13 Things You Should Know About Spring Cleaning
Clear that clutter!
1. Set aside a few weekends for spring cleaning your home. Create a schedule, and tidy up room by room instead of by activity. So, start with the bedroom, rather than washing all the curtains over one weekend. This will keep your task list manageable and give you a tangible sense of accomplishment.
2. Aim to declutter. Designate 'donate' and 'to be decided' bins for things you no longer need. Tokyo-based consultant Marie Kondo has created a simple test in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: Look at an item and ask, "Does it spark joy in my heart?" It's a good rule of thumb when confronting a loft or storage trunk with years worth of 'stuff'.
3. Fix appointments with the electrician, painter and so on before you start cleaning, suggests Darshan J. Singh, home expert and former head of housekeeping at the Oberoi and Leela hotels.
4. Create a cleaning caddy that you can lug with you. It should include essential cleaning supplies like rubber gloves, a spray bottle filled with a mild detergent, dusting cloths, paper towels, microfibre cloths for catching dust and disinfectant.
5. Here's a foolproof strategy: Return every item to its place. Dust, then vacuum every surface and appliance. Tackle cupboards and storage spaces one at a time. Empty them out, clean with a mild detergent and sanitizer, check for signs of water damage, termites and mould, line with newspaper or lining sheets and, as you put items back, start creating your 'repair', 'donate' and 'to be decided' piles.
6. To reduce allergies and exposure to harsh chemicals, create your own disinfectants (they are safer for pets too). A solution of one part white vinegar and nine parts water is effective against germs and bacteria, and also acts as a natural deodorizer. Add a few drops of lemon or lavender essential oil for a pleasing fragrance.
7. Rugs and quilts collect dust mites, bacteria and lice! Before storing them for the summer, shake out, soak, wash and sun-dry at home, or send out for dry-cleaning. Sunlight acts as a disinfectant for curtains, mattresses, and pillows (and fluffs them up too!). It also gets rid of moisture and odour.
8. In the kitchen, discard old or expired foods from your fridge, and wipe down all shelves and cabinets, inside and out. A paste of baking soda and water will clean any stubborn stain from sticky stoves to dirty sinks and grout.
9. Throw open doors and windows, and let the sun and fresh air into your house. Bowls of water with rose or jasmine petals make for a natural room freshener, suggests Singh.
10. Tackle damp, embedded dirt and mould in the bathroom. Wipe down and sun-dry shower curtains. A water, baking soda and white vinegar solution can take care of stubborn stains on tiles and sanitaryware. And a bowl of potpourri will keep the bathroom fragrant for days.
11. Pinterest is full of organizing ideas for the home. Peruse the boards--the search words 'spring cleaning', 'home organizing' and 'decluttering' are helpful.
12. Choose natural disinfectants like neem leaves, lavender branches, cinnamon sticks, cloves and rosemary. Put them in cloth sachets and secure with a rubber band.
13. Pet owners should sun, wash and dry all bedding, blankets and pet clothes for the coming season. Invest in a grooming session.
Sources: Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Pengiun Random House, 2016; Meenakshi S. Desai, 'Make a Good First Impression', Good Housekeeping (India), October 2011; Darshan J. Singh, 'Ask Mrs Singh', Good Housekeeping (India), April 2011.