The Magpie Anthology

Hints and Tips for Your Spring Cleaning Odyssey…

We all dread the annual spring clean – but here’s Lisa Henry on how you can make it a more cathartic experience…

I love the idea of spring cleaning (especially in September when it’s months away). Spring cleaning has numerous religious and cultural origins but let’s just go for the fact its good for the soul and helps us enjoy our homes.  Here are my top tips for a happy spring clean.  

Always start with a cuppa and a list. No, it’s not procrastinating, it’s very helpful, especially writing down the things that annoy you and you want to change and if you live with others make sure that jobs are delegated.   If you have general clutter everywhere then that is a good place to start. I say this from experience having recently moved after living in the same house for many years and I have spent many hours clearing clutter/treasure. I can’t recommend Marie Kondo’s book enough – I felt like I had a little friend on my shoulder helping me all the time. Clutter needs to be tackled as one job as the chances are you have similar clutter in multiple rooms that need tackling at the same time e.g. all pens should have one home!

The most obvious spring cleaning job is the windows and ideally not on a sunny day as you won’t see the smears properly.  When I clean my own windows I use hot soapy water with a splash of vinegar and dry with newspaper.  However I am much more of a fan of getting them done.  Our new window cleaner is called Wayne and on his van it says “I can see clearly now that Wayne has gone”! Who wouldn’t fall for that?  

Curtains been up for years? Take to to dry cleaners (are they even open)? 

Now for the proper work, if possible pick a sunny day and throw open the windows and doors.  Letting in fresh air will make every room feel better before you even start.  I personally like to blast out Doris Day for this occasion (my husband less so). If you want the children involved then maybe a shared play list – eww.  Even if you aren’t moving furniture around it’s good to move stuff and clean behind/underneath.  Might find something you’ve been looking for for ages. With regards to cleaning products I definitely prefer to use environmentally friendly ones. Make your air as pure as possible. I love all the Method products, they smell divine and you can buy them from most supermarkets. There are loads of tips online as well of the magic of using baking soda and various products found in the cupboard which are definitely worth a browse. 

If you are going to try and shift some hard stains then perhaps you need something a little stronger.  I am a big fan of sugar salt wipes which clean off the stickiest of little hand prints from walls and you can buy from DIY stores and online.  I also purchased a carpet cleaner last year which was roughly the same price of getting the whole house done.  I liked the idea we could clean the carpets without the rigmarole of booking someone in.  

Any throws/ cushions/ rugs throw in the wash if you can and hang outside for the day.  Kids will love banging a stick at a rug for a least a minute. 

Artwork – are the paintings and pictures you really love in the places you will enjoy them the most? One client of mine had her favourite painting tucked away in a dark corner.  We moved it above a fireplace that you looked at as soon as you walked into the room.  The client saw the picture when she left the house and came home again and couldn’t have been happier.   Move things around on mantles, shelves, frame some new photo’s.  Don’t forget the rule of three when arranging things.  Play a little.  I have started changing round some cook books in the kitchen, hoping that the closer to hand the healthy ones are, the magically the slimmer I will be.  If you have a book that is a work of art in its self, give it somewhere to shine.

If you want to change your look without any major expense on furniture etc then table lamps and cushions can work magic.  I am particularly loving a new collection at Liberty. hey really have the most divine selection of cushions.  My absolute favourite table lamps at the moment are from Matilda Goad , I could have these in every room.  One more thing that has caught my eye is some beautiful wall art in Oliver Bonas which would brighten any room.

Well I leave now, wishing you and myself luck with our spring cleaning.  Remember to focus on the feeling of when its all finished and you are sitting in a sparklingly clean room, a beautiful vase of spring flowers on the table, a glass in hand and you’ve lit a candle you’ve been saving for best…

We’d love to know how you get on, so please share any tips you find useful in the comments below :0)

Lisa x

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