Feature by Maria Stokes
There’s something about springtime, the sun starts shining a little brighter for a little longer, the days become noticeably warmer, and those cravings for lazy weekends spent under blankets on the sofa suddenly become replaced with a desire to declutter, deep clean and re-organise your home (or is that just us?!).
Spring is also the most popular time to list your property for sale. The lighter evenings mean we are able to fit in more viewings, gardens are starting to burst back to life and become more attractive, homes appear brighter and those with children can hope to be settled into their new home by the time the new school year comes around in September.
With this in mind, a good de-clutter and clean up could be considered an essential task before putting your property on the market.
Spring cleaning can be a challenge, whether your home is big or small, as it’s about going beyond the usual dusting, vacuuming and cleaning surfaces down. But, if you’re thinking about selling your property, then it’s a must in order for your home to be desirable to those coming through the door for viewings.
It can be useful to create yourself a checklist of all the jobs you’d like to achieve. Don’t expect to get it all done in the space of one weekend either, unless your home is already pretty spotless and organised, because spring cleaning is about pulling everything out, cleaning, sorting and re-organising.
No one could blame you for finding the thought of a spring clean daunting, so create yourself a checklist and allow yourself a month to get through it. Bigger jobs can be done on weekends or days off from work, while smaller jobs can be done during the evenings after work.
Plus, you can find plenty of inspiration online to help get you motivated, from cleaning hacks to printable chore lists! As you see the jobs get ticked off, it’ll give you an amazing feeling of accomplishment and a new appreciation for your property.
You’ll probably have basic cleaning supplies already at home, including all-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, polish, but don’t forget about specialised cleaners such as oven cleaner, wood oil or silver polish. You may also need tools, such as cloths, scourers, mops and paper towels.
If you’re on a budget or prefer to use eco-friendly cleaners, you can find instructions online to make fantastic formulas from pantry staples such as white vinegar, baking soda, and even leftover flat Coke!
Where to start?
We’ve found it helps to tackle things room by room – the divide and conquer technique. Whichever room you decide to start with first, the aim is to de-clutter, clean, then organise. Create ‘keep’, ‘toss’ ‘sell’ and ‘donate’ piles. With each item, ask yourself what this particular thing does for you. If the answer is nothing, then either toss it, sell it or donate it.
Once you have your final pile of keep items, think of a way you can better organise them. For example, if you’re a magazine hoarder, go through each one and file the articles or recipes you’d like to keep, but recycle the rest of the magazine or pass them on to a friend who would enjoy a read of them.
Arrange for back-up
A big spring clean can seem overwhelming, so divvy the jobs out to others in your household. Ask your kids to sort out their bedrooms and create keep, toss, sell and donate piles for their toys and books. Ask your partner to do the same in their home office or the garage and garden shed. You could help incentivise them with the money they could earn from the items they are able to sell when the job’s done. Once these areas have been de-cluttered, you can think about giving these spaces a good clean and start to organise the keep piles into organised boxes, baskets, shelves and cupboards.
Top to bottom
You can get lots done if you literally go from ceiling to floor in each room. Start from the cobwebs on the ceiling and light fixtures and work your way down the walls, windows, window sills to the skirting boards. Dust any artwork on the walls and sanitise the doors and light switches. Once this is done, move on to the furniture, cleaning the inside and the outside of any storage pieces, such as drawers, shelves and wardrobes. Last but not least, finish off each room by cleaning the flooring.
Follow the FIFO rule
Retail shops use a system called FIFO (first in, first out) to rotate products which have an expiry date. Approach your kitchen cupboards and pantry with the same method. Throw out any out-of-date items, then re-organise food items so that the items with the longest date are towards the back, while those items with a shorter life are at the front and used first, before they end up going to waste. Don’t forget to check the fridge for condiments which may have been open too long (and also medicines and make-up elsewhere in the house), throwing out anything which has expired or has been open longer than the time specified on the packaging. This also allows you to see what you have, so you don’t end up buying something you didn’t need, just because you couldn’t find it!
The early bird catches the worm
Set your alarm and start early. If you’re up late, the desire to start a big task will quickly diminish if you think you won’t have time to see it through until the end. Also, don’t leave it too late in the season to start, once that sun starts shining, you’ll want to be outside enjoying it. Get it done while the weather is still cold and dreary, once the better weather arrives you can enjoy it guilt-free knowing that everything inside is just as it should be, and ready to go for those viewings that’ll be coming in on your property.
If you do nothing else
If free-time is not on your side or the task seems too monumental and daunting, that’s ok. Go through your list and cross off any jobs that are non-essential or have been done within the last six to twelve months already. Concentrate on the most high-traffic areas of your home, like the kitchen, lounge, bathrooms and used bedrooms.
Another way to tackle things is to spot clean. For example, instead of cleaning a whole carpet, focus on the stains and high traffic areas. It’s your house, so you decide what works best for the time you have.
Also, if you’ll be marketing your home, make sure the front drive and gardens have been tidied up. They may not be in full bloom yet, but clearing weeds and dead leaves will make a big difference to your kerb appeal, which is so important when selling your home.
Five Spring Cleaning Tips
- Crank the music up! Play your favourite tunes, anything which will get you up and moving and make the process so much more fun.
- Clean in order – Always clean from top to bottom, as this helps keep everything you just cleaned from getting dirty again.
- Get all the gear – make sure you have all the supplies and tools in that you’ll need to get the jobs done. Buying some new bits, such as storage baskets and boxes, may also help motivate you to start the work!
- Protect your skin – don’t forget the rubber gloves, cleaning products can dry your skin out, while harsher products like oven cleaner and bleach can even harm your skin.
- Remember your end goal – concentrate on how good it’ll feel when you’ve achieved your spring clean checklist. Think of the money you can earn from selling unwanted items, think of the money you’ll save when you re-discover clothes and items you forgot you had and think how much more you could achieve on the price of your property when you’re ready to market it!
If you’re thinking of selling, why not try listing this spring? For your free, no obligation valuation, contact your local Arden branch.