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The big spring clean: 7 tips to get the job done

spring clean tips
7 tips for your big spring cleanOKrasyuk - Getty Images

There's something about the days getting brighter and longer that makes us want to get our homes tidy and organised!

Some historians trace the tradition of 'spring cleaning' back to the Persian New Year, which falls on the first day of spring, while others suggest that it could come from the Jewish custom of cleaning the home in anticipation of Passover.

Though it's a long-standing tradition, the big spring clean can feel like an overwhelming task. So before you start, read this guide to help you get the job done.

1. Take it one step at a time

A common mistake when spring cleaning is to be overambitious by trying to get everything done in one day. Not only can this lead to you feeling defeated, but you can also end up creating clutter without having the time to tidy it up.

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Instead, just take it one room at a time. Finishing cleaning one room before moving onto another will give you a greater sense of achievement than trying to clean multiple rooms bit by bit. Don’t worry about telling yourself you need to have the room cleaned by a certain time – take as long as you need and break things down into separate tasks to focus on one at at time.

In fact, it helps to schedule dedicated times to spring clean in your diary to avoid interruptions and distractions – just make sure you take breaks during long sessions. Whatever time you have available to spring clean, be it a whole day, or a few hours every other day, you will still make progress.

More importantly, make it fun! Pop the radio on or your favourite podcast, and lean into it.

spring clean tips
PRImageFactory - Getty Images

2. Be prepared

Just like a chef gathers up all their ingredients, tools, and gadgets before they start cooking, you should do the same before you start cleaning. This will save time, as you won’t be running back and forth to the cupboard under the kitchen sink looking for cleaning products.

If you have the space, separate your cleaning products by room, e.g. bathroom cleaning products, kitchen cleaning products, and living room/bedroom/hallway products.

The GHI’s essentials include:

spring clean tips
Anna Puzatykh - Getty Images

3. Keep it green

Want a greener alternative? Save time and money by using store cupboard items you probably already have. For example:

  • Vinegar is ideal for removing limescale build-up on taps (though not gold plated ones) and shower screens, too. It’s also great when it comes to cleaning windows.

  • Mix bicarbonate of soda with a little water to make a loose scouring paste. It’s brilliant at removing stains from worktops, sinks, cookers, oven doors, and saucepans.

  • Combine vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to create a fizzy chemical reaction – ideal for shifting grease and grime. You can use this to lift stains from grout or to help keep drains free-flowing.

  • Lemon juice is a natural bleaching agent. You can use it to remove stains from chopping boards by rubbing the surface with fresh lemon (or the bottled stuff) and then leaving overnight. It’s also effective at removing rust stains. Also, add half a capful into your wash-load to brighten whites.

  • Washing soda crystals are handy to have around the home, too. They're effective at removing a number of stains from fabric, including ink, red wine, grease, blood, tea and coffee. Simply soak the item in a strong solution prior to washing. Washing soda crystals are also useful for cleansing burnt pans and tea-stained cups.

4. Deal with clutter before you start

Have a few bin liners or storage boxes with you so you can sort the things you want to keep, store, recycle, sell, give to a charity shop or chuck. Be honest with yourself and be ruthless — you almost certainly need less than you have!

If you can, move all of your clutter into a different room before you start cleaning, so you’re not having to move around boxes and bags.

5. Start with the ceiling

Once you’ve chosen your room, work from the top down. Dust can move and resettle so, for example, wiping the mantelpiece before the mirror will just leave dust resettling on the clean surface and make more work for yourself. This order is worth remembering: dust, vacuum, wash floors.

6. Prevention is key

A big clean will be a lot easier if you establish house rules that reduce mess. Try these:

  • Place an empty baking tray on the lowest shelf of your oven to catch spills rather than baking them onto your oven floor. Alternatively, purchase an oven liner to do the same job.

  • Put sheets of old newspaper in the bottom of bin liners to absorb any liquids and stop them from leaking into your bin.

  • Spray shower surfaces after every use to stop limescale build-up. Make your own solution by using an empty spray bottle and adding half parts water to half distilled white vinegar.

7. Make your gadgets do the hard work

Cleaning the extractor fan filters or your fridge shelves in the dishwasher means you’ll spend less time scrubbing — just make sure that they're definitely dishwasher safe!

Likewise, take full advantage of your washing machine by washing the items you generally overlook, such as your shower curtains, pillows and even your gym bag. Always check the care label first to make sure your item is safe to machine-wash.

Why not clean your floors automatically by investing in one of the best robot vacuums. These can be scheduled to pick up debris on a regular basis. And with some featuring mop functions, they can provide the finishing touches too.

One of the best pressure washers can make cleaning your patio that much faster too. Just check the surface is suitable for pressure washing first and use the appropriate settings and attachments to avoid damage.

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