15 Steps to a Proper Spring Clean
Even if it’s not Spring, it’s a good idea to have a proper Spring clean at least once a year.
You can feel cleaner, more organised, more on top of things and even richer!
Who knows what you might find behind the sofa, in those drawers you haven’t seen for years and even in the airing cupboard.
Most of us have more than we realise and doing a good old sort can reveal lots of treasures! Here are 15 ways to save as you have a proper Spring clean and sort.
- Cleaning lightbulbs and lampshades
- Scrubbing banisters, doors and skirting boards
- Wiping walls
- Behind and under the bed
- De-clutter your wardrobe (winter stuff away)
- Vaxing carpets
- Kitchen cupboards
- Ovens, Fridges & Freezers
- Washing windows inside and out
- Clearing gutters
- Tidying garages and sheds
- How to have a proper Spring clean of everything else in your life
Lamp bases and lightbulbs attract a lot of dust over time. Clean them with a damp cloth to make sure you pick it all up.
Some lampshades that are covered in material also collect dust but should be cleaned with the nozzle of a vacuum cleaner as a damp cloth will just put the dust on the material. You can also use a feather duster to flick the dust off and the vacuum up from the floor.
Ceiling fitments are harder. Use a ladder (or get someone else to do it) and a feather duster to remove dust, followed by vacuuming the floor. If you can reach, clean the bulbs and other fitments with a damp cloth.
Making these areas shine is a quick and easy way to get the house looking like it has just had a paint job. Definitely worth it.
The areas around door handles always get a build-up of finger marks. Attack these with surface cleaner on a good cloth. You can buy cleaning products from the local bargain basement shop. Recently, for example, instead of paying £7.98 for dishwasher tablets at the supermarket, I picked up exactly the same brand and the same sized box for £2. It’s worth looking at these places for bargain cleaning products. An all-purpose cleaner works – but for a serious spring clean, good old fashioned sugar scrub will help degrease tons of things (and it’s cheap, too!).
Ideally get down on your knees to clean the skirting boards and banisters with a cloth and cleaning fluid. It’s effort but worth it for the final look and your exercise routine!
Wiping down walls isn’t something we usually think of when it comes to cleaning. However, it’s a quick way to spruce up the place – you’ll be amazed how much grime builds up over the years! For serious finger marks or crayon (!) you will need a proper cleaner like Cif or one of the other kitchen and bathroom products.
You can save money by not buying disposable cloths all the time. Reusable cleaning cloths are much more environmentally friendly than using disposable wipes – once used, pop in the washing machine and they’re ready to use again!
Pull the bed out (you might need someone to help with this), vacuum under it really thoroughly, doing the bit by the wall with just the vacuum nozzle. Use the vacuum head on the wall as well as that often traps dust (do the same behind the sofa as that tends to leave a line of grey dust too).
Sprinkle baking powder on the mattress, leave it for a couple of minutes then vacuum it off. This freshens it. Turn the mattress over and do the same on the other side. It’s a good idea to turn the mattress every few months if possible (unless you have a no-turn mattress – check first!).
If you need to store items under the bed (it can be a help) try some of these great storage solutions from Lakeland. We love them.
Again, it’s handy to have help with this one, at least when it comes to deciding what to keep and what to sell/donate/throw.
Empty your entire wardrobe (and yes, those boxes under the bed… and the hallway coat closet!) onto your bed. Go through every single piece:
- Put those that need mending in a pile to do in front of the TV tonight.
- Put items for the charity shop in your charity bag to take over later today.
- Try on clothes you haven’t worn for a while. Is there something you can team them with to make them into a new outfit? Will you wear them again…ever…even if you do lose weight…honestly?
- Anything you know you won’t wear but want to make money from, put in a pile for eBay (ideally photograph them before they go in that pile).
- Anything you are keeping should be inspected and smelt. Should it be washed, dry-cleaned, brushed down? If so, get that done before putting it back.
- Put everything back tidily and organised so that you can see everything.
- Use thin hangers for maximum storage. Also check out these storage solutions for wardrobes here.
- Try not to put anything on the floor of the wardrobe if you can.
Take the books, CDs, DVDs, bric a brac and everything else off the shelves.
Clean them with a damp cloth. Use Cif or a similar cleaner if there are a lot of scuffs.
If you’re feeling adventurous, touch up the shelves with paint or varnish if they need it.
Go through your books and other items. How much can you manage without now? Either take them to the charity shop or sell for quick cash on Zapper. Same with the CDs and DVDs. If any of the ornaments are good, take them to a local auction house to see if they will sell them for you. Other stuff can go on Gumtree (photograph them as you go along).
Once the shelves are dry and clean, put what’s left up there. Try to have spaces here and there to make the place look less cluttered.
You can do a quick and effective clean of the carpets with powder cleaners which you then vacuum up. If the carpets aren’t too bad this is a good way of making them look even better. A tub of carpet cleaning powder will set you back around £1 – and one will do an average size room.
For a proper deep clean, hire a Vax or other carpet cleaner from your local hire store (like HSS), pour the liquid in and follow the instructions. Try to do this on a day which is set to be sunny and warm – or turn your heating up to dry the carpets quickly. They could be soggy for up to a day otherwise!
