17 spring cleaning tricks that save time
The welcome assurance of spring is just around the corner: the days are gradually starting to get longer and snowdrops seem to be appearing everywhere. This in itself is enough motivation to dust off the winter cobwebs and start a big spring clean. It's the best time of the year to get started on some of those tasks that have been piling up on your to-do list since the start of the new year.
Just to help you keep your eye on the goal and not let those good intentions fizzle out, here are some tips and tricks that will make your spring clean just that bit easier (and perhaps even enjoyable!).
1. Everything seems to work better with music
Get out your favorite music before you start cleaning. It'll put you in a good mood and the rhythm of the music will help you get into the swing of things. You might even notice that after a while you don't even need musical support anymore.
2. Have a good system in place
To avoid unnecessary frustration, it's worth having a good system in place. Come up with some achievable goals that can be realized in a realistic period of time. It's also important to get the order right: first tidy up; then you can clean the windows and wash the curtains; after you've finished dusting, you can then mop the floors; kitchen and bathroom should be the last things on your to-do list.
3. Have enough breaks
Make sure you have enough breaks in your busy schedule. It might not seem so productive but it actually does shorten your work time. This is because you recharge your batteries in that time and it also allows you to appreciate what you've already accomplished. Finally, it lets you think about what you're going to attack next.
4. Having the right equipment is half the battle
Make sure you have all the right equipment to get the jobs done. Do you have all the cleaning products you need? Do you have enough fresh cloths and sponges? How full is your vacuum cleaner bag? Instead of buying all kinds of cleaning products, make sure you have the essentials like vinegar concentrate and dishwashing liquid. It's also not a bad idea to color code your cleaning cloths and have enough trash bags to get rid of stuff. Keeping all the above mentioned right there at your disposal is like having your very own cleaning caddy. It'll make all the difference, you'll see.
5. Washing basket trick
The rule of thumb is: if you put things back where you got them straight after using them then things would stay in order. But the fact of the matter is, this rarely happens. When clothes are strewn all over the place, pens are left lying all around and newspapers start collecting here and there, the best way to tidy everything up is to grab a washing basket. You collect all the bits and pieces in it and organize them into the right rooms, then you put everything back where it belongs. It saves a lot of unnecessary back and forth and wandering around time.
6. Be gone
If you can't part with accumulated junk during a spring clean, then when can you? It's also a great deal easier to scrub and clean difficult spots if the space has first been cleared instead of struggling to clean in and around objects. That's why with shelves it's best to clear them one by one before cleaning them.
7. Hairdryer technique
You should always wipe dust away when it's dry otherwise it tends to stick. Try using a hairdryer to get to hard to reach places like inside radiators and ventilators, where dust often collects.
8. Dryer sheets
Dryer sheets are static-free and are therefore ideal for dusting or cleaning smooth surfaces. They are also useful for getting into cracks, where fluff, dirt and mites like to hang out, giving them a lasting clean. Just wrap a knife or a thin object in a cloth and glide it through all those nooks and crannies.
9. Lint roller
You can remove dust from lampshades most effectively using a lint roller. If you don't have one, you can make your own using a toilet roll and masking tape.
10. Put a sock in it
Whether under the coach or behind cupboards, you often find small objects that you've been missing for months and that you'd rather not see disappear into your vacuum cleaner. Hair clips, coins or small screws can be spared by simply pulling a sock over the vacuum tube.
11. Your broom needs a glove
So that your broom doesn't fall over each time you quickly lean it up against a wall, try putting a rubber glove on the end of the broomstick, this will help it grip better.
12. Salt for the carpet
Your grey flecked carpet need not be painstakingly scrubbed and brushed. Most of the time, it's enough just to sprinkle salt generously and then spray water over it. After leaving it to seep in for an hour and half, just give a good vacuum clean. You'll notice how your dingy grey carpet now has a bright and fresh feel to it once again.
13. Lemon in the microwave
Just place a bowl of water with lemon juice squeezed in it or lemon slices in a dirty microwave and turn it on the highest setting for five minutes. Afterwards the inside practically wipes itself clean.
14. Wrap your faucets
Faucets are household fittings prone to limescale, which in turn tends to attract dirt and mould. As it's quite tricky to get the right angle especially when scrubbing behind the faucet, let vinegar do the hard work for you instead. Soak your cloth in a vinegar concentrate then wrap it around the faucet. Just let it take effect for an hour and you'll see how the limescale just rinses away.
15. Not too much cleaning product
When it comes to cleaning products, less is more. This is because soap and bubbles create a greasy layer on your cloth, which hinders the cleaning process rather than aids it. It's also easier to wipe your surfaces clean when less product has been applied.
16. Don't forget a thing
A spring clean is the perfect opportunity to devote time and attention to items that are otherwise neglected. In the long-term you'll be saving yourself time, by preventing nasty surprises that may arise when you really have much better things to do. Things like:
- Give your washing machine drum a thorough clean by letting it run at 140°F empty with 10 tsp baking powder and 10 tsp vinegar concentrate
- Door handles, light switches and remote controls: items we use everyday but which often go unnoticed when we clean the house
- The grouting underneath the toilet: mix a paste consisting of baking powder and some water and work it into the grouting using a toothbrush
- Coffee machine and toaster: even if you look after your appliances, a thorough clean every year can't harm. But for your own safety make sure you unplug them beforehand!
During your big spring clean remember to open up wide all the windows in your home to completely air out the rooms. This is of course providing the weather allows you to. It's best to choose a nice, sunny day anyway so that those sun rays boost your mood and give you the energy you'll need to accomplish your feat.
If you're secretly a maniac for housework, you'll no doubt be raring to go after reading these great tips. And just imagine how good you'll feel after you've swept through your apartment and then have the satisfaction of saying, "I managed all of this."