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By Helen Bowman

Decluttering and spring cleaning can be a real boon in the battle against stress, anxiety and feelings of chaos. It also results in a bright and clean home in which to stay safe and enjoy one’s time.

Whether you’re joining in the whole four-week challenge or just dipping in and out, getting stuck into some household chores is good for the soul.

Each week we’ll be breaking down the average home into bite-sized chunks and we encourage you to get brutal with your hoarding. Get rid of items and products that you don’t use on a regular basis. Clear out drawers and thin out cupboards. Your family and your home will feel better for it.

Let’s go.

This week we’ll concentrate on the kitchen and utility areas. They’re used all the time and can get grimy and cluttered if left unchecked.

Declutter

Junk drawers – we all have junk drawers – the home of all the homeless items in the house. Take the time to empty everything out and assess what’s useful and what’s not.

Cutlery drawer – a magnet for crumbs, bits of cheese wrappers and plastic medicine plungers, the cutlery drawer harbours loads of kitchen utensils that might not have seen the light of day for months. Get rid of anything you don’t use.

Pan cupboard – get brutal and turf out any pans, dishes or cooking implements that you don’t use on a regular basis.

Islands – incredible storage, but also an excuse to hoard things we don’t need. Check every cupboard and get rid of the things you don’t use.

Crockery cupboards – be realistic about how many plates, bowls and cups you actually need as a family, then get rid of the rest.

Food storage cupboards – check for out of date foods and get rid of them. Donate the good tins and packets that you’re not going to use and organise your foods, so you know what you’ve got in the cupboard.

Fridge – take everything out and check dates. Throw away out of date food and donate any good food that you’re not going to use. Decluttering in here allows you to see what you have and use it.

Freezer – it’s so easy to stock up your freezer then forget what you have in there. Check dates and get rid of anything that’s been hanging around too long.

Utility cupboards – declutter and organise the cupboards in your utility area. Donate any cleaning products that you don’t use or need and thin out the household items you’ve been storing ‘just in case’.

Deep clean

Cupboard doors and handles 

It’s surprising how easily your cupboard doors get greasy and grimy simply through everyday use of the kitchen. Degrease them and wipe down the door handles to disinfect them.

We recommend:

Elbow Grease cuts through grease with minimal effort. Spray over your cupboard doors and leave to work for 2-3 minutes. Wipe off with a damp microfibre cloth.

Dettol All-in-One Disinfectant Spray kills germs and leaves handles disinfected. Spray directly onto a cloth and wipe the handles down.

Work surfaces 

Remove all appliances and storage items from your work surfaces, collect dust and crumbs with a dry cloth then clean your surfaces with a disinfectant spray.

We recommend:

Stardrops 4-in-1 pine disinfectant if you love a truly clean smell. Spray onto your work surfaces liberally and leave to work for five minutes before working in and rinsing with a damp cloth.

For a slightly gentler scent, Fabulosa Antibac Cleaner comes in a range of gorgeous scents and works to disinfect your surfaces. Again, spray and leave to work for five minutes before rinsing with a damp cloth.

Appliances (kettle/toaster/coffee machine/microwave)

It’s amazing how often we touch the appliances in our kitchen and leave fingerprints, marks and germs behind. Taking a moment to wipe them over will leave them looking like new in no time.

We recommend:

Stardrops white vinegar spray for removing limescale around kettles. Spray some kitchen roll with white vinegar and place around the opening of your kettle or wherever limescale has built up. Leave it for 15 minutes then remove the roll and rinse with a damp cloth.

Pink Stuff the Miracle Multipurpose cleaner spray is great for bringing appliances up like new. Spray onto a damp cloth and wipe over your appliances. Sparkling.

Ozmo Fridge and Microwave cleaner is a great spray to use on your microwave. Spray onto the interior and exterior surfaces of your microwave, leave for three minutes then rinse with a damp cloth. For hard-to-remove marks, try Pink Stuff paste on a Minky M Cloth cleaning pad. Rinse afterwards with a clean, damp cloth.

Oven 

Everyone’s least favourite kitchen appliance to clean, the oven is simple if you keep on top of it. Remove all racks and inner workings before cleaning then get in there with your rubber gloves and give it a good fettle.

We recommend:

Astonish Oven and Grill cleaner which comes with everything you need to rid your oven of baked-on marks.

Pink Stuff paste is also fantastic for inside ovens and oven doors. Rub in with a Scrub Daddy to remove really stubborn marks, then rinse with a damp cloth.

Finish off with a spray of Dettol All in One Disinfectant Spray and a Minky M Cloth, Glass and Window on the outside of your oven door to bring up the shine and kill germs in one.

Fridge/Freezer 

Empty your fridge and freezer (and defrost the freezer if you don’t have a frost-free one) before cleaning. Remove all shelves and trays and wash them in hot soapy water. Dry and replace at the end.

While all the shelves and trays are removed, clean the insides of your fridge and freezer and remove any crumbs and food waste that’s accumulated there.

Don’t forget the seals of the doors – these can collect grime and mould if not regularly checked. Use cotton wool sticks to get into the seals and remove any dirt.

We recommend:

Ozmo Fridge and Microwave cleaner for the inside of your fridge and freezer. Spray onto the interior and exterior surfaces, leave for three minutes then rinse with a damp cloth.

For hard-to-remove marks, try Pink Stuff paste on a Minky M Cloth cleaning pad. Rinse afterwards with a clean, damp cloth.

To eliminate smells and ward them off in future, a Croc Odor is handy to place in the centre of your fridge.

Washing machine / dryer 

Washing machines can harbour nasty smells and grime if not cleaned regularly. There are products that claim to clean the machine, but it’s simple to do without using these.

Remove the detergent drawer from the machine and clean in hot, soapy water. While that’s out, clean the inside of the drawer insert using a cleaning spray.

Once you’ve replaced the drawer, put a cup of bicarbonate of soda into the drum, followed by a cup of white vinegar. Put a cap or two of your favourite scented disinfectant into the detergent drawer and run a wash cycle on 50 degrees. This will clean your washing machine and leave it smelling fresh.

While the cycle is running, clean the outside of your washing machine and dryer using a disinfectant spray and clean, soft cloth. Also, remove fluff and lint build up from your dryer (this should be done after each use of the dryer to prevent the risk of fire).

We recommend:

Flash Natural French Soap Spray to clean the inside of your drawer area – it smells divine! Use a toothbrush to get into the nooks and crannies.

Cleaning grade Bicarbonate of Soda reacts with White Vinegar to create a cleaning, freshening action to leave your washing machine gleaming.

Zoflora comes in a huge range of gorgeous smells and helps to disinfect as it cleans. Use neat in the detergent drawer, then dilute some to clean the outside of your machines, with a soft cloth.

Next week we’re moving on to the living areas of your home.

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