Show your home some love this Valentine’s Day

Now that the Christmas and New Year festivities, and the longest dry January are well and truly behind us, it’s perhaps time to show your home some love – particularly if you are planning to sell, refurbish or extend this year.
And as today is Valentine’s Day, it is the perfect day to start reigniting the love we have for our homes.
But before you start devouring blogs by Mrs Hinch or break out into a sweat just thinking about the job in hand, take a step back and make a list of what needs tackling.
If the list is long, break it down into manageable chunks so you don’t try to do everything at once. It will be much easier to finish a job, and do it well, if you don’t feel overwhelmed at the beginning.
Once you’ve got your action plan sorted and the equipment you will need, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start.
It’s no myth that first impressions count. Indeed, buyers’ minds can be made up within the first few minutes of seeing a property, so curb appeal is extremely important. And it makes sense that if it looks as though you don’t care too much about the outside, there’s a fair assumption you probably won’t care too much about the inside either.
So, start outside and at the front so that anyone who comes to visit, whether a friend, buyer or even a Valentine’s Day date, will see your home in the best light.
Begin by cleaning the windows and the front door. If you have a gate that needs attention, either by mending it or replacing it, make sure that is also done – sometimes a lick of paint is all that is required. Tidy away the bins, get rid of any weeds from the path and invest in some potted plants to add a bit of visual interest and colour.
Similarly, if you are lucky enough to have a garden at the back, mow the lawn, tidy the flower beds, cut back any overgrown hedging, dead head any plants that have gone over and dig out any weeds. Even just a general tidy up can make a world of difference.
Once the outside has been done, you can turn your attention to the main event – the inside. If you don’t do anything else, make sure you give the house a deep clean. There are some excellent products on the market and with the sales not quite over there is still time strike a deal and invest in a decent vacuum cleaner and steam mop.
Give the windows a good clean, plus any patio doors and tackle any mould or marks that might have accumulated on the windowsills.
Invest in a feather duster so you can get to those hard-to-reach places up high or in the nooks and crannies and eliminate those rogue cobwebs.
Sweep, mop and vacuum the floors and get someone to help you move the furniture so every square centimetre is cleaned.
Bathrooms and kitchens are traditionally heavy traffic areas so ensure you spend some quality time making them sparkle. This includes cleaning out the fridge freezer and chucking out anything that has gone off. Employ a similar strategy with the cupboards and bin anything well past its sell by date.
While you are at it, be ruthless with your pots and pans and other kitchen paraphernalia. De-cluttering is good for the soul and is especially useful if you are about to move house – you don’t want to pay a removal company to take stuff you end up chucking at the other end.
Be ruthless and ask yourself if you really need all those gadgets. Get rid of all the things that have been squirreled away in the back of a cupboard or which have been taking up space on the work surfaces and that you rarely use – for example that pasta making machine you swore you needed but haven’t touched in years. Once they’re gone, you’ll be amazed how much space you are left with!
After you’ve gone over the house from top to toe, make a plan for the future. Cleaning, tidying and de-cluttering little and often is a good way forward. Not only will it take less time, it will seem less daunting than trying to do it all in one go.
Finally, even if you don’t have a Valentine to bring you flowers on the big day, support your local florist or get some from the garden to brighten up some of the rooms in the house. Not only do they look good, you will be showing your home some love.