The Procrastinator’s Guide to Spring Cleaning

In pre-internet days (remember those??) we used to have to peep sneakily through windows or monitor her-next-door’s washing line or front step-mopping technique to stir up our certainty that other peoples’ homes are far cleaner and more organised than ours.

Nowadays we have instant access, 24/7, to quite literally millions of images of digitised cleanliness to invoke deep feelings of Spring Clean Envy. Limitless streams of Before and After photos queue up to mock our own inertia and those of us with that perpetual itchy bug to organise and clean our homes can spend countless hours online, observing, wishing, lamenting….

The recent explosion of dedicated spring-cleaning websites (yes men, there are such things..) have such inspiring images of refreshing spring sunshine breezing through immaculately white-glossed homes… it’s hard to resist the fuelling of our wanton lust for order, shine and sparkle.

The problem is, it looks and feels like mid-Winter here and as I glance up at the dull, grey, lifeless-ness of my surroundings I slump back into my motivation-less malaise.

Pinterest-inspired giddiness is all well and good but seriously, I just spent an entire evening Pinning gorgeous clean rooms that don’t belong to me. I felt strangely good I will admit, but of course MY home remained unchanged. HOW do we actually get motivated?

HOW do you activate that elusive, magical officially-in-the-mood-to-blitz-this-place-so-brace-yourselves!’ mindset?

And there it is. It’s a mindset. So we need to distract our minds from the energy-sapping reality of sucky weather and set our neurones on a new path to enlightenment.

So If you’re peering out of the window and it looks like someone drained the sunshine from the sky and the only ‘mopping up’ you want to do is to drain another mug of coffee let’s see if we can get that mojo flowing shall we?

1. Get yourself on to http://www.cozi.com for some inspiration and lists upon lists of pragmatic ideas (just beware the jealousy-inducing photos of those breezy rooms mentioned above).

2. Treat yourself to a home/style/living magazine and huddle up with it and that mug of coffee whilst you daydream and create a vision of loveliness that shall become your home – well, you’ve got to get a vision before you can create! If you’re feeling really crafty – rip out some pages & create a mood board of ideas.

3. Watch some of the trashy but fun ‘de-junk your home’ programmes on tv (an hour is plenty mind, let’s not turn into slobs here). Watch the American garage sales and wonder why the UK hasn’t caught on yet (oh, yeah – the weather..) and especially catch one of these ‘How Clean Is Your House’ shows where the extremes of other peoples’ supreme manky-ness will do wonders for your sense of ‘our house isn’t soooo bad afterall’ confidence.

4. Buy a cheapo diary on http://www.ebay.co.uk (I got a belter for 99p incl p+p because it’s nearly June!) and start planning in some chores, cough, I mean ‘home blessings’. If you’re dead keen and swotty, like me, you can organise list of chores into ‘daily maintenance’, ‘weekly tasks’, ‘monthly projects’ and ‘I’ll get to you when all else is done’. Go wild and colour code your lists and before you know it – you’re looking at a goregous array of planning that will transform your home from trashy to treasured!

5. Zone your Home. Yes. You need to decide upon your key danger zones – usually kitchens and hallways in the average family home. If you’re tired of tripping over school bags or finding kids toys on the kitchen worktops – you need to Zone your Home and ensure that everything has a zone it belongs to and does not stray from. Coats get hung, shoes put in the shoe rack, keys placed in the bowl, handbags and schoolbags given their own peg. Planning some smart storage, de-cluttering cupboards to make space for things and a patient approach to training your family to make use of them is the way forward!

6. The golden key is to plan one zone at a time or you’ll get overwhelmed. Or else you might end up with the entire house in disarray and then run out of time/supplies/energy and give up!

7. Okay. Here’s the hard bit. Ready? You’ve got your vision. You’ve got your strategy all zoned up. You’ve armed yourself with lots of hints, tips and bright ideas. You’ve bought the dettol and revved up the vacuum cleaner. Now, after all that planning and effort – you need a good sit down with a cuppa whilst you work out who’s gonna do all these jobs.

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