pair of white sneakers beside vacuum cleaner
Photo by No Revisions

Spring Cleaning: The Sneaky Workout You Didn’t Know You Needed

Spring cleaning may not be the most exciting task on your to-do list, but it can actually be a sneaky way to get a workout in. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy we burn during our daily activities, and cleaning and organizing your home can be a great way to boost NEAT and burn some extra calories. In this article, we’ll explore some common spring cleaning tasks and how many calories they can burn per hour, as well as tips on how to tackle cleaning out and organizing your closets and kitchen cabinets.

The Power of the Monica Gelller Cleaning Workout

Monica Geller, one of the beloved characters from the hit TV show “Friends,” was well-known for her love of cleaning. She was often seen tidying up her apartment or scrubbing a spot on the floor, and her obsession with cleanliness was a running joke throughout the series. However, her dedication to cleaning actually had some positive side effects- cleaning is a great form of meditation, and an excellent workout both for cardio and strength training!

There really is something to this, even if Monica is not a real person. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), on average, a 125-pound person can burn around 99 calories per 30 minutes of light cleaning, while a 155-pound person can burn approximately 124 calories during the same amount of time. More vigorous cleaning tasks, such as scrubbing floors or washing windows, can burn even more calories.

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Watch Monica and her top 10 cleaning tips here! (and look at those biceps). My favorite tip: Keep everything in its proper place!

Good-bye, Ruby Tuesday’s

I can also tell you from personal experience that hustling and bustling really leans you out – though I found this out by accident. When I was 17, I took an after school job at Ruby Tuesday’s as a hostess. Now most of the time, you are standing up front and showing people to their seats. During my starting orientation, my manager told me that if it was slower I could buss tables. One night while it was not busy I took a few plates to the dishwasher station – and saw a flash of white teeth through the window. His name was Elijah, and he was my first teenage crush. Thereafter, I started bussing tables like nobody’s business. By the end of the summer, I was pinning my black pants in my uniform after losing 2-3 inches in my waist! So thank you Elijah, whereever you are, even though you completely had no interest whatsoever!

Spring Cleaning – the Seasonal Workout to Do Right Now

Spring cleaning is a great way to burn calories and get your body moving. Not only does it help you clean your house, but it also gives you an opportunity to get some exercise in the process. Manual labor and housework can give you a great workout and help you burn calories faster than most other activities.

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Manual labor such as sweeping, mopping, and scrubbing floors can all be great calorie-burning activities. Even tasks like dusting furniture and washing windows can help you burn extra calories while getting your home ready for spring. Plus, these activities are great for toning your muscles and improving your overall fitness level.

If you need a reminder, here is my article on NEAT and why it is an even better way to burn calories than traditional exercise:

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Common Spring Cleaning Tasks and Calorie Burn:

  • Vacuuming: Depending on your weight and the intensity of your vacuuming, you can burn anywhere from 119 to 238 calories per hour.
  • Scrubbing the floors: Whether you’re on your hands and knees or using a mop, scrubbing the floors can burn around 238 calories per hour.
  • Cleaning windows: Cleaning your windows inside and out can burn around 170 calories per hour.
  • Gardening: If you’re tending to your garden, you can burn around 238 to 340 calories per hour, depending on the activity.
  • Rearranging furniture: Moving heavy furniture around can burn around 476 calories per hour.
  • Cleaning out and organizing closets: Cleaning out and organizing your closet can burn around 85 to 170 calories per hour, depending on the intensity.
  • Cleaning out and organizing kitchen cabinets: Cleaning out and organizing your kitchen cabinets can burn around 136 to 204 calories per hour.
white wooden door on brown wooden parquet floor
Photo by Point3D Commercial Imaging Ltd.

Tips for Cleaning Out and Organizing Closets:

The number one reason I love my husband is because he gave me all of the bedroom closet space. But I do need to really organize it, so I have reserved my weekend to roll up my sleeves and DO IT by the time this article goes to press. Let me tell you from doing this previously, it burns a JILLION calories and takes forever. So queue up your playlist and block a day on a quiet spring weekend, maybe picking on a rainy one in advance!

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To Carrie’s credit, she wore every single thing before deciding what to do with it. TAKE, TOSS, OR STORAGE!
  • Take everything out of the closet and sort it into piles of take, toss, or donate – see above video from Sex and the City for reference. It may or may not help to drink a lot of champagne with your friends and have a dress up dance party!
  • Before putting items back in the closet, make sure to dust and wipe down the shelves and rods.
  • Consider using slim hangers to save space and make it easier to see all of your clothing. I just got a bunch of them from TJ maxx and it freed up about 6 feet of extra space.
  • Store out-of-season clothing in a separate location to free up space in your closet.
white microwave oven on white wooden cabinet
Photo by JOSBRA design

Tips for Cleaning Out and Organizing Kitchen Cabinets:

Cleaning the kitchen is also a great way to get rid of processed foods that no longer serve your health goals, like flours, leftover holiday and party treats, cookies, sugary cereals, crackers, and pastries. Take a huge trash bag and just start collecting the low hanging fruit of foods that you don’t need in your life right now. Follow these additional tips to get organized:

  • Remove everything from the cabinets and sort it into piles of keep, donate, and toss.
  • Before putting items back in the cabinets, make sure to wipe down the shelves and cabinet doors.
  • Use clear containers to store items like pasta, cereal, and snacks to make it easier to see what you have.
  • Consider using shelf risers and organizers to maximize space and keep everything neat and tidy.
black metal tool lot
Photo by todd kent @ Unsplash

Tips for Cleaning Out the Garage

  • Start by removing everything from the garage and grouping similar items together.
  • Sort through each group of items and decide what to keep, donate, sell, or throw away.
  • Consider renting a dumpster or scheduling a bulky item pickup to dispose of larger items or a large quantity of junk.
  • Create a designated space for each group of items, such as a tool rack for gardening tools or shelves for sporting equipment.
  • Install wall organizers or pegboards to maximize space and keep tools off the ground.
  • Label each container or bin with its contents for easy access and organization.
  • Keep frequently used items at eye level and less frequently used items higher up or on lower shelves.
  • If possible, park your car in the garage to prevent clutter from building up again in the future.

The Ultimate Cleaning Book Guide: The Magic of Tidying Up

Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” introduces the KonMari Method, a revolutionary approach to decluttering and organizing your home. The premise of the book is to simplify your life by surrounding yourself only with the things that bring you joy. Kondo suggests tackling your belongings category by category, rather than room by room, and keeping only what sparks joy in your life. She also emphasizes the importance of thanking items you discard for their service and letting them go with gratitude. With practical tips and personal anecdotes, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” has become a bestseller and inspired a global movement of decluttering and simplifying.

By adding cleaning out and organizing closets and kitchen cabinets to your spring cleaning checklist, you’ll not only burn some extra calories but also create a more organized and functional living space. Happy cleaning!

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