The evenings are getting longer, the sun is starting to shine with warmth and brightness and Spring is definitely on its way. We’ve all experienced times where we almost wish the sunshine would move on quickly from exposing the dust and greyness on our windows let alone knowing we need to freshen up the entire house so here’s some tips for getting that spring-cleaning under way and yes, for decluttering too.
We probably don’t have as big of a spring-cleaning job as they did years ago as they emerged from the darkness of winter. I remember hearing of one lady who, on getting electric light in her house for the first time, promptly switched the light off again as it had exposed all the cobwebs hanging from the high ceiling! However, we do tend to collect more material objects and we definitely have more clothes so the need to declutter crops up again and again in most homes.
Here are the 10 declutter and 10 spring cleaning tips below:-
Ten Declutter Tips
1. Ensure you are supplied with black bin liners and boxes – label them with ‘charity shop’, ‘recyling’ and ‘rubbish’.
2. Unless you have help, limit yourself to one or two rooms at a time. Trying to do the whole house in one day will probably mean you end up feeling tired, disgruntled and frustrated.
3. Be ruthless and realistic. Are you really ever going to wear that dress you bought in the sale because it was such a bargain and you only needed to lose a couple of pounds at the time but now it’s more like half a stone? Stop beating yourself up about it and give it to a charity shop.
4. If you are completing your declutter gradually (e.g. working on it one day a week), remove the items for the charity shop or to your bins immediately. Stashing the bags or boxes will only add clutter and will feel self-defeatist.
5. If you are finding a number of items that you don’t want to throw or give away but don’t want to see all year round, work on improving the storage in your home. Buying pretty boxes or files means that precious drawings by children or your favourite magazines can be stored away but will look attractive. If you need a new bed, get one with large drawers underneath for extra storage. If you are fed up of falling over schoolbags and footballs in your hallway, consider getting pull out under stairs drawers.
6. Cleaning as you go along will help the spring cleaning but what can work even better if there are two of you working, one decluttering and one cleaning, particularly if you’re both trying to work faster than the other!
7. When trying to decide whether to keep items such as ornaments, books and pictures, ask yourself if they make you happy when you see them. If not, either give to a charity shop or if they are of sentimental value, pack them away in an attractive box.
8. If you’re tempted to hold a garage sale in a few months time or hold onto stuff until the next school fundraiser, only do so if you really have somewhere you can store all those bags. Otherwise, bring them to a car boot sale next weekend or donate to a charity shop.
9. If you find that you are short of worktop space in the kitchen for example, find space in the cupboard for things like the toaster as they can take up a lot of room as well as cause clutter. If you haven’t used the juicer since the month you bought it and it’s taking up half a shelf, give it away.
10. Don’t let clutter build up again – either put your newspapers into the recycling bin daily or have a place to put them where they won’t slide all over the place and make the place look untidy. Spend ten minutes a day putting stuff away and it won’t have a chance to build up.
Ten Spring-Cleaning Tips
1. Start at the top of the house and work your way down. If you’ve already had a clear out, it will make cleaning much easier. Dust first and then hoover. Move furniture so you can vacuum under the beds and behind the chest of drawers. If you can have one person dusting and moving furniture while the other hoovers, it makes life a lot easier.
2. Get someone else to help you if you can. Children will help in short time slots and get a buzz if you set an alarm for 7 or 8 minutes and set them a task to finish in that time. Their cleaning may not be perfect but it will speed you up.
3. Turn your mattress and vacuum it.
4. If you’re not up to cleaning the carpets yourself, book a carpet cleaner. Don’t forget about the curtains and sofa upholstery too and get them dry cleaned if necessary.
5. When cleaning your windows, add a little vinegar to the water and dry them with newspaper. This will give them a shine and prevent streaks.
6. Wash your dishwasher and washing machine on hot yet empty cycle to give them a good clean too.
7. An advantage of spring-cleaning the bookcase is you find old friends that you decide to reread or perhaps you find new books you never got to read and forgot about.
8. Revamp your cushions by washing the covers or getting them drycleaned. New inners can rejuvenate the cushions. Even adding two new cushions in the current trend to your sofa will revamp the room.
9. Don’t just wash your tile floors, spend some time polishing them to make them look like new.
10. Check all of the smoke alarms and ensure the fire extinguisher has been serviced.
Don’t forget to reward yourself after all the decluttering and spring-cleaning – go for a meal out, visit a museum, treat yourself to a spa day or go to your favourite bookshop to buy a new book and read it in the coffee shop:-)