Aneliese’s latest column: Spring cleaning before or after renovations?

March is one of my favourite times of the year because it heralds the start of spring which, for me, is all about change and exciting new ventures and projects. I cheated a little bit this year and started early by giving my daughter’s room a cheap and easy DIY makeover, and the project has got me pumped for even more creative DIY projects and cleaning exercises. But I’m not the only one that’s had spring on my mind lately – all you London mums have too! I’ve picked out a few questions that sum up the theme of this month’s questions nicely: spring cleaning.


We’ve recently decided to get a home extension, and work is set to commence early next month. We’re going to start cleaning the house and moving things around in preparation, but are unsure about how far we should go. Our main concern is that the house is going to look like a bombsite for the duration of the building work so any spring cleaning and reorganising that we do now will all be in vein. What are your thoughts? Lisa from Ealing

Firstly, congratulations on your exciting new project. I can only imagine how busy you are shopping around for new furniture and thinking about what will go where and, of course, cleaning. Your concern is an all-too-common one – in fact, a lot of homeowners shy away from renovations because they don’t think they will be able to cope with the ‘chaos’ that building work brings about. However, there are a lot of building companies out there who pride themselves on their ability to keep mess and disruption to the rest of the house to a minimum so that homeowners can stay put while the building work is taking place. So, you shouldn’t be too worried about your spring cleaning efforts coming undone during the build – in fact, doing a thorough spring clean beforehand will help you to realise how much free space you have in the existing rooms in your home so that you can work out how to best utilise your new space.

I’m a mum of 4 and I work full time, so while I keep my house tidy, I struggle to find the time to do regular large-scale cleaning. One of my New Year’s resolutions this year, however, was to do my first ever big spring clean! Do you have any tips you’d care to share? Denise from Enfield

cleaning tools

Denise, I can relate, although you’re one up on me with 4 kids I can definitely help you out with some tips. Here are 5 to get you started:

  1. Start by breaking everything down into small, bite-sized tasks so that the whole thing doesn’t become too overwhelming. Make a list of everything that needs doing in one room to start with, and tackle each area or task at a time. These tasks might be as simple and as emptying out individual drawers, but it will feel great ticking all of these little items off your list.
  2. Bump your closet up to the top of the list of things that need a good spring clean. It’s my belief that having an organised closet is the key to an organised home. Donate any clothes that you haven’t worn in a while or which no longer fit to charity and organise the remaining clothes according to how you get dressed in the morning – this will make your everyday routine that little bit easier.
  3. Wipe everything down. A lot of items and areas get neglected during regular cleaning sessions, so think of your spring cleaning exercise as an opportunity to give everything a once-over. Polish all of your silver, wash the windows, dust everything on your nightstand and wipe the walls – do this until everything gleams and glistens. You’ll feel so accomplished afterwards, trust me!
  4. Get the kids involved by turning cleaning into a game, for example by seeing who can fill a trash bag in the least amount of time or by taking the popular 12-12-12 challenge, which is where everyone has to find 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate and 12 items to return to their proper home.
  5. Give the rooms in your home quick and easy makeovers by changing bedding, towels and linen and playing with different colours and patterns to create different moods.

We’re thinking about converting our loft, but it’s currently serving as a storeroom for all of our priceless junk and we’re worried that if we convert it we won’t have anywhere to store things. Rebecca from Lambeth

Never fear, Rebecca! Loft conversions have come a long way recently and there is so much, in a design sense, that architects and building companies can achieve nowadays. Because of the unique shape of most loft spaces, there are so many opportunities for storage solutions to be incorporated into the new space without precious floor space having to be sacrificed, for example by utilising the ‘dead space’ under the eaves, so you needn’t worry about not having anywhere to store your priceless junk.

Happy spring cleaning everyone, and good luck 🙂

Aneliese x


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