TOP 11 TIPS FOR SPRING CLEANING
By Lizzie Grant
Professional Organiser and Founder of Simplify Stuff Ltd
1. Declutter before you clean
Decluttering is vital as part of your spring cleaning as it makes the actual cleaning so much easier and quicker. There is nothing worse than spending all that time cleaning, when you know that behind those closed cupboard doors everything remains disorganised and chaotic. Clutter causes stress, particularly for women, and makes it difficult to focus, make decisions and to relax. It’s therefore important to declutter to make the maximum positive impact with your spring cleaning. Consider what you own and ask yourself whether you love and / or use each item? Is that item really worth keeping and cleaning?
Finding it hard to find the enthusiasm to spring clean? Take a moment to imagine your home clean and free of clutter. What would that look, feel, even smell like to you – calm, peaceful, fresh? Visualising the benefits clearly will give you the motivation to spring clean as you will then know exactly what you are aiming to achieve. Put on your favourite music or TV programme in the background to make it more fun. Take photos of your home before you start and after you have finished. We often forget how much we have achieved after we have completed a task so this is a great way to remind yourself of exactly how much you have accomplished.
3. Devote time
Carve time out of your diary to dedicate to spring cleaning. Is there anyone who can look after the kids whilst you are doing it or who can lend a hand? Remember, it doesn’t have to be done all in one weekend or day! Everyone has different demands on their time. You can break it down room by room or even one cupboard at a time, using smaller chunks of time to spring clean. Doing it this way can also make it feel less overwhelming to start.
Work through one category of clothes at a time and decide which items you love and use and let go of the rest. If you find it difficult to decide, pick your 3 favourites in each category and then use this as your benchmark against which the rest of the clothes in that category have to match up to. Start with clothes which you have the least emotional attachment to, for example, socks, so you can warm up your “decluttering muscles” and by the time you reach the harder items, you will find it easier to make decisions.
Toiletries can take up a lot of space but how many of them do you actually need to use? Cosmetics and toiletries have a limited shelf-life, typically they expire between expires 6 months to 12 months after purchasing. Discard any that have expired. If you bulk-buy and are short of space, consider storing your surplus items in a cupboard somewhere else in your home so you can refill items in the bathroom once they have been used up.
Clutter tends to gather on kitchen surfaces, making those surfaces harder to clean. Aim to declutter your kitchen cupboards and surfaces so that you can out larger appliances away and only keep out items which are used daily. Let go of crockery and glasses that have been gifted to you but you don’t actually like. Once someone gives you a present, they are giving you full permission to make decisions about it including whether to let it go! Declutter your food cupboards by discarding any foods that have expired and donate to food banks any that are still in date but which your family won’t use.
Bring all your paperwork together, go through each page and get rid of as much as possible. You’ll be amazed how much you can discard particularly as so much is now available online. Remember to shred any papers that contain personal information to avoid identity theft. Have a filing system in place which works for you whether that is A4 lever arch files with dividers, manila folders in a filing cabinet or box files. Having an in-tray with an “action” section and a “filing” section makes it easier to keep a handle on paperwork coming into your home.
Declutter toys that your children have outgrown or no longer use and any duplicates. Donate toys that are no longer played with but still in good condition with all their parts. Store things in child-friendly pieces of furniture so that children can tidy themselves. You can label storage boxes and bins with pictures if your children are very young to make it easier for them to put things away.
9. Recycle or donate
Spring cleaning provides you with a great chance to sort through your belongings and let go of items you no longer need but that can still be done in a mindful way. Decide what can be donated and recycled to prevent adding to landfill. Try to get rid of unwanted items quickly rather than letting them linger in your home. There are many different options so there’s no need to let your unwanted stuff continue to clutter up your space.
10. Find each item a home
Once you have decluttered, everything you keep needs a specific space where it is kept. If an item doesn’t have a home to live in when it’s not being used, it becomes clutter. Storage spaces should not be crammed full of things and you should be able to easily pull items out from their space. Place belongings near to where you use them. This makes it so much easier to clean and tidy up as you will know exactly where each item should go. It also means when you need to find something, you’ll know exactly where to look for it.
11. Cleaning products
The way we clean has a significant impact on our environment. The simplest ingredients are the best. Vinegar, lemon, baking powder and essential oils can make incredibly effective cleaning products. They have a much lower impact on our environment than conventional cleaning products which tend to be full of chemicals and in plastic packaging. Being mindful about the way you spring clean will make a difference for you and others.
Happy Spring Cleaning!