God save us, it's chilly, eh? Hell, this time last year we were running amok on Bloor Street in tailored twill shorts and Gucci sneakers. Twelve months later, however, the mercury is unseasonably confused, its viscous silvery form swimming in entirely the wrong direction. Mind you, the Met' peeps are calling for better climates any day soon so we, ahem, live in hope...
No matter the climatic affront, now is the perfect time to effect domestic change, to dust away those wintery cobwebs and embrace a temperate future. Halle-flippin'-lujah! If you're apprehensive, worry not; we've compiled, for your mop-manipulating and brush-brandishing consideration, a seasonal countdown that will help scale the most daunting task mountain.
First up? Remember our simple maxim; "to fail to plan is to plan to fail." Order, you see, is everything. Compose a realistic cleaning agenda, mindful of that which can be achieved in the available window. An "every nook and cranny" purge is hard going, so pace yourself and don't over stretch. If your other half refuses (yet is perfectly able) to assist, remove all "favours" with immediate effect. And if your kids are stubborn, hide the candy jar till they comply. The manufacture of familial dust and debris, after all, requires joint effort, and so too does its removal.
Navigate from room to room compiling a to-do list, noting aspects which need attention such as dusty shelves and grimy floors. Doing this will allow you to mentally contain work, making the whole house game plan feel imminently more achievable.
10 top tips for a tip top tidy
- Keep kit close to hand: Secrete cleaning materials in a convenient carrier that can be transported easily from room to room.
- Glass class: For sparkling windows, try your granny's tip; newspaper and vinegar. Sure, the odorous results might be temporarily reminiscent of a chip shop, but boy will your glazing sparkle.
- Don't let the bedbugs bite: Steam or vigorously vacuum your bed. Theoretically, the mattress should be flipped each time it's dressed with fresh linens but, if you've neglected this practice, now's the time to make amends.
- Come out of the closet: Swap winter clothes for summer garb then vacuum pack and store un-seasonal clothes until the thermometer goes into reverse.
- Multi-task: You can tackle two things at once: While bed linen is washing, for example, clean your bathroom to within an inch of its life.
- Steam ahead: Deep clean carpets, paying attention to corners and areas under furniture. Ensure, before starting, that your sucker is utterly spotless to avoid that 'dirty vacuum' pong; wiping down the dust canister with a mild solution of Bicarbonate of Soda will alleviate this problem.
- Drop your drawers: Empty, wash with a damp cloth and examine contents of your drawers.Throw away odd socks and install drawer organisers to promote an eminently tidier future.
- Bathing beauty: Fill your tub with hot water, add a litre of white vinegar and leave to cool. When you pull the plug, rinse with a cloth soaked in lemon juice and embrace the gleaming finish.
- Hot news: Lose accumulated papers and magazines (salve your environmental conscience by recycling wherever possible), file bills neatly and give your home office a once over it won't forget.
- Couch the issue: Having upholstery professionally cleaned will bring it back from the dead. Thereafter, when everything has attained a new, cleanly standard, it'll be much easier to stay in control and your space will feel fresh and comfy.
LOOK: Places you forgot to clean
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"Clear away old or unused cleaning products, especially those that are harmful to the environment," says Lynne Freeman Haque, a professional organizer based in Toronto. If you have a variety of unnatural products, you can also drop them off to a local hazardous waste program.
Junk drawers are usually filled with, well, junk. This spring, don't let it be another waste basket. "Sort like items together and organize with inexpensive trays from the dollar store," Freeman Haque says. And did you really need all those old batteries? Throw out anything you don't need like extra twist ties, elastic bands and bag clips, or donate them to a friend.
Don't let your winter coats and boots get shoved in the back of your hallway closet. "Now is the time to remove winter accessories, coats and boots and replace them with spring and summer ones," Freeman Haque says. Vacuum and clean the salt off your boot trays as well.
Sort your personal grooming products and throw out anything that has expired. "Check your local area for a women’s or homeless shelter as they are often in need of extra hair shampoo, soap and related items," Freeman Haque says.
Freeman Haque says that besides the pull out lint-filter, you should also clean out your dryer's ventilation system — and that should be done by a professional.
Gather together sheets and towels into sets and get rid of stained, torn or damaged linens, Freeman Haque says. Often, animal shelters will take old, clean towels.
You may already clean your desk's surface, but don't forget to go into your laptop and clear out your documents as well. Spring is also a good time to get your filing in order. "At least 80 per cent of all paperwork filed is never looked at again," says Freeman Haque.
Clear away unused or expired medications and other odds and ends. To make your room feel even fresher, add a sachet of lavender or dried rosemary.
We wear 20 per cent of our clothing 80 per cent of the time, Freeman Haque says. " Only wear clothing that makes you look and feel terrific. Get rid of damaged, outdated, ill-fitting clothing — especially items that are too large or too small." Donate items that are still in good repair.
Clear out all items and give the bag a good vacuum or a possible wash. "Put back in only those items you currently use and need," says Freeman Haque. And if you're the type of person who uses many bags, buy a bag organizer with compartments.
From cleaning to preening -- now it's time to maintain your home
Become a home fixer and tackle those niggling wee jobs that have driven you crazy all winter; stick down peeling paper and touch up chipped paintwork. Give yourself a realistic timetable, tick off problems as they're tackled and stay on top of domestic maintenance. Not only will your home benefit in the short term, you'll save money on costly repairs (further down the line) and stress levels will tumble.
Give rooms a lick of paint
Paint is an economical and transformative DIY potion and an easy decorative elixir with which to effect dramatic, seasonal change. When choosing colour, problem-solve as well as adding flair; with summer approaching, lighten rooms with brighter shades or, if your project is north facing - and visually cold - add warmer tones to cosy up mood.
Swish furniture from room to room or change its orientation to keep everything fresh. For an instant fix, try new accessories but don't think you have to make huge changes; sometimes a little tweak goes a long, long way. A new duvet, for example, will bring a tired bedroom alive whilst fresh towels will transform a lack lustre bathroom. Similarly, whipping down thick wintery drapes and replacing with diaphanous blinds will raise energy levels as Mother Nature's breath becomes warmer.
Let there be light
Opt for a balancing act of 'mood' lighting (table lamps, etc) and 'task' lighting (directional options to help with reading or crafting) and invest in a dimmer switch; they're affordable (from around fifteen bucks a pop) and allow you to change atmosphere at the twist of a knob.
Shop for opportunity as temperatures rise
Trawl furniture outlets for off-season deals. Take it from us; with the financial climate as it is, there are bargains to be had. And don't think that buying second hand is second best; 'previously loved' is so Colin and Justin and a fab' way in which to economize and recycle. This in mind, hit charity stores, auction rooms and on line bidding sites to help dice those dollars.
Feeling inspired? Good. There is work to be done. The best news, however, is that after a long, languid winter you probably have sufficient energy levels to address (at least some of) our suggestions, without even breaking a sweat. Aye, feather dusters and paint brushes at the ready; with immediate effect it's time to spring forward...
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