Ideally you should move all furniture out of the room you are shampooing. But if you have to leave the sofa or other items in there, cover the feet with tin foil so that they don’t get wet and soggy with the shampoo.
It’s a good idea to save money – and the environment – by not using chemical detergents when you’re Spring cleaning (or any cleaning for that matter).
- Using lemons to bring your tea-stained mugs back to a shine.
- Splashing vinegar onto your windows is a great idea.
- Bicarbonate of soda is marvellous for removing stains.
- We have a lot more ideas for natural cleaners in this article too.
Empty all cupboards and drawers, one at a time:
- Sharpen the knives.
- Pick out items you haven’t used for a few years and probably won’t. Put them in the charity basket.
- Clean everything that needs it.
- Wipe shelves and drawers.
- Put everything back neatly.
Check out these drawer dividers and shelf stackers for extra organising power.
Katherine Blackler, a professional organiser and member of APDO (the Association of Professional De-clutterers and Organisers) says: “See what you can keep off the countertops and surfaces to give the illusion of more space. Consider using wall space to mount a plate rack holder. This leaves valuable internal cupboard space to hide the more irregular shaped and multi-coloured items from view that can often distract the eye. Use the undersides of your overhead wall units to discreetly mount cup hooks or a kitchen roll holder (making sure to avoid any under-cabinet lights).”
A Spring clean is a good time to use up the products you already have in the kitchen and bathroom. Dig out all those half-used bottles and use up what you have.
This is particularly true with those ‘special’ bottles you probably have under the sink for the oven, the fridge, the taps and so on.
To be honest, although some are useful (oven cleaners are often a specialist area) many of them are just marketing. You can use a good old bottle of Cif for pretty much anything, or try some of the products you already have in your store cupboard.
Here’s another area where you could use homemade cleaners just as well as the bought ones.
There are loads of window and glass-cleaning products on the shelves of the supermarkets. If you already have some in the kitchen, use those.
However, white vinegar and newspaper is just as effective and often better than these chemical-based products. Give it a go!
Also, if you have venetian blinds, use one of these handy tools to dust every fiddly bit of them.
For roller blinds, remove them, clean with a damp cloth and replace.
Check curtains to see if they need to be dry-cleaned. It can be expensive but if you do a few at a time you should haggle with local dry-cleaners to see who will offer the best price for a job lot.
If you’re feeling brave – or you have someone else in the house who can be brave for you – now is a good time to clear the gutters after the winter winds and storms have blown all types of nonsense into your gutters, and possibly down the chimney too.
If you don’t feel up to climbing the ladder with a brush to clear things yourself, hire someone to do this – and a few other handy jobs around the house – from one of the DIY agencies around the country.
This is a big job and probably more than you could do in a day…on your own.
Ideally, get help with these, even if it’s just someone who will talk to you as you do it!
- Aim to throw out as much as possible
- Certainly get everything out of the room in the first instance
- Sweep and clean the place
- Improve the storage if possible – more shelves, hanging hooks etc?
- Then go through each box and item critically. How much can you throw away or send to charity?
- For big items, try Goneforgood to find local charities that will pick up your items for you
Check out what professional organiser Ingrid Jansen of APDO had to say about approaching these big jobs during a previous Clear Your Clutter Campaign:
Katherine Blackler, also from APDO, offers these tips:
- Try to keep seasonal things together, eg BBQ equipment, outdoor seating, picnic ware and outdoor toys, with anything you need in summer. Xmas and Halloween decorations on another shelf for the cooler months. Using transparent boxes will save you rummaging through the entire stack of boxes to find what you need.
- Stock take your tool kit and remove anything that’s a duplicate or that’s difficult to use compared to another tool to do the same job. Collate all your loose screws, bolts, washers and other fixings and get the kids to help sort them out in front of the TV one evening!
- Use wall hooks and wire racking shelving to store items vertically as much as possible. This keeps things slightly off the floor to aid ventilation.
Wait until a sunny day for this. Why sit out there in the cold!
- Start with the big stuff – get the clippers out and cut back dead wood and other overgrown plants
- Then clear the garden of old furniture and any rubbish it has acquired over the winter
- Trim the edges of the lawn
- Get the gardening gloves on and pull up weeds that had the temerity to grow over the winter. Make the garden ready for summer planting and fun!
You don’t have to stop at just cleaning and tidying things in your life. You can Spring clean the rest of your life too.
Use this time to
- Spring clean your finances. You should be able to save hundreds of pounds, at least, by Spring cleaning your finances, as you can see here.
- Spring clean your weight. Yes, you can actually lose weight by de-cluttering and organising your home.
- Spring clean your laptop, phone and other gadgets. Get rid of those emails, Facebook non-friends, unused apps and software and more that clog up our digital lives. Find out how here.
- Spring clean your habits (stop smoking, cut down on the booze and more)! This really would be a big saving in terms of health, clutter, cleanliness and your money. Wow, take a look here at just how much of all of this you could save by giving up the fags and even more savings by at least cutting down on the booze here.
Now is a great time to make New Spring Resolutions (the New Year ones have probably dropped off by now anyway) so make yours to de-clutter and lift yourself up in all areas. Have a happy, healthy, wealthy year!