Spring is here and time to plan that spring cleaning in and around the house. Have you ever noticed that the state of your home impacts the way you feel? If your home is cluttered, then your mind can feel "cluttered" too. If your closet is clean and organized, you can start dressing better because you can now see all the items you own. If your bathroom is dirty, do you really feel clean after taking a shower?

Simply put, cleaning and living in a clean house makes everyone feel better. There are a few little things you can do daily that will make a huge impact on the cleanliness of your home, as well as how it makes you feel. First thing in the morning, make your bed. Instantly your bedroom will look cleaner and cared for. It is a positive habit that is good for your mind, and it takes less than 5 minutes to make your bed.

Second, open up the curtains or blinds and allow the sunshine to filter in. This is an instant mood booster, especially in the spring time. It also makes you feel good during the day with the sun shining through those freshly clean windows.

Don't go to the bed with dirty dishes in your sink. If you do, then you are greeted with dirty dishes in the morning. Make sure your sink is shiny so when you get ready to make coffee, you have a welcoming scene with which to start the day. Make it a habit to sweep those rooms that need it daily, and don't allow the dirt to accumulate. Some rooms may only require running the sweeper weekly, or even monthly, while others require sweeping daily.

If you have children, give them daily chores that helps with the cleaning. If their room is cluttered, they will be less likely to be able to focus. Teach your children to make up their bed when the get up in the morning. Also make sure they pick up their dirty clothes and place them in the hamper. If the clothing is clean and can be worn again without washing, encourage them to hang the clothing up. Starting a routine with your children when they are young just helps to form a habit which hopefully will continue as they get older.

For the younger children show them how to put their toys away after they are finished playing; encourage them to do this each night before going to bed. It may take you helping to put the toys away, but you are forming a habit for the child. Your children can also be taught to give away those toys they no longer play with and clothing they have outgrown, or no longer like.

When you declutter your house, your home will looks good and will be easier to keep it clean. Everyone has some clutter around the house, and getting rid of those items you no longer use or need can be a difficult task. With clothing, we often think "I'll wear this next year," but if you haven't worn it this year, or definitely not the past two years, then give it away, have a yard sale, donate it to charity, but get rid of the clutter. Go through your clothing at the end of the season, your cabinets and drawers, your closets, and donate or throw away those items you have not used this year. Don't even put them in a pile to think about if you are going to use the items again. Go through your jewelry and if you haven't worn it in years, then give it away to your children, neighbor, or donate to a charity. Try your best to donate or throw away your clutter.

Don't spend all one day cleaning and throwing away items. This will wear you out. Instead spend an hour or two a day cleaning and organizing. Spring cleaning doesn't have to be done in one day or one week. You can try cleaning one room daily or even weekly. Once you get rid of all that clutter, then you will find that it is much easier to keep your house clean.

Cleaning, cooking and laundering play a fundamental role in our everyday lives at home, in school and in the workplace. Cleaning products safely and effectively remove soils, germs and other contaminants. Household products prevent the spread of infectious diseases and control allergens, such as dust and mold, helping us to stay healthy. Not everyone enjoys house cleaning or decluttering, so get in the mood and begin your spring cleaning. Only you know what you need to pass on or give away so get busy, and let your family help give away their clutter too.

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

Most of our children and family love Tacos. They are healthy and easy to make. Try this Lettuce Taco from our Plate It Up Recipes.

Green Lettuce Tacos

8 large lettuce leaves

1 ½ cups cooked rice

1 pound ground beef

1 tablespoon olive oil

¾ cup corn kernels

1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed

1 small zucchini, chopped

1 ounce packet taco seasoning

4 ounces tomato sauce

1 teaspoon cilantro

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 tomato, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped

Wash and Dry lettuce leaves. Prepare rice according to package directions. Brown ground beef and drain off fat. Add olive oil to beef, if needed, and add corn, black beans, and zucchini. Continue to cook until vegetables are tender. Add in taco seasoning and tomato sauce and heat through. Add cilantro, lime juice to the prepared rice. Place equal amounts of rice mixture and taco mixture onto the lettuce leaves. Top each taco with chopped tomato and onion. Will make 8 servings.

"Events at the Pulaski County Extension Office"

Be sure to call the Extension Office and order your lunch for delivery on Thursday, April 25. The cost is $5 with all proceeds going to the Cancer Relay for Life event. Delivery will be made to sites ordering 10 or more lunches. You can also order your lunch and pick it up at the Extension Office between 11:00 and 1:00.

"Green Cleaning for spring" will be held on Tuesday, April 30, starting at 1:00 at the Pulaski County Extension Office. We will be making cleaning product including Beeswax Reusable Food Wraps. Bring a 100% cotton fat quarter. The class is free to homemakers and $5 to others. Call the office to register.

Pineapple Fried Rice will be the food we will be making at our Food Class on Tuesday, April 16, starting at 11:30. Please call the office to register at 679-6361.

Join Mary McAdoo on Thursday, April 18, at 11:30 to learn how to knit or crochet your favorite project at the Extension Home Demonstration House. Yarn is provided. You need to bring your needles.

Pulaski County Extension Homemakers will be volunteering to work at the PRIDE Cleanup day in Pulaski County on Thursday, April 18. Homemakers can call the office to register and for more information.

Denise Salter will be teaching you how to make beautiful Cards to send to your favorite people. The free class begins at 10:00 o'clock on Monday, April 22, at the Extension Home Demonstration House.

"Gluten Free" will be the topic for our Homemaker Lesson for May. This class will be on Monday, April 22, starting at 1:00 o'clock at the Extension Office. It is open to everyone to attend.

Time is running out to sign up to go on the homemaker Trip to Niagara Falls, Canada June 24 through June 28. You must be registered and paid in full by May 1. To travel into Canada a passport is also necessary. Call the office for more information.