So March 20 (aka tomorrow) is officially the first day of spring. Excuse me while I laugh/cry hysterically into my steaming cup of cocoa, as I glance outside at the snow melting on the rooftops. We’re just a hop, skip and a jump from the Easter Bunny’s arrival, and I’m still in my winter coat. Heavy sigh.
Even though Mother Nature’s acting a little… temperamental… that hasn’t stopped me from getting into ‘Spring Clean’ mode. Every year, around this time, I have the urge to
throw out my entire household freshen up our living space. There’s nothing like a fast and furious clear out to make you feel on top of your game.
Bed Guru**, the sleep specialists, invited me to share some tips for reducing clutter. Now, I’m hardly Marie Kondo, but I do have a few helpful hints for my fellow housework-averse mamas.
How to Spring Clean in 10 Simple Steps
1. Have a Plan
Don’t just slip on rubber gloves, then run around the house wailing in despair. Make a plan, mama. Go room by room and list the major areas, and smaller jobs, you want to tackle. It’s so satisfying crossing items off when you’re done. Plus, when the kids inevitably destroy your handiwork later, at least you’ll have written evidence of all your effort!
2. Detox your Cleaning Tools
Toss out toxic cleaning agents, mildewed mops and rusty sponges. All most basic household jobs require is bicarbonate of soda, white vinegar, lemons, a scrubbing brush, and a microfibre cloth. Make your own all-purpose cleaner with equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle, plus some drops of essential oil (e.g. rose, lemon, tea tree) to enhance the fragrance. It’s better for you and the environment too (NB: always spot test surfaces first).
3. Make a Playlist
Music makes any task seem a lot faster and a lot more fun. You could even make a ‘Spring Clean’ themed playlist e.g. TLC ‘No Scrubs’, Outkast ‘So Fresh, So Clean’, Daniel Bedingfield ‘Gotta Get Thru This’… Any other ideas?
4. …But Don’t Be Like Drake
Started from the bottom? Not today, Drake. The general rule for a spring clean is ‘top down’. Use an extendable duster or vacuum to begin from the ceilings, then wipe down walls, followed by big furniture and surfaces, before you hit the floor.
5. Set a Timer
One of my favourite ‘get stuff done’ methods is to set a timer. You’d be surprised how much you can achieve with a ‘10 minute desk tidy’ or a ’20 minute downstairs declutter’. Timers are especially effective when getting the kids cleaning — that ticking clock activates their competitive spirit!
6. Pick a Magic Number
Decide on a ‘magic number’ of stuff to reduce. My friend Nomita had a 100 things declutter challenge in February, and it motivated me to get rid of at least 50 items (mostly from one kitchen drawer)! If you want to streamline your closet, try the Project 333 challenge.
7. Keep/Chuck/Pass it On
Hey girl, it’s time you got rid of those stripy leggings you wore at the school disco in 1986. Know what I mean? Grab some bin liners, label them ‘Keep’, ‘Chuck’ or ‘Pass it On’, then split your stuff accordingly. The ‘Pass it On’ bag can go to charity, Ebay, or friends with younger kids (hand-me-down school uniform is a godsend).
8. Be Smart about Storage
Don’t have much storage? Get smart. Store out of season clothes in labelled suitcases -— and be ready to travel at the drop of a hat! Keep linen, clothes, shoes or mementos in divan beds with storage drawers. A great way to keep your bedroom looking lean and clean.
9. Get the Kids Involved
Put those minions to work! Kids should start household chores as early as possible, and spring cleaning is a whole family job. Give them small, achievable tasks to earn rewards e.g. pocket money or, if they’re still tiny, stickers.
10. …Unless It’s Their Stuff
Decluttering is fine until they discover that toy car they haven’t seen in 5 years, and suddenly can’t bear to part with it. So another trick is to chuck 75 per cent of the kids’ stuff away while they’re not looking. Trust me, they won’t even notice it’s gone.
What are your favourite spring cleaning tips?
**In collaboration with Bed Guru, the online retailer/sleep specialists. Bed Guru understand that no two people share the same sleeping requirements, not just as a belief but as an obligation to ensure that everybody gets a great night’s sleep!