In the typical frustrating fashion of student life, spring cleaning season happens to land on the same few weeks as midterm season — but it doesn’t have to be as painful as it sounds. Taking the time for a cleanup can actually be quite helpful.
Cleaning can be the worst — it takes up time and your hands smell like Fantastik afterwards — but a serious deep cleanse of your living space can feel therapeutic. It can also be less work than you think, especially if you start small.
First, start with laundry. Pick up all the clothes on your floor and throw them in the wash. Your room will look exponentially better, and it might even lead you to downsize your closet.
Bag up all those clothes you haven’t worn lately, and be brutally honest with yourself. A good rule of thumb is to question whether you’ve actually worn the item within the last six months — if not, it’s time to move on.
Value Village, the Salvation Army and Community Living all appreciate donations. Or, if you could use a little extra cash, try consigning the clothes at secondhand shops like Plato’s Closet. If nothing else, this exercise frees up closet space so you can reward yourself with some shopping later.
While you’re bagging things, take out all of your recycling. Whether they’re energy drink cans or empty bottles of tequila, taking those recyclables to SARCAN can put another few dollars in your pocket. It can also be a quick study break that offers some fresh air and human interaction, which can be few and far between during the school year.
Feeling good so far? Move your laundry along and keep going.
Next, tackle the kitchen. Clean out your fridge, freezer and cupboards and get rid of all the gross stuff, like stale taco shells and half-used jars of pad-thai sauce. It’s always a good idea to keep your fridge free of funky smells, but it can also remind you of all the food in your cupboard that you forgot about. Replace your usual, go-to meal with something more exciting and break out of the rut that students so often fall into during those mid-semester blues.
If you discover any canned goods and non-perishable items — and you can’t remember why you ever thought you’d use them — there are always plenty of places that accept food donations, like the Saskatoon Food Bank and Friendship Inn. The Lighthouse also takes donations of perishable and non-perishable food items, as well as many other household items listed on their website.
While you’re on a roll, move on to cleaning the floors. I know it’s the worst chore, but there’s a trick to make it way better: turn it into a dance party. Crank up one of those songs that you can’t help but dance to — like some Backstreet Boys — and just go nuts.
Shaking your butt in the middle of your kitchen can be unbelievably cathartic and a cost-efficient stress reliever. I recommend making it a weekly routine.
In between great choreography and awesome solos, strip the sheets off your bed and run them through the laundry. There’s nothing more satisfying than crawling into a clean, recently-made bed at the end of your day. Exams are stressful and no one likes acne breakouts — clean sheets are your best friend in that particular battle.
Pull out the furniture in your living room while you’re vacuuming — and dancing — and dust in all those little corners. If you’re really feeling up to it, rearrange your furniture and try something new. Who knows, maybe you’ll like reading academic articles better with your couch on the opposite side of the room, or maybe you’ll find all the pocket change that drunk you dropped between the cushions.
The best thing about spring cleaning is the convenience. It’s the perfect method of avoiding schoolwork in a productive, guilt-free way. It’s easy to do on a budget — we’ve all been to Dollarama — and maybe crossing off chores on your list will give you that second wind of motivation that Tim Hortons couldn’t.
Image: Ashley Britz