written in collaboration with Bed Guru
As I gaze out over icy footpaths and snow-covered front gardens, it’s hard to believe today is the official first day of spring. But, despite our Arctic interlude, the season tides are definitely turning: I’ve spotted blossom buds unfurling on skeletal tree branches and clumps of daffodils pushing their way through the frost-encrusted grass.
When Bed Guru asked me to reveal my spring clean checklist, it made me think about growing up in New Zealand, when I’d arrive home from school to find all the windows naked and the net curtains soaking in buckets, the smell of bleach in the air and a brisk Kiwi breeze whistling throughout the house (Mum had usually changed all the furniture around too, which was always quite disorienting!).
Over the years we’ve established our own ‘spring clean routine’ that gets the house feeling fresh and sparkling, and ready for the summer months.
• Open it up. After being cooped up all winter with the central heating on full blast, it feels so refreshing to open all the windows and doors and give the house a good airing out. While it’s not really possible at the moment – due both to our ongoing building work and the high chance of getting hypothermia – but I’m itching to give the house a proper old-fashioned spring clean.
• Improve the view. We pay someone to come every few months and wash the outside windows, but the first fine days of spring are the perfect time to get those inside windows gleaming. We have a Karcher window vac, which takes the pain out of cleaning those panes (see what I did there?!), but you can simply use warm, soapy water and a microfibre cloth.
A little trick I picked up while working in hospitality many moons ago is to get a sheet of newsprint and use that to give the glass a final, streak-free polish. I’m not actually sure how it works, but it does – it’s amazing on mirrors too.
• Prepare the exterior. We cover up our outdoor table and chairs during winter, so spring means it’s time to unveil them and get them ready for some fair-weather entertaining. I start with hot, soapy water and a soft cloth, then for stubborn marks and mildew stains I make a paste out of baking soda and white vinegar and give the chairs a good old scrub.
• All hands on deck. After winter our back deck is always coated in green algae and as slippery as an ice rink – not great for someone as accident prone as me. We have a handyman who we call in once a year to give the wooden slats a good blast, but you can also scrub it yourself with simple soap and water, or a specialist algae-removing mixture.
• Sleep on it. All sorts of unthinkables build up on your mattress over the musty winter months – including dust, skin cells and dust mites that can aggravate conditions such as asthma and eczema. Most cleaning companies offer a mattress cleaning service, but you can also do it yourself.
Sprinkle the mattress with baking soda (use a sieve to ensure an even application) and leave it for an hour to work its way into the fabric, then vacuum it off using the upholstery nozzle. Or, if you have a steam cleaner, use it to give your beds a deep clean – remember to leave plenty of time for the fabric to dry afterwards.
• Clear it out. When I’m in that spring cleaning mood I always have a mammoth chuck out. We actually did it earlier this year, as we had to had to get the house emptied out for the renovations. I packed away (what I thought were) our essentials, but they’re now been in storage for two months and I haven’t even missed 90 percent of the items, so as soon as the work is finished I’ll be embarking on another ruthless round of decluttering.
• Store it right. One of the main aims of our renovation was to add storage, as we literally had none beforehand. When we’re finished we’re going to cupboards galore, which makes me feel extremely happy as all the annoying clutter will be tucked away, neatly out of sight.
Overall, we’re still going to be a little space-poor (hurry up lottery win, so we can buy that detached house in the country), so we’ll be making the very most of the square inches we do have. One clever way to do this is to use under bed storage boxes (we currently use these to hold the girls’ pyjamas). Even better, invest in a divan bed that either has built-in drawers or can be lifted up to reveal handy storage space in the base.
What’s on your spring clean checklist?