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Lighter mornings and nights are here! If you’re like me, you’ll have noticed a huge difference in your energy levels and motivation since the clocks changed. I find it is like a switch has turned something back on inside of me. My head is clearer, I know what I want and I’m able to rinse the day dry of everything I can get out of it. That’s why I know now is the time to have a big spring clean to set me up for the rest of the summer.
Spring cleaning can be daunting for a few reason though. It might be the haze of not knowing where to start or the fact you have a feeling your good work will be ruined by everyone else in your home as soon as you’ve dealt with a room. However you’re feeling about it, don’t let the cost of a spring clean be the thing that holds you back.
Thanks to the lovely people at Home Bargains, I’m going to set you up with some simple steps for spring cleaning that will ensure you remain in budget and the job still gets done.
Time to prepare
Begin your spring clean by drawing up a plan. To be able to get to the cleaning part it is likely you’ll need a declutter first. Over winter we accumulate so much more “stuff” not just due to Christmas but requiring more paraphernalia during the cold months. Start at your front door and travel through your home addressing every surface, drawer and containers. You’ll know where your clutter hotspots are. These tend to be areas where if just one item is left out of place then it will attract other things. See my broken windows theory post.
Be ruthless in these areas or you’ll find yourself back to square one far too quickly and the point of a spring clean is to have a sufficient lasting effect during summer. In our home we call it pressing the reset button. With all the things you’ve decluttered, decide which you really need to keep (these will need organising and storing properly out of sight, in a loft or garage for example) and those you can sell or donate.
Have a plan about where you’re going to donate the items though if that’s your plan. I drove around with a bag for charity in my car for ages which is ridiculous and will have cost me more fuel! Now I have a rule that anything baby related I send next door as they’re new grandparents. Anything food based goes to the food bank. Any large items which I haven’t the time to sell and just need out of the way I take to my local Council tip which has a reuse shop. Know where you’re going to take it before bagging it up and save yourself the frustration that it is still hanging about and probably attracting more rubbish to it. That pile will soon get out of hand otherwise!
If you’re going to sell anything, take photos of it in situ before bagging up with other things to list for sale. This will speedup your listing and make that task less stressful and therefore more likely to actually happen! Making money from your clutter can help pay for any new spring cleaning materials. The extra cash can also be used to replace anything broken or damaged or items which might benefit from an upgrade or refresh like garden furniture. Don’t be put off by thinking bulky items won’t sell, or won’t sell for enough fir it to be worth your effort. Read my post about Shiply which is a postage solution for large items.
Get everyone onboard
Even if your children are young, let everyone in your house know what the plan is and encourage them to take part and “own” certain tasks. Giving them ownership will achieve the buy in you’re looking for to ensure the spring clean lasts more than a day. Your time is money so doing the job once correctly is the result you need. Then use visual cues to reinforce the message.
Home Bargains have some lovely inspirational message boards which are a good reminder to care for your home and can also be a great way to keep key items in site which need to be used that week such as theatre tickets, gift vouchers or birthday cards. Pair these with a menu plan so your household can’t help but notice the important messages whilst they search of what is on the menu for that night.
Decide on your method
If you’re a fan of task batching, list which task will be required, in the logical order they need undertaking. So for this, complete all the dusting upstairs, then downstairs and only then vacuum upstairs then downstairs. The downside to this method is that you risk feeling like you’re not getting anywhere as the results take longer to become visible. The benefits of this method are once you’re close to completion, it will all come together very quickly. You can also have more than one person completing the same task in a number of rooms at the same time or if it is just you, you can concentrate on one thing like wiping down surfaces and utilise the same cleaning tools in one go and you’re not having to swap and change every five minutes.
Alternatively, you may prefer to concentrate on one room at a time. Still work on a top down method inside one room by dusting light fittings, then anything at height e.g bookshelves, picture frames and mirrors, wall mounted TVs etc. This is because dust literally settles as you shift it so working your way downwards should capture everything.
Buy multi-functional cleaning products
Cleaning sprays suitable for any surface are what you should purchase if you want to save money. Buying one for the bathroom and a separate one for the kitchen is unnecessary and you’re likely to use more product whilst using it as there’s a perception it is dedicated to that one task. Just get one and use it in both rooms to keep things simple and just get the job done. Home Bargains sell this CIF one which smells of tangerines and is so refreshing. The citrus scent lingers too so you don’t then have to spend even more of room sprays.
Buy reusable to save money as well as they environment
You already have bags for life to prevent the need to purchase one use shopping bags at the supermarket so treat your cleaning products the same way. Rather than buying disposable surface wipes, get a pack of quality clothes that can be washed afterwards and reused. When I was little, I recall my parents cutting up old clothes to use as cleaning rags but you could be financially better off selling the old clothes and investing in good cleaning cloths!
Spring cleaning is an opportunity
If you’re wanting to reduce your outgoings throughout the year, meal planning can be a great saver. Use your spring clean to have an audit of the contents of your fridge, cupboards and freezer space. Write down a list of everything you have including condiments. Check expiry dates on each item and throw out anything past its best, composting anything appropriate and recycling packaging where possible. Once you know what food you have in, you can use an app like Make A Meal to create delicious recipes based on the ingredients you have.
Do this on a regular basis during the year and plan your food shopping around your list. This will reduce the number of items you need to buy considerably and will avoid duplicate purchases. Having a weekly food planner up on the wall will keep your family on plan whilst you’re doing this too. You can use an app like GetYolt to monitor your spending and it has the option to filter by category so you can see your supermarket spending go down each month.