Adriana Zoder: Now's a good time to clean up around the house

Feb. 16, 2013 @ 08:36 PM

A friend of mine who owns a carpet cleaning business gives me great tips about cleaning in general.

Once, she mentioned that January is the best month for spring cleaning. At first, it seemed strange. But then, as she explained more, I got it.

Tourist business is slow. The weather keeps us from spending too much time outside, although if you get a few warm days so you can pick up sticks around the yard, by all means. So you focus more on the inside of the house.

Also, if you need to exercise— and who doesn’t? — what better way than to vacuum, mop, reach for spider webs in high corners and move boxes around? (Always bend the knees when picking up a box, no matter how light.)

Spring cleaning can get your heart rate up just as much as a good hike or a treadmill.

Not the mention that Christmas decorations must go back to the attic or basement anyway in January. One needs to vacuum all those Christmas tree needles. Whether fake or real, these needles fall everywhere around the tree, under couches and armchairs and get carried all over the house.

While you are at it, might as well look into some other corners of your house that need some attention.

Dusting paintings and picture frames, rearranging and culling your books and magazines, organizing closets and pantries – all are perfectly acceptable activities for a cold winter evening.

This is the time of the year to get your tax papers and receipts organized, too. There’s nothing on TV anyway — nothing worth watching that is.

All the cleaning gurus out there say the easiest way to clean out a closet, a basement, an attic or any space that contains unorganized junk is to sort contents into three boxes labeled “Keep,” “Throw” and “Give away.” Be ruthless. Get rid of stuff. At the same time, be gentle with your own feelings.

Take a picture if you need to. We keep stuff because we are emotionally attached to it. Ask yourself why you keep certain things. Can somebody else benefit from it? If you have not done anything with it in a year, is it realistic to expect that you will in the next twelve months?

If you feel like it, you can always have a yard sale during one of those unseasonably warm days February usually graces us with. Put an ad in the paper about it. More people will show up that way. More of your stuff will find new homes. Or Craigslist it.cPersonally, I have great response from that website – probably because I underprice my stuff. But the idea is to move it.

One cannot get hung up on making a lot of money. Once a lady drove to Gatlinburg all the way from Johnson City to purchase some baby gear from me.

Sprucing up the house leads to a clearing of yourself like nothing else, which spills into your family life in a good way.

Relationship experts agree: while a couple’s retreat may be in order from time to time, cleaning the house together allows for great bonding. What better thing then to do together in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s? If you missed the boat this year, don’t fret. Spring cleaning can happen any time of the year.

— Adriana Zoder, who was born in Romania, is an American citizen living with her husband and two children in Gatlinburg.Email to