Start Small With a Winter Deep-Clean

With a winter storm blanketing much of the United States with snow, it’s unlikely that legendary groundhog Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow tomorrow morning. To cope with another six weeks of winter gloom, try doing a thorough #deep-cleaning of your home. Start small, says My Creative Days. Pick a single drawer, closet or room, and #purge it of accumulated #junk. Keep an empty box nearby for anything you find to #donate to ClothingDonations.org, and call for a #donation #pickup as soon as you fill a few boxes or bags. Then #deep-clean the area and #organize the stuff that goes back in it.

Six More Weeks of Winter for Decluttering

The sky was overcast as Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his Western Pennsylvania burrow early Saturday morning. He “told” his Inner Circle handlers that he hadn’t seen seen his shadow, and to expect an early spring.

But the world’s most famous marmot is notoriously inaccurate. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the woodchuck has zero predictive skill, and Phil’s track record has been equal to a coin toss — about 50/50 — for the last 10 years.

Whatever the groundhog says, no one north of the 35th parallel should be surprised to see wintry weather through mid-March at least. But having projects to do inside your own “burrow” while you hibernate will help make the next six weeks fly by.

This year — instead of just hoping for an early spring — make an early spring cleaning a reality. Start now by #decluttering, says The Simply Organized Home, because “There is no point in cleaning things that you don’t need, use or love.”

Put away or donate any winter-themed knickknacks and decorative items. With those out of the way and the junk you don’t want boxed and bagged for a #donation pickup from ClothingDonations.org, you can get to work on a deep-clean.

Start with the entryways, a checklist from Premeditated Leftovers says. Sweep, mop, and wipe down all surfaces. Empty the front closet to clean and store heavy sweaters and winter coats as the weather warms, or #donate them if they didn’t see any use over the winter.

Clean seldom-considered areas including as sliding door tracks, dryer vents, behind appliances, and the tops of baseboards and picture frames. Pressure-wash the patio and scrub your outdoor furniture and grill so you’re ready to enjoy warmer weather.

If you’re feeling ambitious (or empowered by your initial success), repeat the decluttering/deep-cleaning process in every room of the home, one by one. By the time temperatures reach the 60s and 70s again, your home will be streamlined and sanitized.

When you finally emerge from hibernation to see your shadow, you will no longer be encumbered by useless stuff and your home will feel fresh. And you’ll be ready to make the most of the spring and summer seasons.

The Groundhog’s Guide to Surviving Winter

Hang on to your warm, furry hats: Punxsutawney Phil, the world’s most celebrated groundhog, gazed at the ground and beheld his shadow Friday morning. This means six more weeks of frigid winter, if you trust the weather forecasting skills of this oversize rodent. —The Washington Post, Feb. 2, 2018

Right about now, it seems like winter might never end. So far, the season has brought snow to more parts of the country than usual, and long stretches of subzero temperatures to places used to the precipitation. And whether you believe in Punxsutawney Phil or real meteorologists, you can take a cue from the rodent charged with predicting winter’s length to survive it.

Groundhogs (or woodchucks) quite literally “hole up” for most of the winter. The average burrow is about 3 feet deep and 14 feet long, and includes 11 dens and galleries, including sleeping quarters, a nursery and a “bathroom.” Groundhogs keep these areas organized and neat — even waking from hibernation periodically throughout the winter for short bursts of housekeeping.

You can do the same! Nobody is going to judge if you want to spend some quality indoor time with the family, TV and couch when the wind blows and the temperatures drop. But at some point, you’ll have to harness the energy necessary to clean that nest.

Pick up detritus from meals and snacks as soon as you finish them. Make sure that all dishes go back to their designated areas for cleaning (and clean them on a daily basis). Gather up strewn-about clothing and blankets and get them into the washer. On a dry day, take dirty throw rugs, bedding and other mucked-up washables and put them through a cycle, too. Dust, sweep and mop to get winter dirt up and out of your home.

In completing these tasks quickly and continuously, you’ll make your space even more comfortable. You might also feel such a sense of accomplishment in getting those routine housekeeping chores done that you’ll be able to relax and “hibernate” more completely. You could even celebrate with a small reward such as a pizza or cup of hot chocolate.

In the spring — like the groundhog — you’ll be able to emerge from your burrow, enjoy the sunshine and indulge in healthy vegetarian options. But until the icy weather ends in six weeks, the challenge is to keep the space where you spend most of your time clean.