Spring cleaning with a smile

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A spring clean is a fantastic way to spruce up your home and wave goodbye to winter. But it can feel quite overwhelming when you’re a busy mum! We’ve got a few easy ideas to inspire you – and hopefully make the job a little more enjoyable.

Start with the fun stuff

First, set yourself some fun decorating challenges – and better yet, get your toddler to help. As well as being a great way to spend time together, it’ll encourage him to take pride in making your home nice. (We can’t promise this will last into the teenage years!)

Snap happy

If you’re anything like us, your phone and laptop will be packed with pictures of your little ones. Create one folder with your favourites and put the others in a folder called ‘archives’. Now go through your most-loved pics with your toddler and choose a variety of pictures (close-ups, at home, out and about etc). As you do, you can remind your tot about that great day at the beach or what he got for Christmas – little ones love hearing Mum and Dad tell stories that involve them.

You can upload your pictures at tescophoto.com, create a collage (from just £5.50) and have it delivered to your local Tesco store for free or posted to you (delivery charges apply). Then give your collage pride of place in a spot where you and your toddler will see it every day.

Flower power

When it comes to daily smile-raisers, you can’t beat a bunch of bright blooms – especially when your toddler has helped to arrange them. As your little one’s dexterity is still developing you can expect a few crushed petals, so an inexpensive bunch with lots of variety is best. Talk about the colours, sizes and shapes of the flowers and use slow, exaggerated motions as you demonstrate putting them in the vase. You may find he’s more interested in pulling the flowers apart! So just give him a few stems to play with and let him watch as you arrange the others.

Clutter control

It’s a rare mum who manages to keep on top of all the ‘stuff’ that builds up when you have kids. So having an ‘outbox’ is a great way to identify what you really need to keep. The idea is that you fill the box with all those items you think you don’t need, then leave it for a couple of weeks, so you’ll know whether you really can chuck out those old clothes, books or toys. If they’ve still got a fair bit of life left in them, take them to your local charity shop. Some charities (including British Heart Foundation) now offer free collection for everything from furniture and electrical items to clothes and books, which makes it even easier.

Green cleaning

What do white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and fresh lemon juice have in common? They’re all brilliantly effective eco-friendly cleaning products! We’ve got a few tips below – we think you’ll be surprised at how well they work.

Glass and mirrors

Fill an old spray bottle with white vinegar and apply to glass. Scrunch up newspaper sheets (wear gloves to avoid ink marks on your fingers!) and polish away. No streaks, no smears.

Keep the fridge smelling sweet

Pop a small open container of bicarbonate of soda in the fridge – it’s great for absorbing odours. Bicarbonate of soda also makes a very effective fridge cleaner. Just dilute two teaspoons in a litre of warm water and use a cloth to gently remove stains and spills.

Citrus fresh

If life gives you lemons, chop ’em, squeeze ’em and clean the kitchen with ’em. A halved lemon wiped over chopping boards removes strong garlic and onions smells, while lemon juice is great for budging tough grease or sticky spills on surfaces.