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The art of decluttering part 4: High traffic areas

This week we’ll concentrate on the high traffic areas such as your porch, entrance hall, landing and stairs. The areas that everyone travels through on a regular basis.

By Helen Bowman

Wow, we’ve made it to week 4. If you’ve been joining in with this decluttering challenge, how has it gone so far? Is your home spotless and organised? If you’re only just catching up, don’t worry, there are four weeks’ worth of decluttering and spring-cleaning articles to catch up on – good luck!

This week, as with the previous three, we’re looking at a specific area or areas in your home to declutter and give a good old-fashioned clean too as well.

Let’s go.

This week we’ll concentrate on the high traffic areas such as your porch, entrance hall, landing and stairs. The areas that everyone travels through on a regular basis. People might not linger in these areas but it’s surprising how much clutter and muck builds up just as you and your family walk through them.

Declutter

Shoe cupboards – Constant putting in and taking out of boots, shoes and trainers will leave your shoe storage dusty, grimy and covered in dried up mud and grass. Give it a good sort out – get rid of shoes that are old, broken or no longer fit (a constant job if you have small children) and make room for organised storage of the shoes you and your family use on a regular basis.

Coat storage – It’s coming up to the time of year when (hopefully) we don’t need as many coats out. Thin out the collection. Put winter coats away in wardrobes and only have the coats, hoodies and raincoats you might need for the spring/summer season.

Under stair storage cupboards – It’s all too tempting to use our under stairs storage as a ‘Monica’ cupboard (for non-Friends fans, a cupboard in which to store all the stuff you ‘need’ but which doesn’t have a home elsewhere). Tackle it wisely and get rid of any household items that are broken/out of date/no longer useful.

Airing cupboards – As most of us don’t have a hot water tank in a cupboard on the landing anymore, these cupboards tend to end up housing more ‘Monica’ cupboard fodder. Be brave and take the leap to throw out all the crispy old towels and face cloths, thin out the bedding collection and decimate the toiletries store.

Deep clean

Coat and shoe storage

Empty the storage as a starting point then get into all the nooks and crannies with the crevice tool on your hoover. Once you’ve removed all the loose debris, tackle any marks and scuffs with cream cleaner and a soft cloth. For more general cleaning, try a fresh-smelling disinfectant spray.

We recommend:

Cif cream cleaner and a Scrub Mommy for stubborn marks and scuffs and one of the Fabulosa disinfectant spray with a clean microfibre cloth.

Mats, rugs and carpets

Tackle floor furniture with the hoover as regularly as possible. For marks and stains, use a spot cleaner then spray them with a carpet freshener.

We recommend:

Dr Beckmann’s carpet stain remover for stubborn spot cleaning. Hoover rugs and carpets thoroughly and spray with 1001 carpet fresh to leave them smelling gorgeous with no need to hoover afterwards.

Small rugs and mats which can be washed in the washing machine might benefit from a quick cycle to freshen them up.

Hard flooring 

Hoover or sweep hard flooring before mopping with a disinfectant.

We recommend:

Dr Beckmann’s Carpet Stain Remover for spot cleaning your rugs and carpets.

1001 Carpet Fresh leaves your carpets and rugs smelling gorgeous after a good hoovering.

For hard floors, the Flash Powermop is great for cleaning and disinfecting.

Bannisters 

Hoover and dust the stairs and bannister areas to get rid of any dust and hairs that might collect there. Bannisters, in particular, see a lot of hand traffic on a daily basis, so regular disinfection is important.

We recommend:

Diluted Zoflora (scent of your choice) on a microfibre cloth to clean and disinfect your bannisters.

Door frames and doors 

Doors and their surrounds can collect a great deal of dust and dirt over time. Grab the hose of the hoover and give every door frame a good clean, paying particular attention to the top of the door frame. Likewise, any indentations in your door can easily attract dust to settle.

Once hoovered, wipe over with a damp cloth to get rid of any remaining dust.

We recommend:

Pledge Fluffy Duster is an ideal tool for removing small amounts of dust from doors and frames. Once dusted, use diluted Zoflora with a microfibre cloth to clean the woodwork. Stubborn marks and scuffs should be tackled with The Pink Stuff Cream Cleaner – apply with a damp cloth and wipe clean.

Skirting boards

Often neglected in the cleaning process, most skirting boards trap dirt and dust. Hoover them with the crevice tool before wiping them over with a damp cloth. More stubborn marks and scuffs might need more attention.

We recommend:

Elbow Grease cream cleaner for marks and scuffs.

Windows and windowsills 

Dust traps and fingerprint hoarders, windows and windowsills need regular attention to avoid them looking grubby.

We recommend:

Astonish window and glass cleaner spray with a Minky M cloth glass and window is a dream team for windows and mirrors.

Try Flash Natural French Soap spray to clean windowsills.

Light shades and light fittings 

So easy to forget about, light shades and light fittings collect dust and dirt if left uncleaned.

We recommend:

A degreasing spray such as Elbow Grease is ideal to cut through thick grime. Always spray your cloth rather than the light fitting to avoid the danger of electrocution.

Lenor tumble dryer sheets are perfect for dusting light shades and lightly dusty light fittings – strange but true!

Other areas of the home to declutter

Mail piles – it’s so easy to end up with a mail pile (very often on the bottom of the stairs) that we mean to file away on a regular basis, but it never quite happens. Tackle it now. File the important stuff and shred and recycle the stuff you don’t need.

Handbags, purses and wallets – these can easily get cluttered with old bank cards, shopping lists and old receipts. Give yours a clear-out and only carry around the cards and items you really need.

Garage – often a haven for storage overspill, a garage can easily become cluttered with old bikes, old tools, board games, gardening equipment and old furniture. Have a good clear out and see how much more room you can create.

Car – get underneath your car seat and clear out the door pockets of your car. It’s amazing what gets left behind in a car after even the shortest of journeys, especially if you’re transporting young children about.

And that’s it. We’re done.

Thanks for joining us on the High Life North decluttering challenge – we hope you’ve enjoyed it.

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