The art of the spring clean


There are few rites of spring that signal the beginning of the new season in the home more than the annual spring clean. Not just a modern development, spring cleaning is a custom with historic roots. Some historians trace the custom back to the Persians where people would thoroughly deep clean their homes, drapes and furniture in a practice called “khooneh tekouni”, which means “shaking the house”, in preparation for the Persian New Year on the first day of spring.

Throughout the 19th century in northern Europe, the ritual of spring cleaning became a custom during the month of March since the warmer temperatures allowed for windows to be opened for dusting and airing out the home. Much in that same vein, spring cleaning today is a time for deep cleaning, decluttering, rearranging furniture and streamlining the home and mind.

Tidiness habits around the UK

In the UK, we are generally a tidy nation. Here at OKA, we conducted a survey to uncover the tidiness habits of people in the UK, and we found that 71% of the population say a clean home is important to them. Yet surprisingly only 2% say their house is very tidy. This could be British modesty, or it could be that we are a nation of perfectionists, who would not call our homes ‘very tidy’ unless they were absolutely immaculate.

The household task that the country seems to find hardest to keep up with is cleaning furnishings, as most of us find it difficult to find the time to deep clean carpets, mattresses and curtains on a regular basis. The annual spring clean is usually the time of the year that we focus on deep cleaning and refreshing these items in the home.

Another problem area for the country are bedrooms and spare rooms, which 25% of us admit are the least tidy rooms in the home. Often we treat these rooms as the ‘junk’ rooms, where we can close the door and hide clutter from guests and visitors. Bathrooms, by contrast, are four times more likely to be clean and tidy than bedrooms. In Scotland, the least tidy room in the house is the study. But if you often work from home, it’s important to keep your workspace tidy to avoid the distraction of mess.

How to keep your home neat and tidy

Learning how to keep a tidy house can be attributed more to a few small daily habits and smart home strategies, rather than regimented cleaning and tidying every day. There are a few ways to keep your home looking neat all the time and it starts with a simple routine of cleaning up as you go.

There’s a saying that goes, “If it takes less than two minutes, do it now”, so get into the habit of picking up the small messes as you go along (folding up blankets and plumping up cushions at the end of the night, putting the washing away as soon as it’s dry, picking up toys when the children have finished playing). This will help make it easier for your home to feel tidy all the time. Consider these tips and tricks to help your house look as tidy as possible:

Choose furniture that serves a double purpose

Storage beds, ottomans and attractive storage units are all ways to get function and practicality from your furniture. When everything has a place and can be tidied away, there is less chance for clutter to build up and make these rooms look messy.

Get a table with hidden storage

A table with storage can be an excellent spot for hiding papers, books or any other loose items that are needed on a daily basis. The hidden storage helps declutter surfaces without taking up more space, and reduces dust build-up.

Put lights in dark corners to give the illusion of light and space

Light, open spaces tend to feel less cluttered than darker ones. A sophisticated lamp not only elevates a room with form and function, but works to brighten up areas and create an illusion of more space.

Clean soft furnishings to spruce up your living room

Freshening up your curtains and cushion covers will automatically give your home a feeling of brightness and cleanliness. Cushion covers can also be easily changed throughout the year to give your home a season-appropriate burst of colour and pattern.

Tidy house, tidy mind

Your environment has a strong effect on how your mind operates. Decluttering your home allows for a richer and easier flow of ideas and energy. The state of your home often complements your current state of being, so if you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed and cluttered, it may be a good time for some spring cleaning.

Your home represents your own unique, personal space and you should decorate your home to be warm, inviting and distinctly you. Be mindful of what you are keeping in your home and make sure it reflects who you are. Spend some time decluttering old pieces of furniture that are past their use and make a habit of refreshing your furniture and accessories with items that you love. It will make you more inspired to keep your home neat and tidy as you’ll want to experience your home in its full glory.