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Don't you just love how "dust" is a form of weather here in West Texas? What an absolute treat.

Once, the wind was so strong it blew open the front door I had failed to lock- and my entire living room was coated in a thick layer of red dust. It was a nightmare. Let's not even get into raining mud.

Spring will be here soon, but I'm not sure our homes can wait on deep cleaning. Here are some tips I've discovered for a good Spring Pre-Cleaning, to combat our Mars-like landscape.

1. Top-to-Bottom 

Remember the Seinfeld episode (season 9, episode 9, The Apology) in which it's revealed that Kramer is taking hour-long showers because he's failing to wash his body top-to-bottom? It's the same thing with cleaning your house, especially when dealing with dust. Start with sweeping the cobwebs from corners, getting the dust off your ceiling fan blades then move to dust shelves and countertops. You should end with sweeping and mopping floors. Although if you have pet hair, you might do what I do and sweep several times anyway. It's a labor of love.

Pro Tip: Use an old pillowcase to clean your ceiling fan blades. Just put the blade inside the pillowcase. The dust will stay inside the pillowcase. Huzzah! Here's a video to help illustrate what I mean:

2. Filters

Your friendly HVAC person would beg you to do this- you must change your filter at least once a month, and it doesn't hurt to change it more often than that. I'd go as far as to say that unless you have extreme allergies, opt for cheaper filters more often than infrequently changing expensive ones.  Changing your filter frequently will extend the life of your AC unit, and help it cool more efficiently. And the more dust going into a new filter = the less dust goes everywhere in your house.

If you use a HEPA vacuum, make sure you are cleaning and/ or replacing the filter often as well, otherwise, you are just wasting time and leaving dust on the carpet. Don't forget to dust air vents, too, but follow the aforementioned top-to-bottom rule.

3. De-Clutter

I am- what is the polite word? A maximalist. Not a hoarder. Yes. Let's stick with that. I like stuff. I like a lot of stuff. However, even if you're like me, you still need to declutter surfaces like countertops and sink areas as much as possible. It's much easier to wipe down a countertop that only has a few essentials on it than to move a billion little things. You'll get demotivated and won't attempt it after a while.

Invest the time in organizing your cabinets, and invest a little in storage containers if they will actually help (instead of just being more stuff). Throw away anything expired, broken, torn, etc. It's okay to let useless things go. Let go of the guilt and let in the catharsis of getting rid of anything that no longer serves you. If you can donate it, that may help assuage your guilt and could help a worthy charity.

 4. Au-Natural

Not every fix requires a hammer, and not every clean requires a harsh cleanser. Items like your window blinds, or windows for that matter, are probably good with just a warm, wet rag to wipe them down. Cleaning in a toxic cloud isn't healthy or pleasant. Only use bleach or other strong chemicals when the job truly calls for some real muscle (or really needs to be disinfected). And never, ever mix any cleaning chemicals together.

5. Make It Fun (ish)

I like to "game-ify" cleaning by making a list of cleaning "accomplishments" to achieve. Ooh, what a nice little dopamine dose every time I mark something off! Relish each lost or forgotten thing you discover crammed in the back of a drawer. PLAY MUSIC. Something you really love with lots of energy. Remember that you are actually burning a ton of calories, too.

You Got This. And you are going to feel amazing in your relaxing, clean home. Until the next dust storm blows in.

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