With every new year comes the opportunity to clear out and freshen up our homes. It’s also a time for us to set up new routines and habits that then help us better maintain our spaces for when life inevitably picks up speed again.
But where to start? We tapped leading home organiser and stylist Carmen Strong of @littlestronghome for her advice on how to tackle the seemingly overwhelming task of organising, decluttering and cleaning. Ahead, Strong shares the three best ways she suggests for freshening up your space this new year.
Clear Out and Organise Your Pantry and Kitchen
“Start with your pantry and kitchen,” says Strong. “These spaces are high foot traffic areas and can often get out of control quickly.”
“We also know that with the summer entertaining period comes an increase in groceries, and we need to make room for these items on the shelves and in the fridge. By organising your pantry, you will find you will save not only time but money as well.
“There will be no unnecessary purchasing of tinned tuna because you didn’t know you already had it. You also minimise waste as well.”
To clear out and organise your pantry and kitchen, Strong suggests following these steps:
- “Start by removing everything from your pantry.
- Give the pantry a deep clean, top to toe.
- Remove any items that have expired. Note that you should consider donating any items that are nearing their expiry date but not going to be used up in time.
- Group the contents of the pantry into categories, e.g., canned foods, condiments, sauces, snacks, packet mixes, etc.
- Place storage solutions back into the pantry if applicable.
- Place the contents back into the pantry in groups so they are easier to navigate and find.
- Label storage solutions if applicable. Labelling helps to hold the family accountable to put things back where they belong.”
Deep Clean Frequently Used Furniture and Household Items
Next, you’ll want to deep clean frequently used furniture, like your lounge and mattress, and household items, like a toilet brush — basically anything you’d rarely think to clean.
“We’re used to giving our homes quick cosmetic cleans throughout the year because we are often busy and time-poor,” says Strong. “But the first few months of 2022 are the perfect time to give the house a deeper clean before the year picks up speed. Having a few great appliances and tools under your belt will help you get the job done more effectively.”
Strong suggests taking a look at these items:
Lounge or Sofa
“Hard to reach surfaces like under and behind the soda are often missed when we’re time-poor. To start the year fresh, give both your sofa and the area around it a good clean with a great tool like a handstick vacuum. Some come with various attachments that are perfect for accessing narrow skirting board corners under and behind the couch and deep-cleaning soft furnishings like your sofa.”
Bedding and Mattress
“Give your mattress a much-needed deep clean ahead of the busier months with tools specifically designed for fabrics. Some vacuums come with nozzles that remove pet hair and clean soft surfaces without harming fabrics.”
Sinks and Drains
“Use bicarb and hot water mixed with vinegar and lemon juice.”
“Use hot water or bleach, and allow them to dry horizontally under the toilet seat.”
Deep Cleaning Appliances
And lastly, Strong suggests deep cleaning your appliances. “We often forget that the appliances we use to clean our home also need to be cleaned,” she says. “They help us by cleaning the spaces. But who cleans them? And how often?”
“Also, always make sure you follow your manufacturer’s guidelines when cleaning your appliances,” she says. The main appliances Strong suggests you deep clean include:
“Empty the filter, sprinkle bicarb into the drum and place a cup of vinegar on the top tray, then wash on a hot rinse cycle. Wipe down the internal and external door with a microfibre cloth.”
“Remove all items from the fridge, spray with a disinfectant, remove any expired produce and return to the fridge.”
“Sprinkle bicarb into the drum, add vinegar to the tray and complete a hot rinse cycle. Wipe out the seal with a microfibre cloth and then wash the tray. Complete a deeper clean by emptying the filter. Recent washing machine models like the LG 10kg Front Load Washing Machine with Steam+, feature technology that allows you to monitor the condition of your washing machine with a mobile phone app, diagnosing and troubleshooting so you can get on top of any issues right away.”
“Wipe the internal drum, remove, and clean out the lint holder. In the long run, it might be helpful to look into dryers with self-cleaning capabilities such as the auto cleaning condenser function in the latest LG 8kg Heat Pump Dryers. These models use a double layer air filter, as well as water to flush out and remove fine lint during the drying process, avoiding dirty condensers.”