Traditionally, spring cleaning is symbolic of new beginnings. However, this year, most of us are feeling sluggish as a result of having been cooped up for the most part of a year and unable to alleviate stress in the ways we normally would. The Zoom quiz era of the pandemic is now a distant memory... and although we have all this time at home, we don’t necessarily have the motivation.
But, if there’s anything to look forward to right now, it’s the warmer weather and lighter mornings, which we might as well use as an incentive to refresh and reset. While you might not exactly be in the mood right now to Marie Kondo your life, this guide should give you a gentle push in the right direction.
Why Cleaning is Good for the Soul
There is a reason some of us adopt repetitive habits like meticulous cleaning when faced with stressful situations or anxiety: it makes us feel in control. While there are a lot of things that we don’t have power over (the pandemic being one of them), a deep clean is one thing that can seemingly bring peace and order back to our lives.
It can also be a healthy distraction and a productive activity to channel pent-up adrenaline into. In fact, a study from University of Connecticut revealed that cleaning can serve as a ritual and, in turn, a coping strategy for dealing with anxiety (plus, you get a clean house at the end of it, which is far more rewarding than a bottle of wine).
If your home is also your workplace, it can often be incredibly difficult to switch off because it can feel as though you don’t ever really get to leave either behind.
A messy environment can trigger negative feelings such as confusion, worry, and even claustrophobia. That (literally) inescapable feeling that something is incomplete can disrupt our workflow and stall productivity, and since many of us are now always at home whether we’re working or not, it’s really important to keep on top of cleaning regimes - for the sake of your physical and mental health.
When Should I Start Spring Cleaning?
There’s no national holiday for this, but people typically start spring cleaning around late March/early April, as spring cleaning is supposed to coincide with the start of warmer weather and longer days and the opportunity to let in fresh air after the winter months.
Want to start spring cleaning earlier? There is no reason why you shouldn’t! Especially this year, With everyone working from home, children being home-schooled and people generally spending all their time in their homes, it is clear that there is going to be more mess around that needs tidying up. So why not give it a shot a little earlier in the year?
Where do I Begin?
Spring cleaning is definitely a weekend job, or whenever you have a full day to dedicate to it. Start by making note of any essential cleaning supplies you’ll need and stock up, and this doesn’t have to cost a bomb. There are heaps of cleaning products you can make yourself with things you might already have at home (DIY cleaning products get bonus points for being more sustainable, too).
To make things easier (and if you’re a scatterbrain like me), you might want to compartmentalise cleaning different areas of the house. If you find structure satisfying, you could even break it down into morning, afternoon and evening - strip all beds of duvet covers and sheets to put in the wash, leave them to dry in the afternoon, and replace with fresh bedding in the evening.
Spring cleaning might seem like a daunting prospect, so we’ve put together a very basic checklist to get the ball rolling.
Let’s get into it.
Quick Note: If you are wanting some more tips on Spring Cleaning and Decluttering, check out this brilliant guide from the team at Cookes Furniture! Or if cleaning supplies is what you need, check out this amazing selection of bulk cleaning supplies.
Spring Cleaning Checklist
- Bedding. As well as washing bed linen, don’t neglect duvets, pillows and comforters. You should ideally do this two-three times a year to prevent dust mites; just double check the labels before you start throwing things in the washing machine. Fun tip: wash your duvet/comforter with tennis balls to ensure the filling is evenly distributed.
- Windows. It’s best to do this on an overcast day or at least out of direct sunlight, so as to avoid streaks. You can use a window or glass cleaner, or a mixture of warm water and white vinegar with a microfibre cloth. Don’t forget to use a duster when dry.
- Curtains. First thing’s first: check the label. If it’s a dry-clean situation, leave it to the professionals. Otherwise, vacuum off any dust and debris before putting in the wash on a gentle cycle with cool water. They can then be moved to the dryer or air-dried. Eliminate any creases with an iron or steamer.
- Countertops. Wiping down with warm soapy water or an all-purpose cleaner is fine, but for stains, try opting for a cream cleaner with a mild or balanced PH formula that isn’t damaging.
- Stainless steel. You should be using an extractor fan whenever using the stove to keep grease and dust from building. To restore the shine on your stainless steel surfaces, you can use a teaspoon of washing liquid and some hot water with a microfibre cloth and give them a good scrub.
- Fridges. Fridge shelves and drawers can be tackled simply by using warm soapy water to break down bacteria and food spillages.
- Ovens. A hot, wet cloth can be used to soak burnt areas before attacking with baking soda and a dense sponge or scourer.
- Microwaves. Fill a microwaveable bowl halfway with water and add a sliced lemon, lime, or orange (squeeze to release some of the juice). Turn the microwave on for a few minutes so it steams up, then wipe down the inside (oddly satisfying).
- Drains. To keep drains fresh, boil a pan of water or white wine vinegar and pour some down the drain. Leave for a few minutes, rinse with cold water and then pour the rest of the water or vinegar down the drain to eliminate gunk.
- Shower curtains. These can be put on a gentle wash with your chosen detergent, along with things like towels and bath mats, and then left to air-dry. If it’s a plastic shower curtain, you can use a damp cloth sprinkled generously with baking soda and give it a light scrub before rinsing with warm water.
- Sanitize shared devices. Disinfectant wipes are good for sanitising things like phones, remote controls and consoles, but you can also use a cloth to remove dust and then spritz another cloth with antibacterial spray to wipe away bacteria.
- Declutter. Time to let go of those clothes you haven’t worn in over a year but hold onto because you think they’ll be nice enough to wear at some point. Clear out any junk drawers and use a vacuum nozzle to get rid of crumbs any other bits if necessary. You might also want to throw out any expired products in your bathroom cabinet (yes, makeup goes out of date).