Expert spring cleaning hacks to save you time

Wouldn’t it be great if the spring clean took less time? We asked experts to share their best time-saving tips and hacks for the perfect spring clean.

If the thought of spring cleaning yet again leaves you weary, then we’re with you. It’s maddening to just keep doing the same thing ever year, so we asked a number of experts to provide us with their top tips for being prepared for the spring clean.

While none of them had true ‘secrets’ that can shave days off the task of sorting out an entire home, there were some themes that quickly emerged that could have a transformative effect on your household’s cleaning process, giving you more time to spend on the things you love.

expert spring cleaning hacksCredit: Shutterstock/Frannyanne
Spring cleaning can be easy with these expert tips

These included decluttering in advance, learning how to identify those items that have true emotional value and treating the cleaning task with more respect to enable a more positive mindset – and the experts all gave us some clever ideas on how you can start using these instantly.


1. Don’t start something you can’t finish

Book in some time to clean

Simply starting and then needing to break off is not productive, advises the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers (APDO)’s Volunteers Director, Marie Bateson.

Bateson is also founder of Cut the Clutter, a professional decluttering and organisation service, and says it’s important to use the skills you’ve learned at work in the home. “Book some time with yourself to complete the job. Treat it like a piece of work.”

“Having a well-executed plan is clearly key,” agrees Laura Pearson, founder of Intentional with Laura, a life coach who helps clients intentionally declutter their homes, minds and lifestyles.

Studies also show that by having a clear plan when you start, you’re far more likely to succeed – and are less likely to give up halfway through.

2. Only keep the things you really love

Ditch the stuff that has no place in your life now

But what if your home is filled with years of memories in the form of trinkets, photos, gifts and souvenirs? Disposing of them might feel disrespectful. Pearson explains why we sometimes struggle to let go.

“Most of us having limiting beliefs that hold us back from letting go of our things. Holding onto stuff can often be linked to things like money mindset, fear of scarcity and worries about ‘not having enough’.

“Ask yourself when was the last time that you truly used the things in your home and be honest with yourself about how much value they add to your life. This will help you to let go.

“Ensure you complete the process by making sure you know where your decluttered items are going to go and remove them from the home as soon as possible. Bag them up – and don’t second guess yourself by revisiting your old decisions.”

hands holding beads next to photos on tableCredit: Shutterstock/Kittyfly
Work out what sparks joy and then get rid of everything else

Kate Ibbotson, founder of A Tidy Mind, a home organisation, decluttering and lifestyle coaching service, agrees.

“Don’t over attach. Remember that memories aren’t in ‘things’, they are inside us. Of course, it is important to keep possessions which remind you of a loved one or a particular experience, but how many do you need?

“Taking a photo can help you hold on to the special memories or meanings attached to objects without taking up much space at all. You’d be surprised at how much satisfaction you can get from a two-dimensional reproduction.”

How to recognise which items really ‘spark joy’

“Make positive decisions about what to keep rather than look for things to discard – ask yourself if it sparks joy?”says Sue Spencer, Master KonMari consultant and founder of decluttering and home organising service, A Life More Organised.

“People think decluttering is about stark minimalism, but it’s subtler and warmer than that. It’s about choosing to keep things that you love, rather than just looking for things to get rid of.”

“Pick items up, one at a time, to see how they feel as you hold them,” suggests Spencer. “You’ll find you have items that you immediately know you love – there’s often a visual clue as eyes light up, you smile or get a warm fuzzy feeling.

“It may be that the item makes you feel or look fantastic, it may be a favourite ornament or just be something comforting like a pair of joggers or favourite mug.”

As you go through each item, really think about why you love it. What is it that works for you? It is a super large saucepan that makes one pot meals easier? Or perhaps it’s a pair of trousers that just make you feel brilliant! This is particular useful if you’re stuck between a couple of duplicate items.

Decluttering can be overwhelming and you can get tired easily. If you’re not immediately feeling joy from something but really don’t want to throw it away, pop it into a unsure pile.

“Revisit your unsure pile when you’ve finished everything else,” advises Spencer. “Most people find the process of focusing on the things they love makes it easier to make decisions about the things they’re not sure about by the end.”

3. Declutter by category

Ditch the room-to-room approach

Another key technique in the KonMari method is to declutter by category rather than by room. For example, clothes, books, paperwork, komono (miscellaneous items including toiletries, toys, kitchenware, and stationery) and sentimental pieces, rather than the typical room by room approach to decluttering.

Spencer explains how gathering all the items from a category together in one place enables you to see exactly what you own and easily identify any duplication – giving you the power to create a home that’s much easier to clean going forward.

This really helps you to make confident decisions about what to keep and discard and you may be surprised just how many of the same items you own.

woman sorting clothes in recycling boxCredit: Shutterstock/Gladskika Tatiana
Start off by decluttering your clothes first as this is often the easiest thing to do

The KonMari method also advocates decluttering in the right order. Start with the easiest category, (clothing), then move on to books, papers, komono and leave the hardest category – sentimental items – to the end.

Otherwise, there’s a big chance that you’ll spend a whole afternoon looking at photos and won’t make much progress – remember, the goal is to get things done quickly so you can spend time on the things you truly love.

4. Keep your tools clean and start from the ceilings

There’s a right way to clean

When the decluttering is done, it’s time for the clean. Henry Patterson from Housekeep, a London based cleaning agency, shares the key focus areas he gives to his staff.

“Thoroughly wash your mop and bucket and empty your vacuum cleaner before you do the floors,” he told us.

“And make sure to remove any hair or other debris that’s stuck in the roller of your vacuum.”

Whilst it’s easy to assume cleaning equipment is always clean, the reality is that germs and bacteria can live on or inside equipment. Using unhygienic tools to clean will just spread more dirt, so always make sure you start with equipment that’s been properly cleaned.  Yes, and that means you do really need to clean your vacuum cleaner!

Woman holding a vacuum cleaner to illustrate how to clean a vacuum cleanerCredit: Shark

“Also, clean from top to bottom in each room,” Patterson added, “wiping the highest surfaces first and working down to ground level. This means you don’t have to reclean surfaces because you’ve wiped dust and dirt onto them.

“You should do this every time you clean, but it’s even more important during a spring clean as you’re likely to be dislodging more dust than usual.”

5. Sort, schedule and sanitise

Futureproof your cleaning

In summary, from speaking to the cleaning experts it seems there are three key recommendations that will make this year’s spring clean and all future cleans that little bit easier.

  1. Sort: Before you even bring out your broom, find the time to sort out each room and its contents. It’ll reduce the number of items you need to clean in the future and create a home filled with items you love.
  2. Schedule: Treat cleaning as you would a job. Block out your diary to give the task the attention it deserves.
  3. Sanitise: Starting with clean equipment will make the job worth doing and have the added benefit of keeping your home cleaner for longer.
Sarah Harley

Written by Sarah Harley she/her


Since first picking up a paintbrush and experiencing the joy of re-decorating her bedroom in a questionable red, white and grey scheme as a young teenager, Sarah Harley was hooked on the world of interior design. This obsession even led to a real life ‘Grand Designs’ project in 2005 when she donned a pink hard hat and appeared on TV screens, project managing the renovation and extension of a Grade II listed 17th century Folly in South Wales.

Throughout her career, Sarah has gained an array of experience in several different roles, ranging from copywriting, PR, events management and photography to interior design and home staging. With her two passions being the written word and the joys of a beautifully designed home, Sarah’s mission is to open the door on the world of interiors, inviting readers in to help them work their way through the vast choice of products, ideas and trends so that their own homes can reach their full potential.

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