How To Spring Clean And Declutter Your Home For Less | consumer affairs

Raid your cupboards…

Instead of rushing out to buy new cleaning supplies, check to see if there are nearly empty bottles strewn around the back of your sink cabinet that you can use.

You may have other supplies that can be reused. Baking soda and vinegar are favorite cleaners and can be used to freshen drains or clean windows or a mattress, among other tasks.

Steve Payne of bed retailer Sleep and Snooze says that if you’re looking to clean a mattress, vacuum it first, then spray it with white vinegar. “Don’t worry about the slight vinegar smell, it will go away as it dries,” he says. “Then take a sieve and use it to sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda on the mattress. You want the entire surface of the mattress to be covered. Let the baking soda and vinegar get to work soaking up musty odors. After an hour or two, you can vacuum up all the baking soda, making sure to get into all the crevices of the mattress.

White vinegar, baking soda left for a vacuum, that’s what you need to freshen up a mattress. Photography: Andrii Borodai/Getty

Tina Simpson at Triton Showers advises using the same two items to thoroughly clean a moldy shower curtain. “Add laundry detergent and half a cup of baking soda to the drawer and start a wash at 30 degrees, stopping before the rinse cycle,” she says. “At this point, add half a cup of vinegar to the detergent drawer and begin a final rinse, before hanging up in your shower to dry off.”

Bathroom retailer Drench suggests shaving foam doesn’t need to be just for faces: use it to clean mirrors, streak-free – and fog-free later. It can also be used on carpet stains as well as glass hobs: “Try covering the electric hob with shaving foam and let sit for 15 minutes. Wipe away and the grime will be gone.

… but beware

When extolling the virtues of these alternatives, people sometimes say they don’t have “harsh chemicals” like specially designed cleaners, but they wouldn’t work if they didn’t. .

Abigail Yearley, spokeswoman for the TopCashback website, says you can clean a microwave or oven more easily “by putting lemon zest or juice in a bowl (or baking sheet, if you’re cleaning the oven ) of water. Heat up your appliances and let the container cool down. This will help remove stains (and relieve elbow grease).

Lemon and water are an effective way to clean or help clean a microwave.
Lemon and water are an effective way to clean or help clean a microwave. Photography: Marian Vejcik/Getty

Although lemons can be used elsewhere, “their citric acid can corrode metal – so use it with care,” warns Yearly.

Other cleaning alternatives also come with a similar warning. While some people suggest that vinegar can be used to deep clean a dishwasher, it is acidic and can damage rubber seals and other parts. Who? has a guide to things you shouldn’t clean with vinegarwhich includes dishwashers as well as mirrors and granite or stone kitchen worktops.

Do some research if you’re not sure, rather than risk a costly mistake.

Use natural forces

Opening the windows can eliminate musty odors and make your home cooler for free. If you have an outdoor space, dry your laundry there – the sun will help bleach your whites, at no cost. Airing duvets and pillows outside can freshen them up without the need to wash them.

Create your own storage

“People always start thinking ‘I have to buy storage solutions’ because that’s the fun part, but it’s not necessary,” says Lizzie Grant, professional organizer and decluttering expert at the site. WebVinted. She suggests that you use “a shoebox, a [mobile] phone booth, tin cans – anything that brings things together to know that everything has a home”. Don’t buy a label maker, she says, because any sticker will do. You can make the boxes more attractive by decorating them with scraps of paper or fabric.

Repurposed items: An old fruit crate could be used as a tray, while a rolling suitcase with a broken handle could be used for under-bed storage.

Vacuum storage is not something you can do, but it will help you maximize space in your home, which could be a good investment.

Buy equipment at the best price

Shop around before buying big-ticket items like a vacuum cleaner or pressure washer. According to cost comparison website PriceSpy, prices for cleaning equipment tend to be competitive by June, so you can pick up a bargain. Its site allows you to compare the prices of specific brands and models from a large number of retailers. If you’re an Amazon user, CamelCamelCamel shows you the price history of items on the site, so you can see how today’s deal compares. It also allows you to sign up to receive an alert if an item’s cost is reduced.

Rug Doctor cleaning equipment on display outside the workshop in Wiltshire.
Rug Doctor cleaning supplies. It is generally better to hire rather than buy carpet cleaners. Photography: geogphotos/Alamy

Borrow equipment

Items such as carpet cleaners are unlikely to be worth the money or the space – but they are usually available for hire. RugDoctor cleaners cost from £24.99 per day, while HSS charges from just under £21 for the same period. If you don’t have a lot of rugs to clean, you can team up with a friend.

A library of things will usually carry this type of item – there are several in London and across the country. In London, a steam cleaner is available to hire for £9.50 per day plus a small fee.

Or you could see if a friend or neighbor has a machine you can borrow. Try your neighborhood’s social media page or ask a local WhatsApp group if you’re part of the first game. If you pay them back with a nice box of chocolates or the like, you will still have saved some money.

Clean your cleaners

You will get more efficient use of appliances and they will last longer if you take care of them.

With your vacuum cleaner, take care of the filter. If it’s washable, clean it and you should find that there’s more suction power when you put it back on. If the machine has a bag, do not let it fill completely before changing it.

A dog and a vacuum cleaner
Cleaning the filter of your vacuum cleaner should improve its suction power. Photography: ssuaphoto/Getty

Clean your dishwasher’s filter – again, just wash it in hot water and a little washing-up liquid. If the machine smells bad, wash it hot either empty with a purchased cleaner or when you’re doing the dishes.

If you live in an area with hard water, descaling your washing machine will help it run longer and more efficiently. For this, you will need to purchase a specialized product.

Tafari Smith, head of savings at RCI Bank, suggests you also vacuum the coils in the fridge and unload the dryer, if you have one, and defrost the freezer. “This simple maintenance saves huge sums on water and energy bills, while avoiding unnecessary repair costs in the future,” he says.

Make money from decluttering

You may be able to offset the cost of everything you need to buy by selling some of the things you no longer want. For clothes, eBay, Gumtree and Vinted are some of the options, while for old books, CDs, DVDs and games, musicMagpie is another site to check out.

Clothes that aren’t good enough to sell or donate to charity could be repurposed: old T-shirts can be cut up to make feather dusters, or fabric used to decorate boxes for storage.

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