At the beginning of last year, my eldest daughter had just bought a house with her boyfriend and I put in a lot of time and energy helping with the decorating and cleaning. Of course we're not talking a quick wipe with a cloth sort of cleaning. We're talking scrubbing with an old toothbrush into every nook and cranny sort of cleaning. Blast it with every chemical cleaner known to man sort of cleaning. The sort of cleaning that leaves you exhausted, aching and with painfully tortured skin on your once soft, smooth hands.
My own home was sadly neglected as a consequence.
Not so this year.
This year, armed with my weapons of choice - a micro-fibre cloth, Parazone spray bleach and the trusted old toothbrush - I am attacking the dirty corners of my home with great enthusiasm.
I have already used two whole bottles of bleach cleaner on window frames and skirting boards and two old toothbrushes have been rendered almost bristle-less. And I am loving it.
I love rinsing out my cloth and watching the filthy water swirl away down the sink. I love the smell of clean. I love taking control and creating order from chaos.
I am finding all sorts of minor (and major) repairs that will need to be attended to over the coming months and there are plenty of places that would benefit from a lick of paint. Rather than being daunted by the mammoth task ahead, I feel inspired and ready to tackle anything. It really is like seeing things with the fresh eyes of someone moving into a new home.
I would love to think that my rooms would stand up to inspection by the Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners of the Channel 4 series - that I could be worthy of joining their bucket wielding army, making Britain a cleaner place one house at a time. Any illusions I may have had about that were shattered when my eldest daughter run a finger over a forgotten shelf in my kitchen to reveal more than a little dust!
My battle against the dirt and disorder continues. Every shiny surface a triumph for me. Whether I will ever make enough headway to compensate for the tireless mess makers that are my children (and husband), I don't know... but I will persevere. And love every minute of it.
My top tips for Spring Cleaning:
1) Invest in good rubber gloves to protect your hands. I use bizzybee multipurpose gloves. They are comfortable, easy to get on and off and are still going strong after a serious amount of scrubbing!
2) Keep your cleaning equipment clean and well organised. When you are trying to create order from chaos in your home it helps to start with order in your brushes, sprays and cloths.
3) Never underestimate the power of elbow grease. No matter what claims the cleaning products make about 'simply wipe clean' or 'rinse away for a sparkling finish', a bit of elbow grease invariably gives a better result.
4) Don't be afraid of the dirt. Dive in and deal with it.
5) Vacuum walls and ceilings as well as floors. It might look a bit crazy but it is amazing how much dust can accumulate on those surfaces.
6) Remember that the more effort you put into your cleaning, the more calories you are burning. A good work out with the bonus of a clean home - perfect.