If you haven’t been bitten by the spring-cleaning bug yet this season don’t worry - there’s still time. With dark winter days behind us and longer warmer days to come, getting stuck into your home to declutter and deep clean is a great way to launch yourself into a relaxing summer. Cleaning out all those stuffed cupboards and drawers, packing away winter clothes and digging out all the fun summer stuff is one of the best parts of spring!
If you have a big chaotic house it can be hard to know where to start but don’t think you need to tackle it all at once. Start with small and manageable things and then work your way through it all over a week or two. Laundries and bathrooms are great starting points as they tend to just involve throwing out excess products and giving the tiles, sinks, bath and floors a good scrub. Pulling a particular crazy drawer out and sitting on the sofa with it in front of the TV can chip away at kitchen, bedroom and junk drawer chaos too. If you haven’t spring cleaned for a few years then it can be a huge job, but the longer you leave it the worse it gets; if you want to sell your property sometime in the future it’s a good idea to start being more organised in advance of this.
1. Book a garage sale, a goodwill pick up or rent a skip bin
Many of us know the drill with spring cleaning – you wake up one sunny Saturday filled with motivation, get yourself a coffee and start to get stuck in. Then comes Sunday morning - you’re tired, surround by the dusty debris of your life and start to shove everything into corners, piles and – worst of all – back into cupboards. Setting a deadline for yourself is a good way to take the frenzy out of the process – schedule a date for a garage sale, call your local goodwill to come and do a pick up, or rent a skip bin for a couple of weeks to give you a solid time frame. Having a time period to work with means you can take a more measured approach, motivating yourself and encouraging everyone in the house to chip in, knowing there is an end in sight. If that doesn’t work, bribe them with pizza.
2. Lists and Boxes
As you sort through your life you will find most things need a new destination. Unused stuff may get relocated in the hope it’ll get used more often, almost empty jars and bottles will get decanted and thrown out or recycled, and you will make hard decisions about whether you really will ever fit into those pants again. Inevitably you’ll find old broken things that need to be repaired, thrown out or replaced. After only an hour or two you will find your mental notes slowly disappearing, so it’s a great idea to get a few different lists on the go and also some boxes or spaces that you can sort different things into.
Create separate lists for each task such as a shopping list for new or replacement items, a list of things to get repaired outside of the house and a list of maintenance jobs you might notice as you go through your home. Sort things into different piles as you go - boxes marked ‘garage sale’, rubbish bags, goodwill bags and a repairs box – then you have everything organised for the next stage of your spring cleaning – getting it out of the house, or back to its original purpose.
3. Clean, paint and repair
Now that the chaotic top layer of miscellaneous life junk has been removed, you can start to really get in and give everything a good clean. Doing this as you go can be useful – when you pull everything from that bottom shelf in the kitchen, give it a good wipe over before you put the newly sorted things back. Cleaning shelves, insides of drawers, windows, light shades, fans and filters and behind furniture is not something all of us do regularly, but it’s great to do it a couple of times a year to clean out dust and debris for a healthier environment. Wipe things down with a household grade cleaning product and paper towel at the very least – or you could get professional cleaner in to do a deep clean of things like the kitchen, bathroom, windows and floors.
Because you made a list earlier, you will be paying attention to any minor maintenance or repairs that might be needed. It could be just markings on walls, chipped or peeling paint, or broken things that others in the house have hidden away for months, hoping you’d never notice. If there is enough wall damage, you might decide it’s time to repaint a wall or two, or you might notice that the window frames could do with a fresh coat of paint. One handyman might be able to manage all the small repairs needed, or you may require a tradesman for more complex issues. Whatever the result, spotting issues and getting them resolved now means you are keeping on top of the ongoing care of your home, minimising stress and expense in the future.
4. Dress your house as the seasons change
One of the added bonuses of a spring clean is you’ll enjoy some creative inspiration. As sun streams in through the front window after months of darkness and rain, everything can look a little tired and shabby. There are many simple changes you could make to brighten the rooms in your house and they don’t have to cost a fortune. A set of good quality throw cushions for the sofa is a great decorative asset. Warmer coloured covers can be used in winter and autumn, then brighter fun colours through spring and summer. Match them with different weights and colours of throw rugs and blankets and keep a steady stream of fresh flowers coming into the house. Changing bed linen, bathroom towels, accessories and even having some favourite artwork that you rotate around the house through the year can change the entire mood of your house.
In the age of super cheap homewares, it’s easy to bring more clutter in that you actually got rid of. Try to focus on good quality signature pieces that mean something to you and have a story to tell. A vintage glass vase you bought at a flea market on a weekend away, adds much more value and character to your home than a similar replica from a large chain retailer. It also means you’re surrounded by the memories of your life, rather than a bunch of stuff that was made in China for the masses.
5. Stick to a seasonal garden
Whether you have a few pots on a balcony or a large family garden, there are simple things you can do to maintain a simple garden, that minimises the work for you during and between seasons. Find a simple gardening book that tells you what to grown when and how to take care of it, then plant a mixture of low maintenance plants, edible plants and plants that will deliver you glorious seasonal fragrance and colour. Stick to the basics when it comes to tools and plant foods and try to keep everything organised in one place in the house, so nothing gets lost and quality tools you’ve invested in will have a long lifespan.
If you have space, composting green waste and leaf litter also helps you live more sustainably and be more conscious of what is coming in and out of your house. There’s nothing quite like the taste of home-grown tomatoes and being able to get a few things for a salad from your own garden, will totally declutter the most important thing in your house beautifully - your mind.