Spring is upon us and with warmer temperatures, longer days and more pleasant attitudes comes the desire to organize, clean and start fresh. Whether you’re a brain injury survivor, family member or caregiver, spring cleaning can help you get organized after a long, dreary winter. Too much clutter and a lack of organization can make you feel anxious and overwhelmed. Often, survivors and caregivers are so busy with doctors appointments, rehabilitation and mundane, but necessary tasks that cleaning and organization can fall to the back burner, so getting organized at the start of a new season is a great way to have a fresh outlook. Consider these tips for starting spring cleaning:
1. Sort through spring clothes. Go through this season’s clothes to make sure everything fits. Make piles of clothes to keep and give away. Use the rule of thumb that anything you haven’t worn in a year you should consider giving away to charity.
2. Pack away winter clothes. Make sure you have a few warmer items for those cool spring days, but the majority of your bulky sweaters can be packed away. Under-bed chests and storage bins are great for storing clothes that are out of season.
3. Throw away old bills, letters, etc. Sort through a mail bin if you have one, your purse or briefcase, coupon holders, etc. to throw away anything outdated that you no longer need. Paper tends to create plenty of clutter, so throwing away old items will help you feel more organized.
4. Clean your refrigerator and pantry. Take all items out and look for anything that is expired, so you can throw it away. Then, clean all the shelves and drawers before putting the food back in.
5. Sort the medications in your medicine cabinet. Look for expired prescriptions and medications you no longer need. Many communities offer “take-back” programs, so you can dispose of old medications safely. Before you throw them out, check the drug label for instructions on disposing them.
6. If you haven’t already, establish a bulletin board in your home – in a home office or perhaps in the kitchen – to serve as a place for reminders and notes, a calendar and other organizational items, which will make it easier for you to keep track of your appointments and plan out your day, week and month.
7. Clean – OK, so we know it’s not the most exciting tip on this list, but cleaning behind those dusty cupboards, on top of the refrigerator and in all of those hard-to-reach places at the start of the season will help you set foot into spring the right way.
8. Brighten your mood with spring shades. Do you have any spring decor? A specific comforter for the season? If not, go out and get some fun throw pillows in bright colors or perhaps a great piece of art. Make your home feel bright and airy for spring which will not only be great for the season, but also brighten your mood. Fresh flowers are another great way to spruce up the space in your home.
9. Do a safety check. With the temperature reaching up into the 60s and 70s, there’s no question we all want to open the windows and get some fresh air. However, window screens, which are meant to keep out bugs and debris, do not prevent falls. Each summer, the news often features a story of someone – usually a child – who fell out a window. Check to make sure screens are secure and install window safety devices like window guards and window stops. The best way to prevent falls is to stay far from windows, no matter what your age. Even leaning by an open window can be hazardous.
10. Ask for help if you need it. If you’re unable to reach certain areas or simply need assistance cleaning and organizing, ask a caregiver, family member or friend to help you.
For more information on brain injury, go to www.biama.org.