Spring is here and a four-day weekend is upon us.
And while for some that means long, wine-fuelled lunches and catching up on much-needed sleep, the long weekend is also a great opportunity to get your house/flat/box room spic and span, clear out any erroneous clutter and to streamline your living space.
Yes cleaning is incredibly dull (unless you are one of those rare individuals who ‘finds it so calming!’) But in the long term, a few hours blitzing your home will leave you feeling more calm, organised and focussed. And what better way to deserve yourself after the task than a long, wine-fuelled lunch and a much-needed sleep!
In the Kitchen
Tip 1: Clean fridge
Nobody has time to clean their fridge more than once a year, so now could be the best time. Use toothpaste and a toothbrush to scrub away any stains. To make your fridge smell nice then cut a lemon in half and put the two halves in your fridge, one on the bottom shelf and one on the top. The lemon will absorb any odors and give you a lemon fresh smell when you open the fridge. And as a general rule of thumb, the average lifespan of leftovers should be four days max and place dairy products on the middle or top shelf where it’s coldest.
Tip 2: Descale that kettle
Fill the kettle with vinegar or lemon juice a quarter of the way up and and leave in for an hour. Then, top that up with water and boil it. Before it cools, pour away the mixture and rinse out the kettle with several changes of cold water to remove any traces of vinegar or lemon juice. You wouldn't want that in your coffee the next morning.
Tip 3: Make microwave new
Heat a measuring jug with a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar for 10 minutes until it steams up. Remove the jug and wipe the steam along with the dirt on the inside of the microwave clean with a cloth.
Tip 4: Decorate with a potted plant
Herbal plants are inexpensive and a great way to spruce up a kitchen worktop or windowsill. Chives are the easiest to look after - they do not require much light and grow prolifically - and rosemary, mint and sage smell the best. Alternatively, jasmine, honeysuckle, and tuberoses are the most fragrant plants that can be grown indoors.
In the Living Room
Tip 1: Make windows and mirrors gleam
Polish all glass surfaces with newspapers and vinegar. Mix two tablespoons of white vinegar with a gallon of water, and dispense into a used spray bottle. Squirt on, then scrub with newspaper, not paper towels, which cause streaking.
Tip 2: Make sofas clean
To get your sofa clean in no time, remove the cushions and put them on a clean sheet on the floor. Go over them with a dry cleaning sponge which will remove dirt and oils that you can’t see. Then follow up with a lint roller to get any surface dirt that might be left behind. Follow up by going over any trouble spots and run the vacuum over the base to finish up.
Tip 3. Hang up an artwork or a mirror
This can really change a room in the way paint can. If you can't make holes in walls or are worried about damaging walls use 3M Command Strips. You can go one step further and create a whole gallery wall.
Tip 4: Make flooring less boring
Hide a tired carpet or broken floorboards with a statement rug. Members’ only sites such as Achica are great for picking up statement designer rugs.
In the bedroom
Tip 1: Clear out unworn clothes
It sounds harsh but what hasn't seen the light of day in a year, probably won't for another few. As William Morris put it, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." Start by sorting clothes into three piles - the clothes you love, the clothes you hate, and the in-betweens. One great way to pass on unwanted clothes and accessories is The Clothes Line, which collects your goods by courier for free for abandoned pet chairy Blue Cross, and dropping off bags to local charity shops in person.
Tip 2: Make wardrobes smell fresh
Slip a bar or two of your favourite aromatic soap (with the paper wrapping on) into a dresser drawer. It will scent your clothes for weeks or possibly months.
Tip 2: Invest in smart storage boxes
Wide and flat boxes or stacking tubs can store on top of cupboards or under beds. Where possible, hide the clutter behind doors (white or mirrored are best for making the room feel as big as possible).
In the bathroom
Tip 1: Remove limescale on taps and tiles
Scrubbing the specific area gently with vinegar or lemon juice will get it sparkling again. Particularly for the tap, cut a couple of lemons in half and squeeze them gently into a bowl. Take one half, shove it on to the spout of your tap, twisting gently until it stays in place (The fibres and chambers inside the lemon should catch on the edge of the spout, preventing the lemon falling off). Remove and rinse the tap after an hour.
Tip 2: Hide ugly tiles
Unattractive bathroom and kitchen tiles can be covered up with retro-style waterproof stickers called Tile Tattoos from Mibo.
Tip 3: Organise vanity cabinet and toiletries
In the same way as organising your wardrobe (see above) separate your toiletries and beauty products into piles of what you use daily, what you use every so often and what you never use. Store your most-used products in clear jars near the sink, while lesser used items can be hidden away in baskets or compartments in cupboards.
Tip 3: Fold bath towels efficiently to save space
Either lay the bath towel front-side down on a clean surface or, if your arms are long enough, hold the towel in a similar manner. Fold into thirds (lengthwise), fold the long strip in half (bring short edges together) and fold the strip in half again. Done.
Now go treat yourself to that glass of wine, meal with friends and/or much needed sleep.