How to tackle your spring clean
The skies are lightening, the days are getting longer, shoots are emerging and it’s time to tackle those household chores you’ve been putting off all winter. Here are some tips for this year’s spring clean.
Clear the clutter
Whole books have been written on the art of decluttering, but the key points are: be methodical about it, clear all flat surfaces and then keep them as clear as possible, make sure every item has a home, invest in visually appealing storage like woven baskets and wooden hooks, and don’t be afraid of being ruthless! Hang onto anything with real importance or sentimental value and apply the following questions to everything else: do I need it, does it make me happy, have I used it in the last year and will I use it in the next year?
Try not to throw things away unless you have to, as there are so many places your unwanted items can be put to good use. Take clothes, books and households items to your local charity shop or any domestic violence and homeless shelters that are accepting donations. Many organisations such as homeless charities run online appeals asking for unwanted items too. You could make some extra cash by selling items on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Vinted or Depop. Finally, any items that are past the point of wearing can be taken to your local textile bin to be recycled into something new, or you could keep them to turn into rags for your next spring clean.
You can save money and the planet by avoiding plastic-packaged chemical products for a number of cleaning jobs – just have a dig around in your cupboards.
White vinegar is a well-known household hack. Mix one part hot water with one part distilled vinegar to make an effective window and glass cleaner, or leave your showerhead overnight in a secured bag of vinegar to dissolve build-up and grime.
The citric acid from lemons is a great way of removing hard watermarks on your sink and taps and does a good job of removing stains from chopping boards. You can also use lemons to clean your microwave – heat a cup of water mixed with lemon juice and let it sit for a few minutes inside the microwave to make it easier to remove stains.
Last but not least, the wonder that is baking soda. Sprinkle it on ceramic sinks, baths and toilet bowls before gently scrubbing off to give a sparkling finish, or use it as a fabric cleaner and deodorant by mixing with a few drops of essential oils and sprinkling it over carpets, rugs and pet beds before vacuuming off to give them a new lease of life.
Get the family involved
A big spring clean is a great way to teach young children the importance of cleanliness and tidiness, so if you have little ones, get them involved. Let them choose a chore they’d like to help with – this could be anything from wiping the windows to sorting socks, or even just passing you things to put away if they’re really young. Making it a joint activity that gives them some responsibility instead of a punishment, should (hopefully!) help form good habits early on.
More top tips
- Don’t just wash your bedding – flip your mattress and freshen it with baking soda (remember to vacuum it off first) before you put freshly laundered sheets on.
- Use a window squeegee to scrape pet hair off rugs and furniture.
- Instead of just wiping down the inside of your fridge, take out shelves and drawers to give them a proper wash.
- Spring clean your cleaning products: add vinegar to your washing machine and run it on a hot cycle, then repeat with baking soda; use a vacuum cleaner attachment to remove hard-to-reach lint from your tumble dryer, and organise all your cleaning sprays and solutions in a portable caddy.
- Take the opportunity to do a digital spring clean, too: sort through your inbox, organise photo albums, clear old bookmarks and tidy up your desktop. Once that’s done, use cotton buds and a hairdryer to clean out pesky crumbs and dust from your keyboard.
- After you’ve cleaned, open windows and doors to air out chemical smells and let fresh air in.
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