Anthea’s Spring Clean Tips 2007-03-26Posted by clype in Articles of Interest.
Before you even think about getting the vacuum cleaner out of the cupboard, take ten minutes to organise your approach.
Make a list of all the jobs you would like to tackle — perhaps packing away all the winter duvets, or giving the garden furniture a good clean — and estimate how long each task will take.
Then split the house into rooms and decide what clutter needs to be cleared out of each area.
We all have unwanted clothes, books and trinkets, and this is as good a time as any to pack them up.
What may be tired or jaded to you could be useful to someone else, so try to look at your things with a fresh eye and put aside anything that can be re-used.
Charity shops will welcome you with open arms.
Then get all your cleaning supplies and deposit them off in the appropriate rooms. When you’re in full scrubbing mode, the last thing you need is to realise you’ve left the bathroom cleaner downstairs.
Ms.Anthea Turner, the presenter of BBC Three’s ‘Perfect Housewife‘ series, says that spring is when you should think about re-organising your existing household schedule.
‘There is nothing wrong with being houseproud, and, although this is an ideal time for a thorough once-over, what you want to do is create systems that keep the house running well all year round,’ she says.
‘Have a talk with the family, and establish routines — like having three separate laundry baskets, for whites, coloured and dark clothes, or having a one-in-one-out toy policy. By organising these things, it will help you stay on top of your chores every week.’
Although the bathroom isn’t always the most pleasant room to tackle, it is perhaps the most satisfying to see when spotlessly clean. Without much strain on your part, it should come up shining and fresh — and all the more hygienic to boot.
Employ a similar time-management strategy to the one used in the kitchen: spray on the bathroom and toilet cleaner first, leave it to soak into grime while you move on to work on other areas. Take down the shower curtain and wash it, or if there is a stubborn build-up of mildew, just replace it. They are available from less than 10 GBP at both Homebase and B&Q.
- TURNER’S TOP TIP: ‘The reason the bathroom can be so annoying to clean is because we leave around 20 different products (shampoo, shower gel, bath oil) festooned around the rim. Solve this problem by throwing out any bottles containing only a drip of conditioner, and give every member of the family their own waterproof sponge bag. They can hang it on the back of the bedroom door, and carry in their own products whenever they use the bathroom. That way, they will also keep their toothbrushes packed away, instead of lying around on a shelf or sink to pick up all sorts of bacteria.’
Everybody hates doing it, but the oven should be cleaned regularly to prevent a build-up of grease and grime.
Make things easier for yourself by emptying the oven of all trays and shelves, and spraying everything with a good oven cleaner. Leave that to work while you start on the fridge and freezer, so that by the time you get back to it, a swift wipe-down of the oven and fittings will be all that’s required.
If you have a microwave, you should also wipe down its walls and door with a surface-appropriate cleaner. If there are stubborn spills, or droplets on the ceiling of the microwave, place a cup of cold water inside and heat it to boiling point at full power. The steam created should loosen any debris and make it easier to clean. If the microwave smells a bit stale, pop a slice of lemon in the water before you boil it to freshen up.
When you get to the fridge, begin by emptying it of all contents. If you want to go the whole nine yards, unplug it and vacuum the cooling fins at the back. Wipe down all surfaces with a bicarbonate of soda solution (just dissolve a teaspoon of soda in a cup of water), and spray the shelves with a glass cleaner. If the freezer needs defrosting, switch it off and pack the floor of the compartment with plenty of newspaper to stem the leakage.
Take this opportunity to evaluate all the food that’s lingered in either compartment. Frozen goods will not keep for ever, so check the expiry date to ensure they are still safe. The same goes for your refrigerated jars and sauces, and all the items in your larder and cupboards, so check dates on the food in them.
Finally, check all the filters in your white goods: the dishwasher, washing machine and tumble dryer will all work far more efficiently without gunk or fluff in their filters. If you can, also pull the appliances out of their place and vacuum under and behind.
- TURNER’S TOP TIP: ‘Use your spring clean as a time to evaluate your kitchen needs. Put away any appliances that you don’t use, and get inventive with the storage space you have. If you only use your grilling machine once a week, put it on top of a cupboard in an old-fashioned picnic basket. Leave out only the things you use daily; it will make it a lot easier to clean regularly.’
- CLIPPED FROM: ‘The clean dream home‘, ANNA SMYTH, The Scotsman, 2007-03-26