Spring is that one extra special season. It's the one season out of the four that really feels like a fresh start. To me it makes me feel a bit like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis; as if I've been living in my little cocoon all winter, warm and cosy waiting for the warmer weather to release me. Well this bank holiday weekend was the release this little butterfly had been waiting for. I'd taken the week off work which seemed like a great idea until we realised we'd timed it perfectly to the date we started phase three of the renovation in our house, damnit! So whilst we definitely tried our best to take the foot off the throttle a little, a lot has been going on around us and naturally it only felt right to kick start get my house ready for Spring time rather than sitting and watching another episode of Riviera.
This is my second Spring in "The New House" so I feel like I'm understanding what changes each season and what needs doing in order to maximise the enjoyment and experience of being at home, a lot better and with so much of the house now close to completion I'm really enjoying it all.
MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS WORKING
The first port of call for my Spring clean which, might I add, I feel doesn't do it justice at all, this is so much more than a clean, this is a full life and home MOT, but I digress. My first port of call is to check everything is working, which of course it isn't. Our smoke alarms needed new batteries and we had to get the fans down from the loft for anyone not in the UK, we don't tend to have AC in our homes (but by all means check if it's working if you do) as our Summer lasts approximately 45 seconds so a bit of a waste of money really. We discovered a leak on our under floor heating and also somewhere else so we had to make sure all the relevant trades were called to get everything fixed and in working order whether thats any of the above or fridge freezers; a lot of ice and drinks will be consumed this season, so keeping everything cool is important and also ovens and any other electrical goods. Don't ask me what it is about Spring but as soon as it comes around I start thinking I'm Nigella Bloody Lawson in the kitchen.
THE BIG CLEAR OUT
Oh it seems like such a good idea at the start doesn't it? But when you are knee deep in pants you've had for over 100 years and you are past the point of no return, it suddenly isn't so enjoyable anymore. But keep going, don't give up because my goodness it feels great once it's all done.
I tend to take the rooms with the most storage and work my way down to dressing rooms/wardrobes>kitchens>pantries>utilities>understairs cupboards>shoe storage ottomans etc etc
It's time to get rid of the clutter, out of date products, clothes that no longer fit right down to the bottle of 5 spice you've had since 2003.
I keep my beauty products and clothes in the same room so it tends to be one big clear out starting with clothing and anything that is completely threadbare, which to be honest isn't a lot as I always look after my clothes but they always get taken to a recycling drop off as there's little hope for them. I then sort in to piles of items that no longer fit/have shrunk in the wash *ahem*/no longer wear as my little sister and friends and family will get first dibs on these items before either going to shelters or charity shops, usually my higher priced items will be sold on either privately or via my depop with mid tier items that are perfect for work/interviews being sent forward to charities such as SmartWorks. For beauty it is a lot more simple, a pile of out of date, a pile of haven't used and a pile of keep. The latter usually being the smallest, everything is put into baskets and my friends and family get to pick their faves with what's left going to local Women's shelters. Job Done...it just takes a lifetime!
The kitchen isn't a place that needs doing all too often, we've recently got quite good at going through the amount of food we order and not wasting much. It's a special art isn't it, finding a rhythm between living your life and when your vegetables go mouldy but at the moment we are doing well. It's more of a refresh of any longer life items and a tidy up of drawers, cupboards and the pantry which I try my best to keep on top of as I go but its the perfect opportunity to give the insides of your cupboards a good clean too.
Being totally honest, I've never had a utility before so this area of my house has been a bit of a learning curve. As it stands I have three cupboards devoted to candles which isn't an efficient use of space apparently so I'm trying to do something about it. But what I have found is this is the one room that gets neglected the most when it comes to cleaning. The tumble drier is always throwing fluff everywhere and theres always a pile of socks on the side so I'm still learning how this room works for us and what it needs season to season but as it stands it just needs a bloody good clear out and I need to learn not to hoard candles quite so much. I've actually been thinking about having one of those professional-organiser-people technical term come and offer some help with this space as I'd love to learn.
THE BIG CLEAN
As you complete The Big Clear out in each of your chosen rooms, I'd say it's prudent to do The Big Clean in each room as you go so that you don't need to take everything out again thus undoing all the hard work of The Big Clear Out. Throw open your windows as wide as they go and starting from the highest point in the room down to the hoovering and mopping of the floor so as to get as a much dust as humanly possible. Use your favourite Spring cleaning fragrance and be sure to spritz the soft furnishings with your favourite fabric spray as you finish.
