Image credit: House Beautiful
Every year when the clocks go forward a strange thing happens.
The spiders seem to get very busy building webs all over my house, slut wool appears from out of the skirting boards, the windows acquire a layer of grime and the curtains positively puff with dust.
Some say it’s just that as it gets lighter I notice it more but it feels like there’s a malevolent fairy that visits in April.
So. Clean I must.
But how to make it as painless as possible?
In an ideal world I’d just call Mary Poppins and she’d press my children into service and finger snap it all tidy and sparkly. Optimistic can-do attitude and magic being in short supply however, I recommend the Three Golden Rules of Easy Cleaning, which I’ve just made up.
Make it easy.
As we said in the Storage in a Child’s Room post last year, if you can keep clutter down, or at least contained in nice furniture you’ll make your task soooo much quicker. But in any case, try this.
Put on old clothes, a headscarf and rubber gloves.
Gather all the clutter and dump it into a container.
Sweep a big feather duster all round the room – ceiling, shelves, furniture, picture rails, window sills skirting boards.
Hoover up the resulting dust – again, floors, curtains, furniture, soft furnishings.
Make the beds/plump the cushions.
Go through the box of clutter with a bin handy and take each item out individually. Bin as much as you can (old Radio Times, odd sock you’ve been keeping til the other one turns up, Easter chocs with just the coffee creams remaining that no-one likes etc), wipe everything else with a damp cloth and put it on a shelf or a windowsill or in a cupboard.
Then clean the windows. Nothing brightens a room like a clean window, and now the dust and cobwebs are swept away the resulting radiance will make you feel half a stone lighter.
Get into products.
Image credit: Method cleaning products
Some people only feel the love when they can virtually taste the bleach in the air. Me, I prefer the non-toxic, fruity-smelling, pretty-coloured Method range in Clementine and Grapefruit and… apparently there’s one in Wild Rhubarb now. Well, Ok then. There are also the do-it-yourself folk who know marvelous uses for baking soda and cider vinegar. Whatever floats your particular barge, sisters.
Whistle while you work.
Or find yourself a play list of music to clean to. If you google ‘music for cleaning’ you’ll find dozens of playlists put together for you, but as these all seem to be written by 18 year olds here are a few of my own favourite suggestions to help you on your way.
I Want to Break Free by Queen. Mostly because Freddy Mercury in a bouffant wig, a pointy embonpoint and a big moustache makes me hoot. Check out the video for a pre-clean boost. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4Mc-NYPHaQ
Image credit: Freddy Mercury
Happy Working Song from the Disney film Enchanted. Completely appropriate, a lovely satire on all the other magical cleaning songs women characters sing in Disney films.
Mrs Bartollozi by Kate Bush. Because it makes cleaning seem lyrical and profound. Who can forget the plaintive refrain ‘Washing machine. Washing machine. Washing machiiiiiiiiiiiine.’
One final bit of advice for cleaning children’s rooms.
Once they get to adolescence the key to managing the mess in their rooms is to shut their door and never look in there again until they leave home.
Happy Spring Cleaning everyone!