From time to time, one must release the grime
built up inside them to free their emotions like the ocean.
Suzy Kassem, Rise up and salute the Sun
Keeping a house, I’ve come to understand, is like swimming with the waves. There is a natural current running through our home; bringing chaos or calm, depending on the tide and to keep my head above water, I must understand the current and its ebb and flow. Sometimes it’s ok to have the kitchen sink full to the brim for a day, sometimes it’s crucial to get it clean before dawn.
One of the greatest anchors in keeping this little houseboat dancing along, for me, is respecting the seasonal shifts and the cleaning duties that come with them. Meaning, I fully embrace Spring clean season. Surrendering to an annual spring clean is not only good for our house; I find it is also good for my body and my soul. Moderate exercise, fresh air, less clutter – it ticks all the boxes for a healthy habit.
While all my favourite magazines reliable tell me every spring that I’m not alone in the enjoyment of a thorough big clean up, it is not the annual hype of decluttering that I’m after. Instead my focus for our yearly spring sweep is to reawaken the house and to tend to the hard working corners that winter has worn down. Although slightly cheesy, I do consider it an honour and a privilege looking after our own home, especially since we became the proud house owners. It therefore brings me real pleasure to dust behind the radiators, wash and air the thick duvets and blankets and care for all the appliances that kept the house tidy and fresh while the air outside was too cold to be invited in. I respect that a scrub like this isn’t done in a day, not even a weekend really. Therefore I’ll generally keep my spring clean list out for the whole of April and make use of the energy and long days that spring brings, cleaning a rug here or tidying away the winter coats there. Until the entire house is aired, refreshed and filled with light textures and lots and lots of blooms.
As I thoroughly enjoy when other people do so I thought I’d share my spring clean list here for you to take inspiration from. Whether you use it in its entirety or just mark a few tasks that you’d like to focus on too, please don’t hesitate to adapt, change or ignore as you wish for your own home.
Awaken & Refresh: A Simple Spring Cleaning List
Clean hard working house appliances: All winter they kept our house tidy and fresh, now it is time to give them some love too.
- Washing machine. After all the beddings are done I give the machine one more cycle on the hottest setting available, for me 90degrees, without any washing powder. Then I wipe down the drum as well as the washing powder compartments.
- Tumble dryer. While the filters get wiped down after every or every tens cycle respectively, for spring clean I actually wash them as well as the compartment door that stores the water.
- Vacuum cleaner. As our vacuum cleaner has two reusable filters that get cleaned and swapped regularly, I pay particular attention to the attachments now. Making sure they are clean and free of blockages such as hair or fur balls.
Dust off far corners: Now that all the creepy crawlers are gone that overwintered with us – wink – it’s time to put their nests to rest.
- Top of shelves, wardrobes and cupboards. Particularly the top shelves in the kitchen get a thorough clean with some soapy water as they collect a lot of dust and grime over the winter.
- Ceiling and wall corners. I used to go around with the vacuum cleaner, but I recently purchased a long feather duster – it makes much lighter work of the dusting.
- The same feather duster comes in handy now for the radiators, giving them a good sweep along their backs. For the front and the pipes I use a damp cloth.
Wash and air much cuddled fabric
- Beddings and pillows. While the summer duvets air for a day on the washing line, the thick winter duvets will get a wash before they get stored. This is also the time I will give all the pillows a wash.
- During winter our living room is a hording place for all the blankets of the entire household. Although some will continue to lurk around for summer picnics or chilly nights, they will all get a wash and a mend now.
- Vacuum and turn mattresses. I once washed the cover to our memory foam mattress but have quickly learned my lesson and now refrain from such foolishness. It took three days to dry and two people to put the cover back on! Instead I will vacuum clean and simply turn the mattress, leaving it uncovered for the day with the windows open.
Refresh dusty air
- Open windows wide. Basically my first order of every day in April – no matter the weather – is to open our windows wide and let the spring air in for ten minutes. Apart from all the extra oxygen I feel we get, I really like the smell that it brings.
- Spread blooms. I don’t really like artificial air fresheners and as candle season fades out I like to fill the house with as many blooms as I can get my hands on.
Clean and pack up winter clothes
- Clean boots. It’s unlikely with the English weather that we will be truly done with our boots, but it’s still a good time to give them a scrub and replenish that water protecting wax.
- Wash and mend then store: coats, jackets, winter jumpers. More by default then by choice has our wardrobe become extremely minimalistic over the last years. Neither of us is a great shopper and so we’ve come to rely heavily on just a few pieces. It’s therefore imperative that we take good care of our clothes. Where applicable I will give them to the dry cleaners, otherwise I will wash them, check for any marks or loose threads, mend and then put them away in our seasonal wardrobe. They are never really out of reach, but I like to keep them a bit out of the way, when they are not so heavily in use.