As we get to the end of another long winter, spring can still feel a long way off, but before you know it, flower buds will be bursting open, the colour will return, and the sun might even make an appearance.
We all make an effort to keep our homes tidy and clutter-free but how often do you really give the place a deep clean? Spring cleaning has become an integral part of the annual cycle in Ireland, but the practice actually has its roots far from the Irish shore.
It’s believed the tradition either comes from the Nowruz, the Persian New Year or Jewish preparations for Passover. Iranians still practise khaneh tekani - which translates literally as ‘shaking the house’ - when families conduct a deep clean before the turn of the year which comes in spring. The Jewish faith has also long called for the home to be carefully cleaned before the Passover festival which typically falls at the end of March or the beginning of April.
But for those of us in Ireland, spring cleaning goes back as far as anybody can remember. It’s a time to brush away the thick cobwebs of winter and look forward to the start of a new blossoming cycle.
Let’s be honest, it can be a daunting thought, but with these tips to help, along with a sunny day and an uplifting soundtrack, nothing can hold you back.
1. Make a Plan (but be realistic)
Yes, we know that making a cleaning plan sounds like a pitiful use of your time, but trust us, it’ll save you plenty of time in the long run. You don’t need to go all Monica Geller, but a rough outline of what needs to be cleaned and who it’s been assigned to can speed things up.
There’s also that wonderful flicker of satisfaction each time you get to tick something off the list. It’s the little things in life - right?
But also approach the whole project with as much realism as you can muster. It might sound great in theory to deep clean that dusty cellar that you haven’t used in years, but do you really have the time or the inclination? This is not to say you should scrimp on the cleaning, but just be realistic about how much time you have or how much time you’re willing to dedicate to the Spring Clean. There will always be more to clean, so you will need to draw the line somewhere.
2. Get yourself a cleaning kit
If you’re anything like me, excuse-making is a tried and trusted method to justify procrastination. The first step to starting your Spring Clean is getting your supplies together. Don’t try to clean your home with a couple of mix ‘n’ match supplies because realistically you won't get too far - and deep down you probably know it.
You’ll need a basic list of supplies such as; an all-purpose cleaner, plastic gloves, disinfecting wipes, oven cleaner, glass cleaner, sponges and a duster. Once you have all the relevant equipment, use a basket or a bucket to keep these together so that you’re not running in and out of the kitchen, dirtying those freshly mopped tiles as you frantically search for a sponge.
3. Be brave & lose the clutter
Sometimes it’s hard to get rid of the little things we see around the house every day. Burnt-out candles in fancy jars, cute trinkets that don’t work anymore, even small appliances we promised ourselves would come in handy someday but never have.
All of these things are consuming space and leaving a cluttered look in your home. Remember what textile designer William Morris said in 1880, “have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
So detach yourself from all your little knick-knacks and be ruthless – anything that does not serve a valuable purpose – bin it and don’t even bother looking back. Anything that you do feel is useful enough to keep, set it aside until you’ve finished cleaning and dedicate a specific space to keep them all. If it comes to it and you can’t find anywhere for it, thanks carefully again, do you really need it?
4. Step by step, room by room
We all know what it’s like frantically running around your home trying to clean everything at once when your in-laws are only ten minutes away from their ‘surprise visit.' This method is quite simply a recipe for disaster – you’ll clear the big obvious things like coats and bags but won’t notice the dirty plates and the coffee spills until it’s all too late.
If you’ve set aside time for your Spring Clean you may as well optimise it. Make a list of each room you have to clean, under each room you should then make a sub-list of each job that has to be completed in that room. Once you’ve finished the bathroom (including the floors, shower, sink, toilet and mirrors) move on to the next room and tackle the jobs one by one. This will ensure that you don’t miss anything and let’s face it, lists never let us down.
5. Bring Spring into your home
Once you have all the cleaning jobs done and dusted, it’s time to treat yourself and your home. With Spring knocking at your door, why not let it in? Buy some fresh flowers or a new plant, even a cheerful painting that brightens the mood. This will bring an air of freshness to your home, and without all the clutter you’ll have plenty of room to put them.
Not only will fresh flowers open up the room and fill it with a pleasant aroma, but they can also enhance your general well-being as they can improve indoor air quality. The perfect way to start Spring is with a fresh mind, and a fresh home. We also suggest opening every door and window for a short period and allowing that blustery Irish wind to circulate through your home. There’s nothing like fresh air and our homes can become horribly musty during winter.
6. Home Insurance
Now that your home is sparkling, de-cluttered, and sporting a few new plants and pictures, your final act of letting go of the old and embracing the new is to ensure that your home has the right kind of insurance.
Home Insurance from 123.ie comes in various shapes and sizes to suit your needs but provides you with that reassuring safety net should anything happen. Spring is all about starting afresh and letting those worries float away, so once you’ve given your home that deep clean it deserves, get a home insurance quote from 123.ie and put that final pierce into the jigsaw.