Winter is nearly over and done with. It’s time to crawl out of the hibernation zone and get your home shipshape and shiny again.
But before you start spring cleaning, there are some common errors we just keep making - and most of us have no idea. Read our checklist and you'll be sure to avoid these common pitfalls.
be careful where you store your household items
It’s great to rethink your storage on a big spring clean project. And the best way to start is by making sure your existing storage isn’t actually doing more harm than good. For instance, there’s a minefield of mistakes you might be making.
Did you know that medicine shouldn’t be kept in the bathroom? Apparently the shower steam and bright lighting could be causing damage, making the medication less potent. And toothbrushes shouldn't be kept in a cabinet - the little germs on your brush love a warm environment so it's best to air dry your brushes.
But perhaps the most useful thing to know is that wine shouldn't be kept in the kitchen! There are too many temperature changes in the kitchen and it's best to keep the bottles out of direct sunlight. The cupboard underneath the stairs would be ideal.
Find out more with our 7 storage mistakes you don’t know you’re making.
DON’T start cleaning without the right equipment
Calm down eager beavers, we know you’re raring to get scrubbing, but before you start your big spring clean make sure you have all the essentials.
Debra Johnson, training manager for Merry Maids (a national residential cleaning company) suggests stocking up on four must-haves: "Steam, extension wand, a vacuum with attachments and microfibre cloths. Whilst other cloths push dust around, microfibre grabs and removes dust."
DON’T forget to separate seasonal storage
A spring clean is your ideal chance to pack away bulky winter clothing, bedding and shoes. Don’t waste valuable space with items you won’t be using for the next six months. Invest in some storage boxes and you'll be feeling feng shui in no time.
Make use of unused space by installing high shelves and keeping your off-season clobber in attractive baskets and boxes. These are great for giving your room a pop of colour or adding a sense of cosiness. And if you want a total hideaway, don’t forget to make every centimetre of under you bed count with vacuum bags and slim storage boxes.
Don’t add in mothballs to your winter warmers – they smell odd and aren’t great for material. Experts recommend cedar, lavender sachets and even lemon peel rinds.
DON'T keep unneeded paperwork
Do the ‘two F’s’ test: If you can’t file it (bills, bank statements) or frame it (art work) – BIN IT.
To get started on the mammoth task of decluttering your home of paperwork you need to start by bringing it all into one place. You should keep the last 12 month’s worth of bills, statements and accounts. And the most recent insurance contracts, but anything older can normally be shredded. The exception is tax as you need to keep the last five years in case of an audit.
File away anything you are keeping in an easy to access place. You can get an attractive file folder or a filing cabinet. Anything that still needs action, keep out in plain sight. A note board in the kitchen or study is a great way to get organised.
DON'T accidently throw away valuables
We applaud you for finally getting around to decluttering and freeing your house and mind from all that junk. But make sure you don’t get too carried away with this feeling of new found freedom and accidentally giving your bin a relic that’s actually worth a mint.
Rebecca Titcombe, auction manager of Brompton’s Auction house advises: “Antiques are a better investment in the long term than anything brand new. Fashions change on a regular basis, so you may have to play a waiting game with what you have as it depends on what is on trend at that time.
"For example, a painting is very subjective and not everyone will like the subject matter. 19th Century furniture used to make a fortune, but these days people seem to like modern 1960’s style. Currently jewellery is a good investment, whilst ceramics are a bit out of favour.
"Most auctioneers offer free evaluation services, so find out what your item is worth before discarding”.
DON’T forget your windows
You’ve made the rest of your home look fit for Her Royal Highness. But as your guests settle back into the sofa on their arrival, all they’ll notice is your filthy windows.
It’s amazing what some gleaming, streak-free panes can do for a satisfying spring clean. And there really is an art to getting it right. Or wrong. For instance, did you know that you should never start a window cleaning project if it’s sunny? Direct sunlight will mean your soapy water and cleaning sprays dry too quickly and will leave serious streaks.