Once the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season comes to an end, families across the country will be eager to get their deep cleaning underway and their homes back to some sense of normality ahead of the New Year.
A study has shown that 72% of adults sleep better in a clean house, while 80% of participants agreed that they feel more relaxed in clean and tidy surroundings. So, how can you best prepare your home for a deep clean?
To help Brits get their house into shape following the Christmas season, Josh Clarke, manager at London waste collection company Clear it Waste, shared his top tips for cleaning your home effectively.
1. Natural remedies for the home
Whether you’re trying to be more eco-conscious or simply trying to save a little cash, there are plenty of natural ways to clean your home. A study found that a weekly average of £2.70 was spent on cleaning products in 2022, and to save yourself the pennies, some of the natural remedies are as effective as some of the pricier brand-name products available to purchase. The best thing about taking this route is that you’re likely to find many of the ingredients needed lying around the house.
A great, non-toxic ingredient to use as a cleaner is bicarbonate soda. This common kitchen ingredient is a brilliant all-rounder, known for its cleaning and deodorising capabilities, as well as its power to remove stains and soften fabric.
Another common kitchen staple, vinegar, is also excellent at cutting through grease and mildew buildup and has great water-softening properties. Again, it’s non-toxic, so it is perfect to introduce to your cleaning routine, especially if you’re looking for products that are kind to the environment and safe to use around pets and children. .
Finally, cornflour. While you may know this product for its excellent gravy-thickening abilities, it can also be used to clean windows and soft furnishings, as well as absorb spilled oil and grease.
Two simple ways to have your home smell fresh are through the use of natural ingredients, such as herbs and essential oils that both have disinfectant properties, or fresh lemons. For those looking for less harsh chemicals around the home, the citrus fruit offers the perfect alternative to bleach while still ensuring the home smells sweet.
2. Schedule your time and plan ahead
For many, cleaning can be quite a tedious task and, therefore, something people will try to avoid for as long as possible. Luckily, there are a variety of things you could do to help take the pressure off your spring cleaning schedule this New Year.
Firstly, creating a to-do list and marking your progress by ticking things off can seem like a tiny, unnecessary step, but once you start to cross things off your list, it’ll help you feel a sense of achievement as you progress through your cleanse. Doing so will also help you understand the magnitude of each task, which will allow you to designate and utilise your time more efficiently.
Another important pre-cleaning step is to decide on a room or areas to tackle in a single day. Attempting too much in one day will naturally lead you to feel bored and lose focus. Instead, dedicating your time and effort to fewer tasks throughout the day can help make the tasks ahead seem much more manageable.
3. Cleaning goals for the New Year
It’s likely that the essential cleaning products and tools will already be in the home, so there’s no need to splash out after a long month of gift-giving. Just like with resolutions, it’s important to create plans and goals for the year ahead by setting standards and establishing boundaries that you are able to commit to.
Try creating a set of goals for each room of the house to lessen the pressure and ensure a deep clean has been prioritised in every corner and crack.
Kamalyn Kaur, a psychotherapist, commented on creating realistic goals for the new year:
“The Christmas period can be very chaotic, stressful, and eventful. There is often not much structure or routine during those days as everyone is in holiday mode, all of which is great for the short term. However, in the long run, this type of routine is not sustainable, nor is it very productive. When setting goals, always ensure that your goals are realistic and attainable. So many people set unrealistic goals, which means that by the third week of January, they have already given up on them.
“Remember, the new year has 12 months, not one. So, all your new goals don’t have to start in January. If you are lacking motivation at the start of the year or experiencing post-Christmas fatigue, then you still have the option of 11 other months in which you can start pursuing your goals.”
4. Declutter the chaos
It’s reported that over 90% of people in the UK have clutter in their homes, mostly kept in the loft, cupboards, and drawers. After the Christmas season, the perfect time to get rid of those unwanted items, waste, and anything else that takes up space is in January.
One of the first things households will be throwing out this New Year is their Christmas tree. Reports suggest that the UK dumps an estimated 160,000 metric tonnes of real trees each January. Instead, plant it in a container to reuse for the following year. Doing so will eliminate any stress the plant may feel from being dug up again and give you a constant, healthy, home-grown Christmas tree.
While decluttering, it is important to prioritise recycling throughout the home, especially as around 114,000 metric tonnes of plastic packaging will be sent to landfills instead of being recycled in the UK, according to reports. Using a separate bin can help you differentiate between general waste and recycling. Using this idea for each room can be a great way to save time while saving the planet.
Kamalyn Kaur, a psychotherapist, continued to comment on the impact of a cluttered home:
“A cluttered or untidy environment can make you feel chaotic, overwhelmed, confused, and many other negative emotions; all these feelings have the potential to lead to an individual feeling stressed and anxious. A cluttered environment adds to the “busyness” in your head.
“Having a tidy and uncluttered environment will help you feel organised, clearer, and more in control. It will improve your productivity and focus and allow a sense of accomplishment after a busy Christmas period.”
5. The forgotten jobs
According to studies, the average person deep cleans their home five times a month, but even then, certain areas or items are forgotten, such as the top of the kitchen cupboards, drains, and curtains.
It’s therefore advisable to start with the tasks that are higher up in your home and that often lack attention and care. Once complete, move onto surfaces and items that are average height, and lastly, clean the floor. This is so that any dust, dirt, or grime doesn’t ruin any spots that were previously cleaned.