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Time to slink off for a spring clean, says recycling guru Karen Cannard

Whether you enjoy partaking or not, we’re all familiar with the annual festival that pays homage to the gods of domesticity – the good old spring clean. As a child, I was disappointed to discover it didn’t literally mean cleaning actual springs.

My metal slinky was much more interesting than the idea of cleaning, yet the notion of tickling it with a feather duster as it slunk down the stairs still had some appeal. After all, it could have given it an extra advantage in its next downhill race. In a nutshell, this probably highlights the peak of any enthusiasm I have ever held over spring cleaning, especially following the discovery that the cleaning wasn’t limited to the slinky.

Much more fun is the idea of a spring makeover, which has as much of a right to be on the calendar of seasonal highlights – and perhaps even more so than its dirge-sounding cousin.

A metal slinky
A metal slinky

A makeover sounds much more exciting. It oozes creativity and gives the promise of self-satisfaction every time you pass by the object/area that’s been the subject of your hard work. Even better if you’ve followed the principles of make-do and mend to achieve amazing results. It can be rejuvenating.

When winter rolled over to let spring have its turn in the spotlight, my own lethargy this year hadn’t quite given way to the freshness of springtime energy. However, one look at the tired old garden fence on a sunny day had me bursting with desperation to get my hands on a tin of fresh paint. No sooner said than done, it got the makeover it deserved, brightening up a corner of the garden that was in much need of a spruce up. It’s now a place to enjoy the morning sunshine or the beautiful blossom highlighted in the gardens beyond. That’s the essence of the spring makeover – freshening up the old and enjoying the results as though it were new.

The old deckchairs even got released from a dusty corner of the garage ready to be put back into service. Having finally found new sling fabric, they are now ready for the summer.

As for the kitchen, petite as it is, a day spent rearranging worktops, decluttering cupboards and rediscovering old favourites that had been stuffed in inaccessible corners, helped bring new life to a tired space.

A makeover doesn’t have to be a major deal. It can be a simple repair, a small upcycling project or finding a new purpose foran underused object. For instance, I am sure I am not alone in my fascination with pallets and the potential they offer for DIY projects, especially having watched my husband recently turn some into a new compost bin for the allotment.

A seasonal makeover can also be a great opportunity to overhaul other parts of your life, too – such as reflecting on any positive changes that you experienced during lockdown and finding a way to add them to your regular routines moving forward.

It could also mean an overhaul of your shopping list, identifying the things that are regular consumables and giving those a makeover, too, such as exploring reusable alternatives that are better for the environment and your wallet.Suffolk Recycling has a brilliant Refill Directory of shops that sell refillable products and reusable products: suffolkrecycling.org.uk/reduce-your-waste/refill-directory

Who knows, it could even influence the way you tackle that spring clean – switching from disposable wipes to washable wipes or rags for every task, with a squirt of an eco-friendly household detergent from a refilled bottle.

Of course, if you’re feeling the urge to give your interior walls a fresh lick of paint, keep an eye out for Community Repaint’s Recolour products, a recycled paint range that can be found at several St Nicholas Hospice Care stores in West Suffolk https://communityrepaint.org.uk/need-paint/find-your-nearest-scheme/

As for your actual springs, I wouldn’t bother – not unless it’s necessary for mechanical maintenance. That slinky never did go down the stairs any faster.

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