How to give your home a proper summer sort out
One of the fun things about summer is all the stuff we bring out under blue skies and sunshine.
From garden furniture to picnicware, warmer months signal a host of homewares – which need to be addressed as we look ahead to September.
“At the end of the summer, I like to start thinking about getting organised for cooler months,” says Lynsey Crombie aka The Queen of Clean, TV cleaning expert and bestselling author.
“We will be spending more time indoors, so need to have as much space as possible with organised rooms and cupboards.”
When we move from season to season with a plan, she says it gives us a clearer mind – and helps keep you on top of everything.
“It’s not just a ‘yearly spring clean’ we need to focus on, but a deep clean and declutter after every season,” suggests Crombie. “Enlisting the help of other household members too.”
With tips and tricks to make it as streamlined as possible, with minimum effort, Crombie outlines your end of summer sort out…
If your children have been at home and not playing with specific toys, this is a sign it’s time for these ones to go, says Crombie.
“Sell on local Facebook pages or donate to charity shops.
“Don’t just stop at toys though, go through your home and assess what you haven’t been using, no longer need and get rid.
“If your kitchen utensil drawer is bulging at the brim and you tend to just use a few tools, be ruthless and take out what you’re no longer needing – you will appreciate the space.”
Free up the fridge
Go through food cupboards, fridge, and freezer…
Chances are you’ve bought in specific foods for the summer but no one has fancied them, suggests Crombie, and these can be donated to the local food bank.
“Deep clean the fridge and freezer, a high traffic area in the kitchen you will probably find is quite messy… sauce spillages, mouldy vegetables etc.”
She says to clean out using a solution of warm soapy water and white vinegar, and then add in a small egg cup size dish of bicarbonate of soda to help soak up any nasty food odours.
Sticky leaked ice lollies may be present in your freezer, so clean these up and remove any boxes so there are only one or two left, she adds.
Sort and label stuff
“One of my favourite tips for creating an organised space is to use labels!” she enthuses.
“Being organised by designating and labelling a home for everything will also show you just how much stuff you have,” says Crombie. “And how much you could probably get rid of.
“I encourage you to take a little time to group together and find a home for all your stuff in the house – and then label those homes.”
She continues: “I use labels in kitchen cupboards, bathroom cupboards, in the shed and garage.”
She also says labelling is the key to long-term, sustainable organisation, and enables you to quickly and easily identify categories, to figure out where things are supposed to end up.
“It makes it easier to put away items, and helps keep the rest of the family organised too – ensuring things are put away in the correct place,” she notes.
And while there are lots of stylish options for making labels, she suggests going super-simple (but effective) and writing your own on a piece of paper and taping them on. “You don’t need to buy a pricey label maker.”
Rearrange and refresh
Sort through throws you may have been using to protect sofas from sticky fingers over the summer holidays, and wash along with any removable cushion covers, says Crombie.
Store away freshly washed throws in vacuum storage bags so they keep nice and clean.
To give your room a fresher feel, she says to switch out summer brights for more autumnal tones – a great way to lift your room – along with candles and room diffusers with woody, warm scents.
Prep for back to school
Before the kids go back to school, declutter their school uniform, says Crombie. If it no longer fits, and it’s in good condition, then donate to the school seconds shop. If it’s worn and shabby, donate as recycled materials, and don’t forget to check the PE kit and shoes too.
“Wash backpacks, PE bags and fabric style lunch boxes in your washing machine at a lower temperature – these do wash well and save you having to buy news ones,” says Crombie.
If the backpack has any pen marks due to leaky pens, she says to treat them with a stain remover before popping in the wash, and air dry on the washing line.
“Thankfully some school blazers are machine washable which is fantastic, and means you can freshen up with ease,” says Crombie. “If dry clean only, schedule a day to take to the dry cleaner.
“Or another method you can try is to steam clean them and hang outside to air,” she continues. “This will break down and remove any horrible odours.
Set aside space in the wardrobe specifically for their school uniform, suggests Crombie, so it’s all together for when your child goes back.
“For younger children, group clothes together and mark the hanger with the days of the week to help speed up their mornings.”
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