The days are longer and the sun shines more often, so it's time to sweep the cobwebs out and turn out cupboards. Deep-cleaning the whole flat or a house might seem overwhelming, so we have gathered the best spring-cleaning tips for doing the job without the fuss and without exhausting yourself.
1. Plan well and don't try to do everything at once
Go room-by-room and unless you have a few people to help you or a very small house, don't try to do everything on the same day. Some tasks will be better done for all rooms in the house at the same time (for example washing the bedding that requires large-sized industrial machines or dry cleaning the curtains) but for most cleaning and tidying, proceeding room by room is the best strategy. Start with least used and least cluttered rooms, e.g. guest or spare rooms if you have one. They will be faster to do, and finishing one will make you feel proud and more likely to do another one.
2. Start at the top and move down
This applies to each room, although the orthodox wisdom also suggest this for the house as a whole (that is, if you are doing it all in one day or over a weekend). In each room, though, definitely start high and move lower, with dusting or vacuuming the cornicing, getting rid of cobwebs in corners and vacuuming or cleaning ceiling mounted lampshades done first. Keep the floor level cleaning to the last. This way, dust and dirt will not fall on your freshly cleaned surfaces.
3. Declutter and organize first
Turning out cupboards is a big part of a thorough spring clean. From clothes' closets, wardrobes and chest of drawers to spice racks, larder shelves and baskets full of cosmetics, the principle is the same: get rid of all damaged, out-of-date and nearly-finished items. Seriously consider throwing away or giving away/selling things that you don't use (this applies to clothes or utensils, but even some consumable things, for example second hand market for use perfume is thriving thanks to eBay). In this decluttering drive, don't forget your kitchen junk drawer: it's not a place to throw everything else in.
4. Wash bedding
Spring-cleaning is definitely the time to wash the bedding: duvets, pillows, mattress protectors and machine washable blankets. Make sure that you have a big enough machine, and especially a big enough drier, to deal with double or king sized duvets. You might need to use a commercial size washers or driers in a laundrette, especially for the largest feather and down duvets. Before washing blankets, check the care label. Many woollen blankets should not be washed and cannot be tumble dried, and will be better either just aired extensively or dry-cleaned.
5. Clean the usually neglected areas
The general feeling of freshness and cleanliness in any room is also, somewhat mysteriously, influenced by how clean or dirty many invisible spots are. That's why it's a good idea to move the furniture away from the walls, vacuum behind and underneath, clean the skirting boards and the air vents. Throughout the whole house, door frames, tops of cupboards, door handles (and areas around them) and similar are often left to slowly and imperceptibly accumulate a thin layer of grime. Remove it, and you will be surprised at the boost to the whole room.
6. Organize and declutter books
We don't really suggest following Marie Kondo's advice of reducing the number of books in your house to just 30. But some decluttering, especially of read-once entertainment titles that you know you will never go back to, is a good idea. Charity shops and free book swapping shelves found in all kinds of locations will get your happy reads out there for other people to share and enjoy. And organize what's left: either by size or colour, genre or author's name, getting your library into some kind of order will be a step to making the whole house tidier.
7. Machine-clean toys
Did you know that you can plastic wash many plastic toys in the dishwasher? Just choose a short, cool cycle without a hot rinse or air dry. For cuddly toys, check the care label and you will find that most can be popped into the washing machine on a delicates cycle and either tumble or air dried.
8. Machine wash your grocery bags and shower curtains
While on the subject of machine washing, most reusable grocery bags can be machine washed (turn them inside out for best effects) as can be shower curtains, even the plastic ones.
9. Refresh soft furnishings
Throws, cushions and even rugs can benefit from good shaking outside. Just remember to don a dust mask when shaking or beating vigorously. And smaller items will go into a drier on the air-only (or wool-refresh) cycle. Throw in a cloth sprayed with some eau de toilette for a fancy boost.
10. Get a new accessory or two
Once you completed your spring-clean, why not refresh the look of your home by buying a couple of well chosen new accessories. Pictures, vases, candle holders or lighting can all add a fresh touch to the interior.
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