Spring Cleaning and Spring Decluttering

How many hours a week do you spend cleaning your home? Which room in the house gets the most attention? Do you ever have an annual spring clean where you go above and beyond your normal cleaning routine? Results of questions like these have recently been published by re-commerce specialists musicMagpie in time for National Spring Cleaning week (16th- 23rd March). The results of their research into the nation's cleaning habits reveal some interesting and positive results. I've seen the full survey results and they make fascinating reading. 

Here are the highlights:
  • People in the West Midlands spend the most hours cleaning per week (5 hours) and the South West spend the least amount of hours. On average the rest of us spend 2-3 hours per week cleaning.
  • The kitchen takes up on average 50 per cent of total cleaning time. Bathrooms then take second priority.
  • A third of people questioned cleaned their bedroom the least. 
  • People in East Anglia are most likely to do an annual spring clean.
  • Men spend almost as much time as women cleaning.
  • Almost 50 per cent of those questioned replied that they 'sometimes' enjoy cleaning.
  • Most people do their own cleaning and would prefer not to pay someone else to do it for them. 

For most of us, cleaning is a task we squeeze into our busy schedules. We prioritise the kitchen and bathroom, the trouble spots, above other rooms but we don't necessarily see the need for a traditional annual spring clean. 

These days we're more likely to have a good clear out of our clutter around the spring equinox than a traditional spring clean. A sign of our affluent times is that most of us have more stuff than we actually need and our clutter can be detrimental to creating a restful ambience in our homes. Constantly having to move piles of clutter from surfaces and the floor really slows us down as we clean our homes. My 16 year old has the smallest room in the house yet his room probably takes longer to clean than any other due to his belongings detonating over every available clear space. Needless to say his bedroom is the least cleaned room in our house and the one I close the blinds to when the window cleaners appear. 

So, clearing our clutter can help calm our homes and also speed up our cleaning but how can we better deal with long-term clutter? MusicMapgie have consulted Dr. Elizabeth Forrester a clinical psychologist who specialises in obsessive compulsive disorder and hoarding (recognised as a related problem of OCD). Her insights into the psychology of hoarding are useful for anyone wanting to understand why we collect clutter. Whilst most of us don't have severe hoarding problems requiring clinical help we probably hang onto items for far too long and avoid dealing with surplus belongings, especially the more they pile up (I know this happens with my ironing pile and paperwork).  

According to Dr. Forrester lack of time is one cause of clutter building up, others are:
  • Poor memory – the fear of forgetting about something should it be out of sight.
  • Adopting a 'this may come in handy' attitude.
  • Fear of deprivation – worries that you won't be able to obtain that item in the future.
  • Heightened sentimentality about possessions.
  • Fears of making a mistake and regretting throwing an item away.
  • Perfectionism – owning variations of the same product to have 'the right thing for the right job'.
“Spring cleaning is a great opportunity to get rid of unwanted clutter that has accumulated over the year. Having too much clutter around us is not good for our psychological well-being. It is often the case that low mood and depression may have led to a problem with clutter, and it can keep that low mood going. It’s depressing living in a cluttered and untidy environment which if not careful can lead to isolation due to being too embarrassed by clutter to have visitors in our home ”. Dr. Elizabeth Forrester

Dr. Elizabeth Forrester's tips for decluttering this spring

1. Have a daily sort out time, perhaps 30 minutes once you've come home from work.
2. Put things away as soon as you've finished with them.
3. Set achievable targets with clear goals. For example, sort out one drawer each evening.
4. Don't bring things into your home if you don't have space for them.
5. Take action. Don't ignore or clean around clutter, it won't go away by itself.
6. Don't get extra storage. This is just a quick fix idea that avoids the problem.
7. Don't keep old, worn out or tired items. You probably won't use them again.

So this weekend, maybe forgo the cleaning and deal with some long-term clutter instead. And if it's CDs, games or mobile phones cluttering up your home musicMagpie might be the solution. It's an easy and efficient way of removing unwanted items and raising some cash with a free courier delivery service. I might suggest it to my son.

