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Most of us are spending more time than ever at home right now, and that can be a little challenging at times, but the good news is that temperatures are rising, the rain is easing off and summer is on its way. Now is as good a time as any to start preparing your home for the new season, particularly if you’re trying to keep kids busy and boredom at bay. With that in mind, we’ve put together six easy ways you and your family can make sure your home is in tip top condition for the warmer, sunnier days ahead.
Work on the windows
All that winter rain does have one silver lining: it hides the dirt on our windows. Now, though, the beautiful spring light is showing up the marks left by children’s sticky little hands, a pet’s wet nose or even the occasional deposit from a flying friend. Cleaning all the windows is a big job, but it usually only has to be done around twice a year, and if everybody lends a hand, it’ll be done in no time.
Depending on how grimy the glass is, you might need to wash with soapy water first to remove the more stubborn dirt. Wait for a cloudy day, if you can, as otherwise the cleaning products you spray with will dry too fast, leaving the dreaded streaks behind. A handy tip is to wipe horizontally outside and vertically inside, so that you can quickly see which side needs an extra polish.
You can even make your own cleaning spray at home, by mixing one part white vinegar with one part water in an old spray bottle. Now that the windows are clean – throw them open and let in some fresh air!
Tackle the garden
This job might be as small as replanting window boxes, or as big as relaying a lawn, but either way, now’s the perfect time to get your outdoor space summer ready. The first task is admittedly the least enjoyable: nobody enjoys weeding, but once those pesky perennials are gone, you can start to tackle the lawn.
Sharpening the edges with a spade and removing moss or wet leaves with a rake can be a useful trick before you jump into mowing. There might be a couple of patchy spots, but a sprinkle of lawn seed should help bring them back to their former glory.
Buying ready-bloomed flowers or plants is a great way to give your garden an instant boost of colour, but if you have the patience, you can sew seeds instead and watch them emerge over the coming months. Lots of people are having a go at planting vegetables this year, as they try to limit trips to the shops.
Perk up the patio
A power hose or pressure washer is a great tool for blasting off months of dirt from the patio & furniture, and it feels quite satisfying too! A good old fashioned outdoor hose will at least remove the surface grime.
To freshen up the barbeque you might need to detach the grill for a proper clean with soap and water (or pop it in the dishwasher) and then fire it up to make sure you’ve burned off any remaining soap or lingering dirt. Wipe down outdoor furniture and think about perhaps giving it a quick lick of fresh paint or varnish – you’d be surprised how much this can freshen up a tired table and chairs.
Cushions and blankets are a great way to add colour and texture as well as comfort: try repurposing an old indoor throw into new cushion covers. Finally, those terracotta pots aren’t just for collecting rainwater – so get planting to liven up your patio.
Rework your wardrobe
While we can’t always guarantee sunshine in an Irish summer, it’s usually at least a couple of degrees warmer, so we can safely retire those heavy winter coats for a few months. Fill a box with gloves, hats and scarves and mark it clearly so you can find it again in autumn. Also, think about wrapping some of your more delicate items in paper or plastic before putting them up in the attic or away in the garage. Vacuum-sealed bags are great if you’re short on space, reducing even the puffiest puffa jacket to a small, storage-friendly size. Better still, think about donating items you wore rarely this winter – they could go to a great cause (The Irish Charity Shops Association recommends we ‘declutter & keep’ whilst stores are closed).
There are plenty of steps we can take to make our beds more comfortable for the warmer nights ahead. If you have the storage space to accommodate an alternative duvet, take the opportunity to downgrade your tog rating. You can still add warmth on cooler evenings with a cosy throw or comforting quilt, but you’ll find yourself sleeping a little easier when you’re not kicking off a too-warm duvet in the wee hours.
Declutter the Kitchen
Many of us have something of a ‘lockdown larder’ at the moment, filled with tins, jars and packets of food we bought or had delivered while isolating. You might be working with ingredients you’re not used to, with limited fresh vegetables and an increasingly demanding audience! A great first step is to organise your pantry according to best-before dates, with those about to expire are at the front. This helps to reduce food waste and might inspire some new dishes for you to try.
As the weather changes, our tastes naturally shift towards lighter, fresher meals: it might be time to temporarily retire the slow cooker and bring the smoothie blender back into action. Clearing out the fridge – if there are jars there older than your children, it’s definitely time for them to go – will give you extra space for leftovers and the chance to give it a deep clean. You’ll also be using more fresh vegetables and salad leaves, so try freshening up your cutting boards by rubbing them with salt and lemon.
There’s nothing more satisfying than a good spring clean, and the whole family can get involved, tackling individual tasks and working together to brighten up your home and garden in time for better days ahead.
Every home has a story and it’s all the little things that make it matter to you. So relax knowing that FBD Home Insurance has you covered.
Thank you for reading.