In India, there is no such thing as spring cleaning. You keep your house clean throughout the year and years yet to arrive. You either do not throw your clothes on the floor or hear from your mother. But yes, there is an alternative to spring cleaning– cleaning for Diwali.
The logic behind cleaning during this festival is pretty simple. Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth, visits only those houses which are clean and tidy. Not necessarily well decorated. Just clean. Where things are placed in its place, the floor is well broomed and wiped, and there’s no spider web… you get the flow.
Keeping that in mind, you do not necessarily need expensive products with complicated chemicals in them. Sometimes even a little drop of vinegar could do the job!
1. It is better to do the job with the whole family, assigning each person a duty. Like the kids can clean their room, thus, learning a bit of responsibility. Teenagers can wash their room, vehicle and the computer. And so on.
2. Go through each and everything in your house, ask yourself if you need it and if you do not need it, why are you keeping it? Does it hold some sentimental value you for you? Does it make you happy in any way? Be stringent in dumping away stuff you do not use or do not make you happy. Separate the recyclables from non-recyclables, to be sold from not to be sold and makes piles suiting your need.
3. Then allot a house to each item. Books in the shelves, nonfiction on top and fiction at the bottom. Random papers at the corner. Few showpieces in the centre. Clothes in wardrobe, makeup in the vanity, sneakers in the hallway and not in the room. And so and so forth. Little bits of miscellaneous objects can be placed in a cup or platter. And when you find a house for them, you can keep them there. Or you can put them in a dividable compartment!
4. To create a dividable compartment, all you need is a cardboard box, glue, covering material like fabric or paper and cardboard strips. Cover the box and strips of cardboard with the covering material. Now place the strips along with the cardboard box, creating divisions to suit your need.
5. Now is also the time to throw away the lone pair of socks, a single pair of earrings, holed underwear and anything useless. You probably are not going to find the pair that disappeared. So might as well leap. You should also make do with books and magazines you no longer read. Half of them are just taking spaces like pretty little showpieces. Someone else would have a use for them.
6. Look around for anything that you can sell like furniture, mobile, clothes, television etc. This will help you not only get rid of space-consuming items but also help you financially. If you find dual-use for an item, well and good!
7. Be done with the laundry. To remove stains use vinegar or alcohol. Add salts to prevent colour runoff. Use rice starch to starch clothes. Iron them and fold properly before storing. Let the bedsheets, cushion and pillows bask in the sunshine. Smack them with a bat to remove stuck dust particles. If you have time at hand, disinfect them or change the covers, as well.
8. Move the furniture around and find new places to keep them. It will feel like new. If you do not like the new set up, clean the previous place and push back the furniture into its previous space. This might seem tedious, but it is well worth it. You will be surprised to find the amount of dust, bugs, worms, coins, etc. collected there.
9. Fill back on your supplies. Rather than buying the actual container of toilet cleaner, dishwashing liquid, disinfectant, etc. buy the refill packet. They are cheaper, and by diluting it water, you can have more amount of it. If you find any furniture whose colour does not match the interior, you can spray paint it and make it suit the needs. Keep some flowers in the bathroom for a pop of colour. Invest in fragrance diffuser if not an aromatic candle to keep stink at bay.
10. For the kitchen, grease stains are difficult to remove. Not impossible. Just take something citric (like lemon)and rub it against the surface. Leave for a few hours. And then with either coconut’s epicarp or scratching pad or even a toothbrush, rub harshly against the surface. You can also use alcohol for it, but using lemon will leave a beautiful fragrance in its wake. You can use the same trick to remove fungus from between the tiles.
11. Rather than using rice light or electric lights, opt for candles. They give a more serene feel while also decreasing energy wastage. If anything, opt for battery operated lights. They are more flexible and can be hung anywhere, irrespective of the presence of socket. Some options or ways to hang them include: signature (where you spell some name in cursive), heart, the portrait of Goddess Lakshmi or anything related to Diwali, waves of the ocean by using different shades of blue and garden.
12. You can also make your candle if you have unused, leftover candles. For this DIY, you will need a candle, pan, wax crayons, Diya wick and a toothpick. Take a pan and heat it. Add a candle and if you own wax crayons, add them in, as well. Now, wait for it to melt. Take a toothpick and tie a wick to it. Dip the wick into the Diya and pour the melt into it. Wait for it to try. Then remove the toothpick.
13. To make rangoli, you can use day to day items like a strainer, knife, spoon, brush, comb, etc. as stencils. Spread colour through the filter or create a pattern with a comb. If you feel too lazy to create your rangoli, stick them to the surface. For this all you will need, sticker paper and printer. Search for a suitable rangoli image and print it out on sticker paper. Now, all you need to do is stick it to the floor while avoiding air bubbles.