Many thanks for all your comments on my last post. Connecting with others who share similar values is a huge benefit of blogging. 

Today I'm having a very quick clean of the house and attempting to reduce my ironing pile a little. This morning after watching the magical solar eclipse via pinhole I met up with a lovely new friend who I met on The Minimalists tour in November. What better way to spend a morning especially as it's International Day of Happiness. This year the theme is finding happiness through connecting with people. I think we're doing OK at that here at Just a little less.

Happy Friday and weekend xo



  1. I really need to organize a spring decluttering/cleaning in my house. I think that Dr. Forrester's tips could help me as I have to focus on the fact that I should slow down my schedule.

  2. I must clean my flat, but I can ' t tell that i lve thi sactivity and I like, sometimes I like the result of cleaning, brighter windows, etc, greetings from Warsaw

  3. Fascinating! Are the full survey result available online? I often wonder about others cleaning habits. My big weekly cleaning can take 1.5-3 hours, depending on how much I do and how fast I go, but I have no idea how much extra time is spent cleaning up the kitchen and whatnot that I do throughout the week.

    1. Yes, it all adds up doesn't it! I don't think the full survey results are available online although there is more from Dr. Elizabeth Forrester over on the musicMagpie blog.

  4. I am guilty of "heightened sentimentality about possessions". I get this ridiculous feeling that every object has feelings and a soul and it would be hurt in some way if I discarded it. Stupid I know, and I get ridiculed by my grown up kids but that's the way I am. Some interesting points here for me that have hit the nail on the head.

  5. Hey Claire,
    I simply don't believe the statistic about men cleaning as much as women. I can testify that all the men in my house wouldn't know where the vacuum is kept, let alone the cleaning products. Clean just happens in this house as far as they are concerned.
    Fascinating post. I'm gearing up for a huuuge Spring clean and de-clutter of the loft. I really enjoy cleaning. There's nothing nicer than a clean home.
    Leanne xx

  6. Great post though I find it difficult to believe that men do just as much cleaning as women - that certainly doesn't happen in this house. I'm currently living among piles of clutter especially paper - my marking; husband's work papers and daughter's homework worksheets are litttering the kitchen. And it's getting me down. I need to do a big clear up this weekend and a major declutter over the Easter hols,

  7. Oh what a great post! I read it and take it with me, I really need to get rid of thing´s and organize at home!
    Have a great weekend,

  8. How interesting! I'm just reading Lark Rise to Candleford, which is a fascinating social history of a south Midlands hamlet in the 1880s (no idea what the TV series is like, as there isn't a story!) and there is mention of how clean some/most of the houses were and their routines… of course, the people had very little "stuff".
    I don't spring clean per se, but when the spring sun comes round, I do tend to up the cleaning stakes; I did the windows this week (ours open inwards, we don't have window cleaners!). Otherwise, I find before and after the weekend are the main times I do my cleaning apart from the daily upkeep of kitchen and bathroom. Is laundry/ironing included in those 5 hrs?!
    Decluttering happens any time for me, not just in spring ;o

  9. Very nice and easy ideas for pleasant spring decluttering! Thank you! I think it will work great with my routine! I'm pretty busy and I'm always on the move! Greets!

  10. Really interesting statistics! As a person who works as a cleaner I spend the most time cleaning kitchens and living room! There people spend the most time and it gets dirty very easy! Lovely post! Thanks for sharing! Greets, Sofa Cleaner Ltd.

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  12. Lack of time does play a big part in a clutter build up, especially in houses. But as the adage goes; prevention is better than cure. So, all it would take is simply a few minutes of cleaning a day, or a few hours of it ones a week, and you don’t have to subject yourself in a tough cleaning session should Spring Cleaning time comes. Anyhow, thanks for sharing this with us. Have a great day!

    Nathan Riley @ Steemer Atlanta

  13. Wow! It's beautiful and out of words. Actually, I have a little home in UK and too have a business there. The decor of it is build with double glazing glasses.So i wanna pick double glazing uk repair option. I need an agent! Can you help me?


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