It’s chilly outside and the grass is dusted with snow, but we’re in the final throws of winter here in the UK. Spring is just around the corner.
Now’s the time for fresh beginnings as flowers begin to bloom. We can look forward to lighter nights and brighter days.
However, there is one drawback to the sun streaming through our windows at this time of year! It illuminates all of those dusty nooks and crannies. We notice that our ceilings are decorated with spider webs and the paint on our skirting boards needs a refresh. It must be time for a spring clean! Here are five of my tried and tested tips:
#1 – Slow and steady wins the race:
There’s a secret to spring cleaning: don’t even try to tackle EVERYTHING at once. You’re not going to get your list of jobs done in one weekend, so don’t set yourself up for failure. Instead, make a plan of tasks you’d like to work through during month and schedule in an hour here and an hour there.
#2 – Many hands make lighter work:
If you can, tackle your spring cleaning with a group of trusted friends. Work your way around each others’ homes and intersperse cleaning with the three other Cs: coffee, cake and chat. You’ll be surprised how much more pleasant the task becomes.
#3 – Make your windows sparkle:
We tend to clean our windows in spring, after they’ve been battered by wind, rain and snow all winter long. We’ll start by cleaning the white plastic, the black seals and the sills (inside and out).
There are so many different tricks and tips to getting those glass pines sparkling! Ask one person and they’ll offer you a recipe for cleaning solution which they “swear by”. Ask another and they’ll recommend crumpled newspaper. I suggest getting started by using whatever’s to hand. If you have a store-bought solution in your cupboard use that. If you have a squeegee, go and grab it. Test a bunch of methods until you find something that works for you. There is no right or wrong answer.
Here’s my really simple homemade solution. It uses two ingredients found in most kitchens: white vinegar and water.
Use 1/4 cup of plain white vinegar (not malt vinegar, which goes on chips) and mix it with 4 cups of warm water. I spray it on the window with a cheap spray bottle that I purchased from the gardening section of my local supermarket.
I like to wipe our windows with microfibre cloths as they’re better for the environment (they can go in the washing machine when I’m done, rather than landfill). My mother swears by old cotton t-shirts and collects them in a “rag bag”. This is also a fantastic way to recycle old clothing.
Typically, I’ll use a few dry microfibre cloths to buff my window after I’ve wiped away the vinegar solution, but I’ve seen firsthand how well crumpled newspaper works too. (We just rarely have newspapers in our house thanks to the Internet!).
Of course, if you’re short on time, it might be easier to call in a professional window cleaner!
#4 – Mould and mildew watch:
Each spring, pull your furniture away from the wall and double check for spots of mould. Don’t just check the walls, but check the items themselves too (e.g. the back of the wardrobe, the back of the sofa etc).
I usually find a little mould on the wall behind my sofa. While we do try to keep the room ventilated, we’ve noticed it still grows back there in the winter as the heating is usually on full and we rarely open the windows as it’s so cold! To tackle this, I will grab a cloth and a spray bottle containing hot water mixed with vinegar and baking soda. I’ll spray it onto the wall and gently wipe the mould away. I have to repeat this a few times throughout the year.
#5 – Take time to banish the clutter:
I dislike clutter and I make a point of getting rid of everything I don’t need. I tend to do this as part of my big spring clean. It’s so refreshing and I’ve never missed anything I’ve sold, thrown away or donated.
I’ll “audit” each room as I clean. Then, I’ll list electrical goods on Facebook Marketplace for collection. I’ll put clothing, shoes and handbags that I don’t wear on eBay. I’ll donate items like books or ornaments to family, friends and charity shops.
The book is a revelation and I highly recommend reading it. It really is “life changing”.