Here is another in our series of things going on around Rochester.

Cleaning is an obviously important task for many people: studies show that as many as 87% of women feel a tidy home is a reflection of the self, while millions of people hire maid services to help them keep their homes clean in spite of their busy schedules. But while the idea of cleaning usually invokes images of scrubbing floors, it is just as important to take care of outdoor areas, especially when it comes to public spaces. For this reason, Rochester and Irondequoit have both held events in recent weeks to encourage area residents to make improvements to local areas.

On Saturday, May 2, the City of Rochester held its annual Clean Sweep, welcoming more than a thousand people who turned up to help pick up trash and brighten up local neighborhoods. Some of the volunteers weren’t even city residents, but had some sort of connection to the city. For example, one woman from Penfield told 13 WHAM News that she had grown up in the area and wanted to improve her hometown in some small way.

While the program may have been dedicated to spring cleaning, many said they saw it as a representation of greater change in the city.

“It’s exciting for us,” Mayor Lovely Warren told 13 WHAM News. “We want cleaner, safer neighborhoods and we are making sure we are doing everything to improve our conditions here in Rochester.”

The town of Irondequoit also focused on outdoor cleaning on May 2. Through a program called Invigorate Irondequoit, more than 150 residents helped clean and make improvements to over a dozen parks and public spaces. The initiative, which has been in operation for two years, planted trees and completed other basic improvement projects in the area. A number of people commented that it allowed them to do something they would usually do on their spring weekends in a group setting.

“Being able to get out here and do something everyone can do feels great,” Irondequoit resident Jim Barnum told 13 WHAM News. “Your’re not just working by yourself in the backyard.”