SPRING has arrived in all its glory with beautiful sunshine casting away winter gloom.
But take time out from smelling those flowers to have a quick glance around your home.
Are your surfaces covered in paper? Has dust settled into the corners; the laundry door shut because you can't bear to go in there?
Let the change of seasons invigorate you to put that spring clean on the top of your to-do list.
Of course it can be a daunting task - that's probably why we allow everything to pile up in the first place.
Try to tackle one job at a time - it will stop you being overwhelmed and making excuses.
This is often the number one reason for a spring clean. After all, you have to see the surfaces to clean them.
Start small by writing down what you hope to achieve in each space and then organise the tools you need like storage boxes, garbage bags, labels and cleaning equipment.
Get rid of all that old makeup and half-used soaps from the bathroom cupboards.
Forget about keeping things like candles or gift sets for special occasions - start using it or throw it out.
Clear out old medicines and prescriptions and all the old sponges and expired products in the laundry.
Sort clothes into piles of "keep", "donate" and "bin" and be ruthless.
Don't keep things hoping to fit into them again or that they will someday come back in fashion.
Do the same with shoes and accessories.
Pack away your warm clothes in space saver bags and store until next winter. Get rid of the "Donate" and "Bin" piles as soon as possible - the last thing you need is for them to be hanging around in the corner of the room for months.
Are you being attacked by a paper mountain? The key is to reduce incoming paper but also create an easy storage system so it won't become a pile.
Keep a box or basket for bills and receipts and set aside time each week to deal with them and file them away.
Stand over the recycling bin as you open your mail so you can toss away unwanted junk mail and envelopes.
Don't keep newspapers and supplements thinking you'll get round to reading them - you won't. Check appliances
Inspect major appliances for wear and tear. Make sure cords are free from dust and clean behind cupboards.
The coils of the fridge should be vacuumed and drain pan cleaned. Remove the accumulated lint from the dryer and the gunk from your washing machine, dishwasher and oven.
This is a great time to wash windows inside and out, wash curtains and blinds and send drapes to the dry cleaners.
Aluminium blinds can be washed outdoors with a noncorrosive cleaner while a few drops of wood cleaner on a sponge will help get the shine back into the wooden variety.
Deep clean carpets and rugs
You can hire or buy a shampoo/extractor to take the grime out of synthetic carpets.
The machine cleans the fibres and removes all traces of the soap using hot water.
Leave the doors and windows open for air flow. For expensive wool carpets professional attention is often the best.
Beds and bedding
Dust seeps into the mattress even if you have protective covers on.
Treat the mattress to a vacuum, let it air and slip over if it is double-sided.
Check if mattress pads and pillow protectors need to be repaired or replaced.
Splurge on a new duvet cover - it will brighten the room and is like a mini-makeover.
They are certainly not a joy to clean but it is a necessary evil to get ready for warmer weather.
Patios and outdoors
Everyone likes to eat outside in the warmer months so make sure your entertaining space and equipment is equal to the task.
Clean the patio and furniture, perhaps with a high-pressure hose, and check the awning and shade cloths for wear and tear. Tidy up the garden and make sure the barbecue is in tiptop shape.
The garage often becomes the dumping ground for those items you don't want to deal with.
Organise a clean-up day, put aside the things you can sell at a garage sale and use clever storage solutions to organise the rest.
Smoke alarms can only save lives if they are working correctly. Test them and change the batteries.
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