Time for a spring clean?
By Vayle Hammond
Spring sunshine is finally here and with it comes the sometimes dreaded and sometimes eagerly anticipated annual spring clean! It’s a time to shake off the figurative and literal cobwebs, declutter, and give your home a once-over from top to bottom. And while spring and cleaning may have become synonymous in your household, its origins run deep – it’s a biologically and culturally driven ritual that dates back many years. Here, we look at where it all began, how it differs from your regular cleaning routine and how to get started with getting your home in shape this spring.
The origins of spring cleaning
At a biological level, darkness promotes our bodies to produce more sleep-inducing hormones (melatonin), which is why it’s completely normal to feel like hibernating all winter. As we move towards the lighter and brighter months, our melatonin levels drop, and our body’s energy levels naturally increase. We shake off the winter blues and begin to feel livelier and more productive – all this leads to a natural zest for whipping our homes into shape.
From a cultural perspective, Iranian, Jewish, and Chinese cultures all associate the practice of cleaning your home from top to bottom with important rituals. For Iranians, this is linked to Nowruz (the Iranian New Year) – where every home surface is scoured in preparation for the first day of spring. Similarly, in the Jewish culture, Passover (Pesach) incorporates thoroughly cleaning your home and the Chinese prepare for their New Year by washing and sweeping away any ‘bad luck’ that has accumulated in their homes over the year.
Spring cleaning vs routine cleaning
We all clean our homes regularly, right? So, what makes spring cleaning any different? Unless you belong to the immaculate, detail-oriented few, it’s unlikely you move furniture every time you vacuum, regularly wash your rugs and curtains, reorganise and declutter your wardrobe religiously and dust every surface daily. That’s what makes spring cleaning so different. Sure, it’s time-consuming, but it’s an opportunity to give your home a thorough, much-needed once-over so that your in-between cleans are sufficient.
Now that you’ve got the history sorted and a good understanding of what’s involved, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty details of how to get your home market ready with a thorough spring clean.
Here’s where to place the focus…
Kitchens are the heart of the home and really do sell houses, so you’ll want yours looking spick and span. And while potential buyers might not be giving your surfaces the white-gloved dust check, clean surfaces will impact their overall impression. Pay particular attention to these areas:
- Shining stainless – give stainless steel surfaces and appliances a thorough clean to get them shining.
- Do the refrigerator shuffle – pull out and clean underneath and around the refrigerator. You’ll be surprised at the number of crumbs and long-lost items that have accumulated there.
- The dreaded oven clean – put on those gloves and give the oven a good scrub. While it’s not a pleasant job, it gets noticed – particularly the oven door.
- Glowing grout – refresh tired, discoloured grout with specialised cleaners or a baking soda solution.
- Declutter your cupboards and benchtops – this will make life easier when you come to move and give your kitchen a sleek, organised appearance for potential buyers.
- Don’t forget the kitchen sink – sanitise and clean this thoroughly until it looks like something out of a show kitchen.
Beautify your bathroom
Bathrooms are second only to the kitchen in importance to potential buyers but are typically the most hated room to clean and declutter. Pay special attention to:
- The shower – limescale encrusted shower fittings and water marks on shower doors are real turn-offs, so give your shower a shower and leave it sparkling.
- Storage solutions – storage space is king, so declutter your unused age-defying products and foot scrubs and watch the clear space unfold.
- Polish to perfection – polish tiles, window fixtures and tapware to freshen up the space.
The great outdoors
Don’t neglect your outdoor space when whipping your home into shape. A little attention can make the space feel bigger, well maintained and more appealing to potential buyers. Here’s how:
- Waterblast it – pavers aren’t supposed to blend in with the greenery, so give yours a thorough blast to breathe new life into them. Outdoor furniture can often do with a wash too.
- Prune and trim – welcome the spring sun by giving any tall trees or shrubs a bit of a haircut.
- Get the windows sparkling – barely there looking windows connect the indoors and out and create the illusion of a more spacious interior.
- Remove unloved garden items – it’s time for those old gnomes to find a new home, that broken outdoor chair to be binned, and the stray trellis to move on to a new resting place.
Cleaning gets detailed
It’s time to tackle all the surfaces and little jobs that get neglected during your regular weekly clean:
- Curtain and blind care – dust off the winter cobwebs and let the spring sun pour into your home. Remove and wash curtains, vacuum or dust the blinds and fix any cords or attachments that need some care.
- Wash the walls and ceiling – aside from a fresh lick of paint, giving your walls and ceiling a good wash with sugar soap and warm water is a simple trick to brighten your home. By removing grease, fly spots and dirt build-up, your paint job will look crisp and refreshed.
- Disinfect high-touch surfaces – things like doorknobs, cabinet handles, and light switches can be breeding grounds for germs – particularly during high traffic open homes. Keep yours sanitised and safe with a spray of disinfectant or a disposable wipe.
Declutter all over
Spring cleaning is not only about freeing your home of dust, dirt, and germs but also about making it a more pleasant place to live (for you and prospective buyers). Decluttering reduces stress and anxiety by creating space both physically and within your mind.
To get in the decluttering zone, follow these 6 tips:
- Set aside enough time – it’s not a 5-minute job, so ensure you’ve set aside a good couple of hours to get started on one area.
- Take everything out – yes, empty the entire pantry or the entire wardrobe. It’s the best way to ensure you’re mindfully putting things back in.
- Ditch double-ups – while it’s sometimes necessary or nice to have spares, consider if you really need two of the exact same things. If not, donate it.
- Everything in its place – make sure everything has a home. If not, look to new storage solutions to take care of this.
- Use the 3-pile approach – once you’ve got everything out of the space you’re decluttering, create 3 distinct piles – donate, rubbish, and keep. This helps you maintain clarity as you go through the process.
Spring cleaned? Now it’s time to style!
Once your home is cleaned to perfection and clear of clutter, it’s time for the fun part – injecting some fresh style into your home. Embrace seasonal trends, try some DIY styling tips, or call in expert home stagers if you’re preparing your home for sale – just be sure to give your local First National Real Estate office a call for market appraisal first!