Fabric of my Life.

The middle of March, the slightest whiff of Spring on the horizon, and the desire to deep clean and sort out every corner of the home reaches fever pitch..!  

Who am I kidding? I’ve been itching to spring clean ever since the start of the year, but now that the turning back of the clocks is imminent, and daylight is starting to reach the furthest flung corners of the house again, it’s finally time. There’s something quite cathartic about a deep clean at the start of spring. Refreshing and decluttering isn’t simply about creating physical space; it’s also about nurturing mental clarity and emotional wellbeing. I think this is why so many people, whether they typically maintain a chaotic or hyper-organised home year-round, are so primed at this time of year to tackle a deep clean. The start of spring —even more so than the ringing in of a new year in my opinion— really is the time for fresh beginnings

 

For us, the promise of a few consecutive days of sunshine, rather than persistant downpours, is what truly spurs my boyfriend and I into spring cleaning mode. Now that we have Paco, the winter months are a relentless slog of muddy paw tracks through the hallway and kitchen (where the front and back doors are), and a near full-time job of wiping down tiny patitas and long bellies (he’s a sausage dog, so low to the ground) to ensure as little dirt as possible makes its way upstairs to the living room, and the carpeted bedrooms beyond. A few days without rain, and the chance to clean floors without immediately having them ruined again.. yes, please! 

Doubling down on cleaning tools; aka, the power of two vacuums!

I’ve come to realise that a three storey home, with carpeted hallways and upstairs bedrooms (not our choice – we rent!), calls for more than one vacuum cleaner.

 

I honestly never expected to be someone who would geek out over a hoover but, seriously, adding a second to our arsenal of cleaning tools has streamlined the cleaning process in our home so much, making it much quicker and more efficient! One lives downstairs by the kitchen, to tackle all the dirt tracked in from outside; the other now lives on the third floor landing, close to my office and bedroom, where the majority of the carpeting and woollen rugs are. The living room on the floor inbetween can easily be serviced by either, without having to trek up or down multiple times.  

 

Of course, it was imperitive that our new vaccum had specific Pet Pro tools, to tackle the tiny Dachshund hairs that get everywhere, and all that muddy debris. After some lengthy research, the Shark Stratos Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner from Very.co.uk** seemed to offer exactly what we wanted. I’ve had my existing Shark DuoClean for so long (6+ years) that the model is no longer available, but it’s still going strong. So, when we decided to look for a second vaccum, it was a no-brainer to opt for another Shark model. 

The Shark Stratos Cordless Vacuum uses anti hair-wrap powerfins to remove hair from the brush-roll as you clean, which, in my household, is an absolute godsend. Even before Paco’s short black hairs infiltrated the environment, my own long blonde hairs would show up all over the place, and frequently get caught up in our older vacuum’s brush roll, inhibiting its ability to clean properly and demanding a delicate and intricate extraction process. Thankfully, the Stratos brush roll hasn’t encountered this issue so far. 

 

The DuoClean floorhead on the Shark Stratos glides from carpets to hard floors with two motorised brush-rolls working together in one floorhead. The aforementioned Anti Hair Wrap Plus brush-roll cleans deep into carpets, while a soft front brush-roll tackles hard floors, like the laminate in our lounge. The vacuum also employs innovative Clean Sense IQ technology, which senses the dirt you can’t see and adjusts it’s cleaning power for optimised suction. An indicator in the floorhead illuminates as the suction automatically increases to meet a cleaning challenge, and decreases again when debris is cleared.

 

A sealed anti-odour cartridge, which you add to the floorhead during the set-up process, guards against odours caused by hair, dust and dander, and leaves a nice, fresh smell in its place. The cartridges apparently last for around 6 months, with a pack of 2 replacements costing £14.99 on the Shark website. When I first used the vacuum I didn’t personally notice the scent, but the moment by boyfriend walked in, he commented on how fresh the room smelt! 

 

The real star of the kit for us though is the ability to transform the stick into a cordless handheld cleaner at the touch of a button for cleaning stairs, furnishings, in the car and reaching up high with the wand. Our older Shark model does this also, so we were used to the convenience, but this newer Pet Pro model includes a Motorised Pet Tool, designed to remove embedded hair from upholstery, which we’ve found to be super effective and exactly what we’ve been looking for to keep our sofa as fresh as possible. 

Declutter, with joyful intentions.

