Spring is nearly here and I feel like there is a little spring in my step too. I love the lighter mornings, that gorgeous yellow thing keeps appearing in the sky and I am seeing a little bit more colour around the place. Ahhh…. lovely. I am also seeing a lot more dirt around my house too! Ahhh…. not so lovely. That yellow thing in the sky has been highlighting parts of my house that have been neglected with my winter cleaning routine.
Who am I kidding! I don’t have a cleaning routine in winter let alone any other season. I blindly tidy when I have to in order to keep my house presentable and clean on a day-to-day basis. Small manageable cleans are the way to go but I do randomly find myself doing a mad clean like a woman possessed. The fact is my house needs a good old spring clean ….urghh. I hate cleaning.
I feel a little bombarded online by those idyllic and tidy looking family homes on Pinterest boards and Instagram. They look like brand new show homes. How the hell do they do that? The reality of it is that my home will never be able to look like that and that’s not just because I unashamedly abhor cleaning. Firstly, my house seems to attract dust. Secondly, my home is lived in by two kids and a mud loving black labrador, so expecting my house to look magazine ready is wholly unrealistic. Thirdly …. the list could go one…. I don’t have spares hours to fit in the amount of cleaning needed and would rather be doing something else!
Who else is with me on this? Today, I am setting out to find a few ways to make spring cleaning less of a punishment. Think of it as some cleaning hacks for the people who hate cleaning.
Leave shoes at the door
Stop the dirt coming into you house in the first place with a door mat. Better still leave all shoes at the front door. I adopted this a few years ago because I was fed up of doing the floor everyday. Joys of living by a farm saw mud and ming being deposited on my wooden floors all the time. Now, the family and guests leave their shoes in the porch. Brilliantly, I find myself spending less time vacuuming and washing the floor as a result … and I mean ridiculously less time. Good for me and it has to be good for the environment too – saving electricity and saving water by washing floors less. All I need to do now is get something to clean the dog’s feet when he comes in from the quagmire garden!
Clean up those surfaces. Get rid of stuff lying around that you no longer use. Let’s break this down simply. If you have less stuff, it take less time to tidy it away! Brilliant. Take some time out to go through your wardrobe and get your Marie Kondo on. It is time to giveaway, donate and recycle those clothes that don’t fit you anymore. Have you worn them in the last year? It is so much easier to de-clutter the kids clothes as so many of them won’t fit anymore …. and will never fit them again as they grow. My advice is to do one room at a time. By ruthless, it can be really cathartic.
Pre-kids and pre-blog I would always choose a Sunday morning to do my mad cleaning. Nowadays, I would much rather get out with the kids and do something fun. I have recently started to do random 15 minute blocks of cleaning. That way I don’t feel it is taking up too much of my time and it also keeps me focused.
After your de-clutter all the surfaces will hopefully be clear/actually seen and you can polish them. One cleaning I do seem to enjoy is polishing. Yeah …. I know…. I have no idea either, but I find it quite satisfying. Finding a great natural furniture polish isn’t always easy, but you can also use that good old cupboard staple … Coconut oil. It polishes well, but as with most uses of coconut oil, a little goes a long way. It also makes your house smell fairly awesome too.
What is that at the back of the the microwave?
Cleaning your microwave takes minimum effort! Take a cup or bowl, fill it halfway with water and add in a couple of tablespoons of vinegar. Next put this in the microwave for 3-5 minutes … depending on how minging it is you may need to repeat this process. Wiping down the microwave at the end will take minimal elbow grease.
Change how you fold your clothes
When I did my Marie Kondo Style clearout it was a bit of a game changer. My house had less crap in it and I started to fold my clothes vertically instead of horizontally. This made a huge difference for finding clothes and putting them away in their drawers. Teaching the kids to put away their folded clothes also saves me a whack of time too.
I actually can’t tell you how many times in my life I have cleaned a shower head. I always liked to delegate that job to my ex-husband as he could handle the smell of the cleaner and I could not. He also loved to clean …. I did not. I have recently found a great quick way to clean limescale and scum off a shower head with minimal effort. All you need is an old but clean sandwich bag, some baking soda, some vinegar and an elastic band to tie the bag to the shower head. Leave this concoction for a few hours, ideally overnight, and rinse in the morning.
Dust before hoovering
There is no point in doubling up your work. Why vacuum before dusting, when some of the dust will end up on the floor anyway! Simples. If someone could just tell my dog to stop shedding 11 months of the year that would be awesome.
Cleaning on the go
My kids love to leave their toothpaste all over my sinks …. they are delightful like that. So, when I am washing my hands at the sink I will often use my soaped up hands to wipe away any residual ming around the sink. One less job to do.
Where do you keep your cleaning products?
My Konmari de-clutter means that most important things in my house have a home ….. sometimes they make it back there too. However, for things like bathroom cleaners I keep them in the main bathroom. I know the lazy side of me will be more likely to do a little ad hoc clean of the bathroom if the products are right there. If they are down a flight of stairs ….. meh.
OK, hands up. How much time do you spend online everyday? Be honest people. This includes all your social media, checking emails, reading the news, Netflix …. you get my drift. Have you noticed that people with really tidy and clean homes spend less time online? Yep there is a bit of a correlation there. I will happily be an example. If I have the choice of emptying the dishwasher or wiping down the fridge, but I also have the option for farting around on Instagram, I know which one I will choose. Why not combine the two. Get online and put on your favourite playlist. Turn it up loud. Dance about doing some cleaning.
Don’t clean by room
Instead of cleaning by room, why not clean by task. For examples clean all skirting boards, dust all surfaces, wiping all light switches from grubby paw prints. This simply keeps you on task. If you decide to clean by room you are more likely to get distracted each time you change product or equipment. Keep on task people.
Wow …. hopefully you picked up some tips. Short of getting a cleaner …. dream …. cleaning has to happen. It is all about making it quick and manageable. I would love to hear of any tips you guys have. I am off to work out where to start first.