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'Micro' spring cleaning: a lazy person's guide to chores

A couple days ago a co-worker asked to borrow the multipurpose cleanser I keep in my bottom drawer. She wanted to wipe down a section of her desk.

“I should clear everything off and wash the whole thing, but I’ll start small. It’s micro spring cleaning,” she laughed.

Then she admitted this: The whole notion of spring cleaning terrifies her. And she even subscribes to Martha Stewart Living magazine!

Maybe starting small is a good way to go, we decided. Because, of course, doing one small task around the house often makes you want to do more.

Let’s say you are feeling overwhelmed by all the dirty windows in your house.

“Just wash the window you look out of the most,” she suggested. “At least you know you have done something.”

Looking for other micro spring cleaning ideas? Here are some from our brainstorming session:

* Gather all the empty hangers from your closet. Too much? How about just five?

* Sweep the kitchen floor.

* Replace a burned-out lightbulb.

* Replace your toothbrush.

* Remove the decorative Valentine heart or St. Patrick’s Day shamrock from your front door. Please don’t tell us your Christmas wreath is still up.

* Put away the shovel on your back stoop.

* Recycle the laundry detergent bottles that have been gathering in the laundry all winter long. While you’re at it, empty the overflowing wastebasket where you toss the dryer sheets and balls of lint. The one you always forget to empty.

* Clean out one corner of the refrigerator.

* Since you’re at the refrigerator, remove all the expired rebate forms, appointment cards and other old stuff you have magneted to the door.

* Run your vehicle through a car wash. Multitask: Once inside the wash, gather up the gum wrappers and tissues from cup holders and door pockets instead of marveling at the blinking lights outside your window.

* Buy something pretty for your home. A vase of tulips will motivate you to dust the table you want to put them on.

* Remove at least six useless items from a drawer. An empty tape roll. The price tag from a new sweater. A bent picture hook. Things like that.

* Recycle an armful of catalogs, magazines or newspapers – except for this section. You may want to refer back to it.

Now, that wasn’t so bad, was it?

Before long you’ll be cleaning the tile grout, laundering the curtains and vacuuming the lampshades.

Gently, of course.

Save the elbow grease for scrubbing the kitchen floor.

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