a task, set a timer for 15 minutes and focus your mind and body on getting the task done. Using this strategy to speed clean your home daily is an excellent approach to keeping germs at bay.
When there is a virus in your community or someone in your home is sick, daily cleaning of high-use items like tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks can go a long way in keeping you healthy.
To clean, I like to use non-toxic products and my favorite are Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap and Sal's Suds. To disinfect, I use alcohol wipes for my phone and keyboard/mouse that I keep in my purse. I use alcohol solutions or hydrogen peroxide to disinfect other surfaces and areas in my home.
decreasing mental clutter
When there is so much attention on one topic, it can overwhelm us and cause stress. Some things to consider when your mind is cluttered with unproductive thoughts:
Take a deep breath
Take a walk
Reflect on what you have and are grateful for
Find ways to help others
Take a news and social media break
Self care is especially important during times of stress, so do what you can to stay at peace inside as things around you seem to be the opposite.
I'm sure happy I've purchased a few new face scrubs and masks, which I'll be using in the coming weeks as they are some of my favorite self-care indulgences.