Aside from doubling our vacuum power with the Shark Stratos, the biggest focus of my annual spring cleans always centres around decluttering.

 

I teeter between excessive hoarder and ruthless declutterer, depending upon my mood, and, while I’m frequently happy to let clutter build up around me, the moment I decide to do something about it, the culling is often cut-throat! Ever since Marie Kondo burst onto the cleaning scene in the early 2010’s though, I’ve tried to become more aligned with her ‘joyful’ approach to decluttering: letting go of items that no longer serve us to make room for what truly matters in our lives. 

 

It’s a useful mantra to keep in mind when tackling a clear-out, and I’ve found that it stops me being over-zealous in my desire for a clean and orderly space, and throwing things out that I’ve later come to regret. My Ikea rattan cabinet is one of my favourite furniture pieces in my home and, having previously been a focal point of my living room in the Fab Flat, has been stationed in our bedroom ever since we moved to this house, more than 3 years ago, where it serves as both  linen cupboard and home for my make-up and skincare collections. Despite having once been super organised, it had become fairly messy over the past year and was no longer bringing me joy, so I wanted to tackle the abundance of crumpled sheets and overflowing mismatched storage boxes that lay within, and reclaim the love I have for the cabinet.

 

Kondo suggests that you should visualise your ideal lifestyle, and the type of home environment you want to create, before starting to declutter, and let this vision serve as your guiding light throughout the decluttering process. I have a beautiful collection of bed linen, and want to be able to effortlessly mix and match different designs to create fresh and inspiring bedding styles each week. That begins with being able to see at a glance what I have available; all freshly laundered and folded away neatly. 

While the bottom two shelves in my rattan cabinet are for linens, the top shelf has historically held a hodgepotch of boxes brimming with make-up and skincare items, many several years old, and many barely opened. A resolution I made earlier this year was not to buy any new beauty products until I’d actually used up the old ones contained in those boxes. Of course, not all the older products were still hygenic to use, so I worked my way through the boxes, throwing away anything that wouldn’t be suitable to use now, and moved all my skincare items to the bathroom so they were close to hand for my morning and nightly routines. 

 

I browsed Very.co.uk for home storage solutions and found the Joseph Joseph Viva Cosmetic Organiser**, which looked like a wonderful option for keeping my everyday items close to hand, since I usually just stand at the rattan cabinet and use the mirror on top to quickly apply my daily make-up. I really like how many different compartments there are, and how easy it is to move the organiser from within the cabinet to the top when needed. Now I can easily see at a glance what products I have, and have rediscovered a few old favourites, like Saie’s rosy gold dew balm, that had been previously been languishing at the bottom of poorly organised box!  

Tip 3: Elevate your laundry game.

I touched on laundry before, but Spring Clean day (who am I kidding, weekend) is really characterised by endless washing machine cycles!

 

Since I was refreshing my linens cupboard it made sense to ensure each set was freshly washed, as a few of them hadn’t been used for over a year and had simply been growing musty in the cupboard all this time. The one thing that always used to frustrate me about laundry day were our two old and rusty (from having been left out in the rain one too many ‘summer’ days) drying racks.

 

Rickety and cumbersome, it was really time for an upgrade. 

I browsed clothes airers at Very.co.uk and came across the Brabantia Hang On 25m Airer**,  which offers 25 metres of flexible drying space, plus a hanging rod that can hold up to 10 hanging items. I may have been living under a rock (and I certainly haven’t shopped for clothes airers in a while), but this seemed ingenius to me and a great solution for our lack of indoor space for drying clothes.

 

While Luis is happy tumble drying a lot of his pieces, I’m really not a fan and prefer to air dry —despite us not really having much space to do so, and consistently having to move airers from kitchen to hallway and back again whenever we’re cooking. The Brabantia Hang On Airer is just slim-line even to fit behind the sofa in our living room, which means its kept out of the way of the high traffic areas of our home —even if it makes getting a book out of the cabinet a little tricky while in use!

 

It also folds down just as compact as our previous airers, of which there were two, so it takes up just as much storage space in the downstairs bathroom (perhaps even slightly less) as before. Win win

Are you in spring clean mode at the moment and, if so, do you have any top tips? Do you usually like to tackle a few core areas in your home, or go all-out scrubbing from top-to-bottom? 

This post is in partnership with Very.co.uk but, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. All photography © Kate Baxter.

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