Slash calories—and your spring-cleaning checklist—with your regular household activities

Clean and Get Lean

Skip the gym and bust out the broom: These household activities torch up to 200 calories in just 30 minutes—nearly double the amount you’d burn pumping iron in the gym. Keep the routine up on a weekly basis and you’re bound to banish both extra clutter and inches. Read on to find out which projects will put a dent in your to-do list and prep your body for spring’s skin-baring clothing.

Please note, all calories burned below are per hour.

Tame the Yard

Clear out winter’s leftover leaves and make way for spring greenery by rooting out weeds and trimming trees. While you’re killing calories, add some new life by planting flowers, herbs, fruit, or vegetables.

  • Raking: Burns 146 calories*
  • Weeding: Burns 153 calories
  • Manually pruning bushes/shrubs/trees: Burns 153 calories
  • Mowing: Burns 204 calories
  • Digging and planting: Burns 170 calories
  • Task Total: 836 calories

Knock out all five outdoor activities, and you’ll have burned 122 more calories than you would have during an hour and a half of intense aerobic dancing.

*All figures are based on a 150-pound person

Gut the Garage

Increase your heart rate and your garage’s functionality by sweeping the floor, organizing tools and storage, washing the car, and de-gunking the gutters.

  • Sweeping: Burns 136 calories
  • Organizing (standing): Burns 119 calories
  • Washing the car: Burns 153 calories 
  • Cleaning gutters: Burns 170 calories
  • Task total: 578 calories

The number of calories you’ll burn bringing your garage up to speed beats the 544 you’d burn cycling at 13 mph for an hour.

Attack the Attic

Make your attic accessible and combat calories by clearing out cobwebs and sorting and organizing stored items.

  • Packing and unpacking boxes (standing): Burns 119 calories 
  • Moving boxes: Burns 191 calories 
  • Vigorous Cleaning: Burns 102 calories
  • Task total: 412

If you can overhaul your entire attic in an hour and a half, that is. The longer it takes, the more you lose.

Restore the Floor

Show your floors and your body some love by cleaning carpets and getting grime off hard flooring.

  • Vacuuming: Burns 119 calories 
  • Scrubbing: Burns 130 calories 
  • Mopping: Burns 119 calories 
  • Buffing: Burns 102 calories
  • Task total: 470 calories

The number of calories burned during these four activities trumps what you’d get rid of by running for 30 minutes at a 10-minute-mile pace.

Shine Surfaces

Counters, tables, shelves, mirrors, and windows are magnets for dust, handprints, and mystery sticky spots. Get these surfaces gleaming and you’ll shave off a few calories to boot.

  • Dusting: Burns 85 calories
  • Wiping down counters/objects: Burns 102 calories 
  • Washing windows: Burns 187 calories
  • Task total: 374 calories

You’d have to walk for more than two and a half hours at a casual pace to match the number of calories burned by these three activities.

Spruce up Your space

Get a quick workout by giving your furniture a facelift: refinish, paint, and rearrange pieces for a fresh look.

  • Refinishing furniture: Burns 153 calories
  • Moving furniture: Burns 205 calories 
  • Painting: Burns 102 calories
  • Task total: 460 calories

You could burn 408 calories by jumping rope at a fast pace for 30 minutes, but would you want to?

Revamp A Room

Fitness benefits are the perfect excuse to finally update your décor.

  • Shopping: Burns 78 calories 
  • Hanging artwork: Burns 51 calories 
  • Decorating: Burns 102 calories
  • Task total: 231 calories 

You’d burn 170 calories kayaking for an hour. If you’re not in it for the outdoorsy cred, giving your house a makeover could be an appealing alternative to a traditional fitness session.

Put on Finishing Touches

Freshen up the fabrics in your house and get rid of extra calories. Don’t forget the drapes and tablecloth.

  • Doing laundry: Burns 73 calories 
  • Making beds: Burns 68 calories 
  • Ironing: Burns 78 calories
  • Task total: 219 calories

These simple activities will wipe out about 50 more calories than the 170 you’d burn during an hour-long hatha yoga session.

Get Rid of Clutter

Dispose of clutter hiding out in your home by recycling, donating, or selling unwanted items. You’ll do some good—and not just for your health.

  • Taking out trash: Burns 107 calories 
  • Recycling, donating, or bringing items to a resale store: Burns 107 calories
  • Holding a yard sale: Burns 82 calories 
  • Selling valuables online: Burns 51 calories
  • Task total: 488 calories

Half an hour on the rowing machine at a moderate pace burns 238 calories, so this task is guilt-free, even if you have to skip the gym to fit it in.

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