Updated: Apr 3
It's officially the start of Summertime here in the UK, and Spring has most definitely sprung.
Spring is my favourite time of the year. I love the blossom on the trees, the daffodils in bloom, the smell of hyacinths, birds singing, the sunshine coming out from behind the clouds and days getting longer.
We've spent so much time at home over the past year, so it's a perfect opportunity to give your home a bit of clean and clean and declutter to banish those Winter (and Covid) blues and give your home a fresh start!
Spring is a traditional time to clean everything in your home.
WHY I DON'T SPRING CLEAN
Not for me. Well, not in the traditional sense anyway. Because I am a Professional Organiser, people often assume I will be cleaning our entire home from top to bottom (and have a detailed checklist to follow to ensure that everything gets done).
It may surprise you that I don't put much effort into Spring cleaning. I'm not really a fan of the whole clean everything in one-weekend thing, and much prefer to do a little cleaning and decluttering all year round than let things build up, creating an overwhelming annual chore.
Years ago, Spring cleaning was a necessity. Smoke and dust build-up from coal lamps and open fires over the winter months caused homes to become very dirty. Deep cleaning of everything had to be done to restore the air quality for the health of everyone in the house. It was a process that took days or even weeks.
While Spring cleaning has changed over the years, some people still feel pressurised to do it all.
I love the feeling when your home is spotless, and having a clear-out of what you no longer need in your life is always amazing and energising.
You just don't have to do it all in one go - and exhaust and stress yourself to make it happen.
Here are my tips for a Spring freshen up...
DON'T MAKE IT OVERWHELMING
Spring cleaning in the traditional sense is a pretty big task to tackle, but you don't have to feel overwhelmed by it. Spring Cleaning can be done in any way you like. There's no rule book, and the Spring cleaning authority isn't coming to inspect your efforts!
Instead of trying to do everything - do what makes sense to you!
Just because there are numerous detailed checklists and challenges online telling you all of these things need to be done, doesn't mean that applies to you and that you should be doing them all. You don't have to declutter, organise and deep clean every area of your home in one weekend just because there's a 'How to....' guide or someone else on social media has done it.
Decide on a few key tasks in each room, or choose one or a couple of areas to work on.
Choose the ones that make sense to do now, either for your peace of mind or for seasonal reasons - and then do everything else throughout the year.
The ones that I think make the most sense to do at this time of the year are;
The Garage (and other outdoor buildings).
The weather is getting warmer, you're spending more time outside, and it's time to get the garden furniture and summer toys and activities ready and easy to access. Chances are, there are a few things that have been dumped in the garage during the winter. Take time to return everything to where it belongs, declutter what is no longer needed and start fresh for the Spring and Summer.
Swap out your bedroom linens and duvets for lighter ones ready for the warmer weather, and declutter anything that you no longer love or use at the same time.
Decluttering and organising your wardrobe is one of the most satisfying tasks, and now is the perfect time for a seasonal switch. Pack away your winter woollies and add your summer favourites back in.
Pull out your winter clothes and store them away in a sealed and labelled container ready for next winter. By doing a seasonal switch, you're not looking at your winter items for another six months or so, so it'll feel like you have a new winter wardrobe when you get them back out, and you'll free up lots of space in your wardrobe! Do the same at the end of the summer.
It's a great time to refresh the first area of your home that you see. Start by sorting any items that have gathered that don't belong there.
Then, collect all the hats, gloves and winter coats and run them through the wash, ready to be packed away ready for next winter. Clean your winter shoes and boots before storing them away during the summer too. You don't want any mud to remain and ruin them.
If you have loft or garage space, create an area to store your winter items. Doing this will save space in your wardrobe and entranceway for the Spring/Summer gear.
Paperwork (if you're self-employed and/or need to do a tax return)
Get ready to prepare for your tax return. Make sure that your papers are organised and discard anything you no longer need from previous years. Because it's tax time and you're already there going through your paperwork, you might as well freshen up your systems.
PEACE OF MIND AREAS
These are the hot spots in your home that you may dread looking at or going into. The ones that bring up any negative feelings.
You will also notice many places don't require any extra attention because you are already on top of those areas throughout the year, or you simply don't care that much about them (and that's OK!).
Walk around your home and take a good look at each space. See what sticks out and what gives you an adverse reaction - no matter how small.
TIPS TO HELP KEEP YOU PRODUCTIVE
Grab a pen and paper and write a list of the areas you most want to tackle (or you can download a free Simplify your home checklist from the resources page to mark off the ones you want to work on).
To-dos will be different for everyone - from a small organising project to switching out seasonal clothes and, of course, actual deep cleaning of things like windows and all the little nooks and crannies that often get forgotten about. Choose the areas and tasks that matter to you, your family and your space most.
Identify the one area that feels most important at this time and put that top of your list to focus on.
When it comes to Spring cleaning and decluttering, divide and conquer each room or category, one at a time.
Be realistic about how much time you have for decluttering, cleaning and organising and put some time blocks into your calendar to work through your projects and to-dos.
Get the family involved. Cleaning and decluttering are tasks that everyone can share, so long as they are age and physically appropriate for each person. Once you've identified the most important tasks, discuss as a family what needs to be done, by whom and the timelines.
Don't be afraid to ask for help with any jobs if you feel overwhelmed or it's too much for you to do. Some jobs may require two people to work on one task together, or some tasks may be much easier with a professionals help! 😉
Do what you can, and don't worry about trying to do everything!
DON'T WAIT FOR SPRING CLEANING
Spring cleaning is great - but don't put it all off until Spring. Make clearing out and cleaning a habitual, year-round practice instead of an overwhelming one-off annual task.
Homes need regular maintenance. If you do small tasks and projects regularly on a weekly and monthly basis, you don't have to worry about Spring cleaning. When Spring comes around, you can pick and choose what you'd like to do, rather than what has to be done because it's built up.
I like to give one room in my house some extra 'love' once each week. I do the general cleaning throughout the week but focus on one area each day. (Mondays are living areas, Tuesdays office, Wednesday is kitchen day, Thursday's bathroom and Fridays Bedrooms), but you could do one cleaning task per day instead of by room - it's entirely up to you.
If you notice a top or jeans in your wardrobe that you haven't worn in a long time and have no inclination to want to wear again, don't think, "I'll have to donate it when I go through my wardrobe". Rather than wait, just take it out of the wardrobe and put it in a donate bag or basket ready to go.
The same goes for unused or duplicate kitchen gadgets, home decor items hanging around, or anything else that you're not using or loving.
Regular progress over perfection is always the best way!
CELEBRATE YOUR EFFORTS AND ADD SOME SPRING TO YOUR SPACE
While Spring clearing and cleaning may be hard work, one of the best things about it is that it is an instant gratification activity. After any decluttering and cleaning project, you will hopefully notice that your home feels newer and brighter and full of energy. By clearing your home of the old, you will feel refreshed and rejuvenated, ready to bring in the new. What Spring is all about!
Cut some foliage from garden trees and place in a large vase for a free and effective pop of green, or treat yourself to some fresh flowers or a small potted plant to add the feeling of Spring to your home.
Enjoy your home, and remember that you can do 'Spring' cleaning at any time; you don't have to put so much pressure on yourself to do it all at once.