There’s no denying it, these are hard times. Events, large and small, are being canceled by the minute, universities are closing with schools probably not far behind. The City of Vienna is encouraging people to work from home if at all possible. With all this Coronavirus uncertainty, it’s hard not to feel anxious. While social distancing may be helpful in containing the outbreak, it can also lead to increased loneliness, turning what could be home-office bliss or a relaxing staycation into isolated misery.
In times of malaise, there are few things as therapeutic as cleaning. “While there are times we have to accept some situations in life, we do not have to accept an untidy home,” writes Psychologist Dr. Alicia H. Clark, in Hack Your Anxiety. And what better way to battle existential dread than by dusting, scrubbing and wiping all the nasty away? And even if you consider yourself a tidy person, let’s admit, there are areas that receive more attention than others. Here are seven deep-cleaning tips to restore a sense of (albeit remote) control and true domestic tranquility.
1. Door handles
This should be a no-brainer, especially during Coronavirus season, but do you regularly wipe down all the handles, doors and otherwise, with soap or disinfectant? If you never have, now would be your moment. After all, they get touched before and after we wash our hands. It’s better not to imagine how gross they actually are. Bring on the surface cleaner!
What gives you a fresher outlook on life than clean windows? Strangely enough, this is often the most neglected area when cleaning. Now is the time to make them glimmer to the point of your friends – who aren’t allowed to come over – saying, “Wait, there’s glass in these window frames?”
Pro tip: use a soft soap solution and a microfiber cloth. If you live in an Altbau, get that ladder out and clean the top windows too. Don’t skimp on the job – spring is here and you don’t want any smudgy residue as you stare out the window and contemplate your isolated existence, do you?
3. Top shelves and other surfaces
While you have that ladder ready, climb on up that bad boy and wipe down all the surfaces you can’t reach by standing on your toes. Just because you can’t see that dust doesn’t mean it’s not there. If you want to be extra grossed out, look at all the grime that your lampshades collect – it could make an entire dust bunny family. Let’s not even mention the greasy residue on top of your kitchen cabinets and the range hood, if you have one, just know it’s there and waiting to be eviscerated by you.
4. Inside cabinets
Do you know what’s lingering in the back of your kitchen cabinets? Stale granola, a bottle of rancid sesame oil perhaps, or an ancient Tupperware dish that’s developed a stench? Break the suspense and empty that baby out! Throw all the expired stuff away and give the cabinets a good, thorough wipe-down. Why don’t you spray in some kitchen disinfectant while you’re at it? Go nuts, live a little, kill all the germs! Promise yourself you’ll do better in the future and shop more responsibly. Good intentions can be a success in themselves.
5. The vacuum and other household items
Here’s a meta thought – do you ever clean your cleaning appliances? Nothing – and we mean nothing – is more satisfying than taking your vacuum apart and cleaning out every nook and cranny of the little guy until it, too, is spotless. You wouldn’t believe the amount of hair and dust that gets caught in the wheels and freeing it from its shackles can breathe new life into our little helpers. Pretending to be a surgical mechanic with a little screwdriver and a small brush can feel oddly therapeutic and thrilling at the same time.
6. Konmari your medicine cabinet
There’s probably a bunch of pills and syrups, both prescription and over the counter you kept, “just in case.” Why not take a trip down memory pain (see what we did there?) and weed out your medicine cabinet? Pull a Marie Kondo, lay it all out in front of you, say thanks for helping at the time, and toss it. Instead of asking if it “sparks joy,” check the expiration date and if it’s still good, hang on to it. While face masks won’t be so en vogue in a couple of months, Ibuprofen never goes out of style.
7. Wash curtains and other decorative fabric
How often do you throw your curtains in the wash? It can be such a chore to get them down from the curtain rod, not to mention hanging them back up again while they’re still damp and 10 times the weight. But it will ease your mind to know that all the dust and germs they’ve collected over time will be gone. And as an added bonus, your home will smell like fresh laundry for days. Washing your throw pillow covers is a lot easier and ultimately, just as satisfying. Do you have a mattress protector? Throw that sucker in with the laundry, too. While you’re at it, you may as well give your comforter a good and thorough wash. The bedding will be dry by morning and you can spend a night camped out in the living room. You know, switch things up. What a time to be alive!