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Carers' guide to Spring Cleaning

As the weather warms up a little, our thoughts might turn to spring cleaning and decluttering. Before we dive in though, let's take a moment to see how other carers do it, so that we are getting things done in the easiest possible way.

We’ve been chatting about this in our online cuppas and in our community. As always, our wonderful community has given this blog its own Mobilise flavour.

Before we start...

Do we need to spring clean right now?

If the sun is shining, we could just get outside and enjoy the moment.

Illustration of person sitting in nature.

Take a mindful moment to listen to the birds, notice the sunlight and how it is coming through the trees and spot those signs of spring.

It can feel alien to take a break - but sometimes it's the refuelling we need. We might even be more productive for a short rest.

Added bonus - if we're outside, we won’t be able to see if our windows are dirty!

When time is just too short to clean

However smart we try to be about this, it is possible that we just do not have the time. Or this might be the one area where those we care for will accept some outside help.

Paying someone to do it might not be an option for many of us but a few things to consider:

  • If the person we care for receives benefits like Personal Independence Payment or Attendance Allowance they might choose to spend some of this money on some help

  • Domestic help may be available as part of a care needs assessment for the person we care for

  • When we have our Carer's Assessment or Adult Carer Support Plan (in Scotland), it is worth mentioning how caring is impacting our life in this area - there may be local options for support

  • In some areas, Age UK or other charities have volunteers or subsidised services for cleaners and handymen

What’s different for carers?

It's helpful to acknowledge that things can be a bit different for us. Every household has its own set of challenges when it comes to keeping things clean and tidy. As carers though, we might have some additional or unique challenges.

  • Lack of time

  • Less energy

  • Overflowing medicine cabinets

  • Heaps of extra paperwork (or emails)

  • Cupboard bursting with spare towels and sheets “just in case!”

  • Supporting someone with hoarding issues (and having our own)

  • The person we care for may have lost interest in hygiene

  • Running two or more households

  • Others in the household unable to do their share

Illustration of a woman, clipboard and avocado.

Top tips that can help us with any mammoth task

Whether it is spring cleaning, decluttering, sorting through a mountain of paperwork, or tackling an out-of-control garden, there are a few basic tips that apply in all situations:

  • Get others involved. Who else can help in our caring circle? Friends, family or professionals?

  • Break it down into manageable chunks. What can be achieved in 10 minutes?

  • Set achievable goals. What are you going to get done and by when?

  • Choose the right soundtrack. Upbeat or calming music, a distracting podcast or audiobook. Perhaps this is your chance to belt out some show tunes or Opera! Or listen to the world's most relaxing song in this guide!

  • Reward yourself. A cup of tea, favourite TV programme, pamper session or a phone call with a friend. Having something to look forward to can keep us going

  • Know your 'why'. What will be the benefit to you of getting this done? Hold that in your mind to keep you on task

  • Celebrate success. Take a photo, tell a friend or dance with the dog!

  • Build routines that work for you. To make it sustainable around your caring role.

  • Can getting a paid cleaner to help us stay on top be an option? If we are eligible for Carer’s Allowance, or if the person we care for is eligible for Attendance Allowance, extra money from this may help us pay for a paid cleaner.

“When tackling paperwork try a change of scene. Take one bag of paperwork somewhere else - a friends house, the pub, a coffee shop.”


Before we get stuck into the spring cleaning we might first need to have a clear out.

Having less stuff generally makes life easier and can make keeping things clean and tidy easier too.

This might be about more than just physical stuff. We or the person we care for might be very attached to things, perhaps they remind us of who we once were and we want to hold on to this. Things might be associated with happy memories. We might also be used to having to deal with emergencies and so keep hold of things to be ready for anything.

“I have started digital scrapbooking using photos of things that I knew were no good for me to keep hold of, but also didn't want to forget I ever had add.”
“Make a memory box - be really selective with what goes in - once it is full it is full”

Just recognising the reasons why we keep things can be helpful. It might also prompt us to get some help. Coaching or counselling services may give us a breakthrough.

“I found out recently that professional de-clutterers can help with things like admin, paperwork, house clearance and practical support after bereavement”
“Follow Mrs Hinch and Stacey Solomon on Instagram - wonderful motivation!!! I have Mrs Hinch books of lists which are extremely helpful! Freshen up Fridays or Tad Ah Lists”

Decluttering experts like Marie Kondo might have some helpful tips or be fun to follow on social media. Or perhaps it feels like this is a world away from how our lives are.

If we notice ourselves feeling guilt, anxiety or irritation when learning from these “gurus” perhaps we need to step away. Just like weight loss, this has become a big industry. And that’s because it is something many of us struggle with. While these feeds can be inspiring, they can also lead to comparison being the thief of joy - something to be aware of.

Illustration of a window.

Spring cleaning

Let’s get started with some easy wins:

  • Throw open the windows

  • Grab a bag and fill it with rubbish

  • Use a microfibre cloth for dusting

  • Start at the top and work down

  • Focus on one room or one task at a time

  • Invite someone over to give you a deadline

  • Complete a task before starting another one

  • This is not a time for perfection. Set a time for a task and say “that’s good enough”

Cleaning tips from other carers

Carers in our community have been motivating each other, and sharing their own cleaning tips:

ELBOW GREASE! Absolutely amazing stuff, and it’s solvent free so great for sensitive skin like mine. It gets grass stains, mud, bodily fluids all sorts. Can spray it directly onto clothes, carpets, sofas etc. Super cheap, sold in most places.”
“I am the biggest fan of vinegar, lemon juice and bicarb! Fab cleaning products. A shot of vinegar in the last rinse of your washing will kill bacteria and keep your machine free of germs.”
“Newspaper for cleaning windows …much easier and cheaper than window cleaning spray”
“I follow an app. Each day I spend 15 mins doing the basics of tidy kitchen, quick vacuum of living room, general tidy wipe down bathroom. Then 30 mins on a set room each day.”

Share and get more tips in the Mobilise Hub

Got more tips to share? We'd love to hear them over in the Mobilise Hub where unpaid carers help each other out on all things related to caring.

We also have a weekly newsletter full of carers' tips, from discounts for carers to hacks to common carer problems.

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Charles Brown
Charles Brown

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