Spring Cleaning – Yes Seriously!

Ok – it’s only February so not quite the middle of spring but I saw snowdrops today and the daffodils won’t be far behind!

This may sound ridiculous… but I love spring cleaning. Don’t get me wrong, my house isn’t dirty, but it’s never cleaner, tidier or better organised than when it gets that weekend-long going over!

The key to spring cleaning in my house, is organising the troops and provisions.

1)      Ensure husband has a “list”. This list will detail everything he is expected to do. It is reasonable over the course of the weekend to add one or two items but as this will no doubt cause Kevin & Perry style grumbling, I try and keep extras to a minimum by ensuring the original list covers everything!

2)      Hide the laptop cable, remove fuses from pcs and tv, basically – remove anything that can be a distraction or tool for procrastination! “I just need to check my emails” during a quick cuppa break can really do great things for ruining momentum and wasting time! (And if I end up “checking” Twitter, then it’s all over before it really begins.

3)      Engage the kids! I farm them out, borrow a portable dvd player and get some new dvds from the library (cheap enough to rent via there) or Freecycle. A board game or two, crafts and activities that don’t need overseeing. Bribery is perfectly acceptable! That takes care of the four year old and Grandma is a safe bet for babysitting the littlest fella (he’s still cute, what will I do when he starts talking he he).

4)      Phones off and ensure regular visitors / people who routinely “pop-in” know we are unavailable (I’m going this time for a big sign on the door with a red cross a la black death which reads a subtle “Bugger Off We Are BUSY”).

5)      Organise “The Kit”. Bin bags (strong ones – not the weedy Tesco value ones which I always swore by until dragging rubbish through my house last year after two split, basic cleaning gear together with a bucket etc which I can take with me from room to room. Also, I make sure I have scissors, string, envelopes and/or plastic wallets, a pen and boxes/storage crates handy.

Time to start!

For me, attitude is key! I get up, get a shower, do my hair, clean clothes (that I don’t mind getting dusty!), and get the music on. I’m not talking about The Love Album, more Glee, or rock greats or something bouncy/motivating to sing and move along too (cleaning etc can be a great form of exercise too you know!).

I start in one room and don’t leave until it is done! Anything that belongs in another room is thrown out of the door in a bag or box and picked up when I move to that room. Drawers are emptied and I am ruthless! I really need to think “Seriously- will I really use that” or “When did I last think of that” and be ashamed if you hear yourself saying “Gawd, I thought we lost that when we moved five years ago!”. <Been there, done that! It can be a bit of a pull throwing things out but it’s also very liberating and the next time I go into my drawer and find my stamps, where they should be, not under a marble, a half packet of chewing gum, a metal bracket from something, a Chinese takeaway menu and a bootlace from a pair of boots you threw out ten years ago, I’m always glad I stuck to it!

My husband is a beggar for keeping things “Just in case”. During the last big clean I sat with him (eyeballing him) whilst he sorted through the “just in case boxes”. I have no idea how many old chargers, old power packs, cables, and such items he had stashed, and in truth I don’t think he did either! We kept a few of each kind that were most likely to be of some use and disposed of the rest. Even he said it was very liberating! (Gold star Roy!).

For anyone else is gearing up to a clear-out, if you really can’t bear to throw something out that you don’t want/need consider Freecycle, a worldwide online community where people regularly give away items of all kinds in a bid to recycle them, rather than landfill them. Most areas have a group – I use mine regularly.

Most importantly…. I enjoy it! I sing, dance, laugh and really get into the spirit (which may explain the dirty looks I get from my neighbours?). I always promise myself a treat when it’s all done. Last year, I promised myself new curtains and new matching bedding for our room (always the last room to get any attention!) and this in itself was a motivator.

So feather dusted and determination at the ready… I’m setting a date on the calendar, and am going to gut this house!!!

If you had £1000… my dream in is interior design, how would spent it?

Sorry, but this isn’t a giveaway, competition or link to an e-book that will show you how to earn £1k in three simple steps.

(I wonder how many will stop reading now?)

No- it’s a “What if” post. Being of a somewhat nosy nature, I’m curious what you would spend £1000 on if it dropped into your lap today.

The rules of this virtual windfall are as follows:

  • No spending on the kids (because lets face it – that’s where it usually goes!)
  • No paying bills (as above!)
  • You have two virtual weeks to spend it or lose it so no saving for a rainy day!

It’s not as easy as it sounds actually, deciding what to spend £1k on when anything other than the kids or bills seems a bit frivolous! However, if I need to spend it then I think I know what I’d do with it. You see, I’m a closet interior designer, closest mainly because I haven’t the dosh to be anything else! I love the “Home” programmes on TV, from Escape to The Country, and of course Relocation, Relocation where you can have a nosy around other people’s houses to home makeover shows (thank gawd for Sky and Sky+).

Given £1k and being let loose on this house would be like a dream come true. It’s a lovely house as it it but it could be so much more. I have three bedrooms, our room, Taylor’s room and Kieran’s room. Taylor’s Room is newly done out so nothing needs really doing there.

Kieran’s Room needs a lick of paint and a new bookcase, and perhaps some funky storage.

Our Room needs, everything! It’s tiny, and seems to be the house storage room – I’d love to do it out and have a proper room that feels restful and cosy!

The Kitchen was painted not too long ago but needs so new appliances with a more countrified feel I think, creams, spotty green oilcloth on the table, new chair pads (I’m having an Emma Bridgewater moment).

I’ve always wanted a proper outside seating area, a love chair or similar where I may enjoy some sun or curl up with a book on an evening in peace and quiet. I’m looking for something special though, something like these rustic log furniture pieces.

The Living Room. A lovely room with a fireplace, mid oak desk, lots of cream & white and a touch of duck egg blue . It’s basically a blank canvas and whilst I like the neutral feel, it really needs some character (and probably some more colour!). Oh I’d have some fun in there!

When I’d finished titivating my rooms, buying items from big and small retailers alike (I like big retailers for the discounts you get but some of the smaller businesses, like many of those I see through Twitter and the like, have such unique and gorgeous items, not to mention stellar customer service!). I would replace (assuming there was any cash left!) things like towels (for big soft ones that have colours other than muted and strangely grey) and tea-towels!

Clearly this is just off the top of my head and not something I have thought/ day dreamed about at all! So what would you do with your imaginary £1k – please comment and let me know!