Speaking of Spring fragrances, if you are new here you need to know I take my home fragrances very seriously, you don't have three cupboards of candles by chance let me tell you.
For The Big Clean, Its time to put the winter morning scents to the back of the cupboard ready for next year. I have a few refillable spray bottles that use and can change the labels as and when I change the cleaning solution inside and I definitely prefer this system at the moment in terms of actual anti bacterial cleaning to single use plastic ratio but I have been looking into other more eco-friendly cleaning systems so I may need to update you on this at a later date. I switch over to fresh linens and Spring fragrances to clean and anti back surfaces to really give everywhere a freshen up. Home fragrances are swapped as they finish and some of my candles are swapped or refreshed. I've spoken often about Jo Malone's Peony & Blush suede fragrance being the best all rounder to take you through the seasons whilst also filling your home but The White Company really have stepped up their game in recent years with their seasonally perfect fragrances and Spring is one of my absolute favourites as well as Bais and Figuier from Diptique.
Flower Freshen Up
I adore flowers, if you've seen my wedding pictures I think the obsession I have really comes across quite accurately lol so naturally I have them in my home to the same excess. I find them to be an essential part of the seasonal change in your home and I always knew I wanted a seasonal wreath on my front door throughout the year, no questions, rain or shine there is a wreath on my front door and the joy it brings me never fades. That same joy extends inside but as much as I love to treat myself to a fresh bunch of flowers or to open my door to a surprise bunch for that matter fresh flowers have their downside and keeping the feeling alive when they die to quickly isn't easy but aside from a real bunch there are great options.
RTFact flowers has been my number one go to since I moved in to my house when it comes to the most realistic looking and gorgeous arrangements and of course with their quality being so good, their price does match but in my opinion, totally justified. My Spring tulips in my lounge looks perfect day in day out and my little fish bowl of peonies in the dining room that doesn't get used as much as it should, means I'm not walking in there to a mouldy sludgy mess. I have a list as long as my arm of which arrangement I want in what room and as we reach the finishing touches of each of the rooms, RTFact flowers will be the icing on the cake.
Another amazing store I stumbled across a while ago is Fox Flowers, for the more relaxed boho customer, their arrangements feel more botanical and dare I say "thrown together" but undoubtedly beautiful. I'm yet to purchase from them but have heard great things so this Spring post felt like the perfect way to introduce them.
And finally I recently did a little test run from amazon and their dried stems which there seems to be an abundance of. I purchased a bunch of dried lavender, barley and two types of pampas grass. The lavender my favourite of the haul because of its wonderful fragrance even when dried. We have lavender bushes all around our house and I wanted to bring some of that gorgeousness inside. I now have a bunch above the kitchen sink and also in the Utility room and its absolutely perfect. The Barley looks beautiful on the centre island and could also be used for an Autumnal Harvest theme later in the year and whilst the pampas grass was a bit of a let down I'm going to continue my search, it was a little on the slim side but beautiful none the less.
THE GARDEN SPRUCE
Well wasn't this an experience. If you follow my Interiors account on Instagram @LydiaMillenHome you might have caught a glimpse of me clearing the moss from the cement on the entire patio. It was harder than I ever imagined it would be but my word was it worth it. Once finished the entire space looked like a new patio had been laid and our garden looked a hundred times more inviting. Much like the utility room, I've never had a patio before nor a garden quite like ours that has a number of multi facets that have taken us some getting used to. Such as pruning the garden wall that flowers multiple times with different flowers throughout Spring/Summer as well as raised beds, a woodland and basement courtyards that I don't even know where to begin with and to top it off I've also had dreams of a vegetable garden but I think I need to learn to walk before I run that marathon.
So I took to the Patio sweeping and flossing that moss whilst Ali mowed the lawn and turned over the soil in the beds. It took the whole day but what a wonderful excuse it was to be out in the garden all day and who cares if I couldn't walk for the rest of the week.
The Garden got its spruce and whilst we want so much for our outdoor space such as a whole new garden lounge/dining set and sun loungers from Moda. We've prioritised the house so the spruce did the job perfectly for now.
Et Voila! You're ready for Spring if it sounds like a lot of work, thats because it is, but its wonderful when you reach the end of this list and admire the wonderful freshness of your home.
What are your Spring home essentials? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below!