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  • Published at 05:36 pm June 11th, 2018
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Get your home ready for the festival season

Ramadan is all about the cleanse. Just as fasting gives your body a detox, so does a month of extra prayers and mindfulness sanitize your mind and soul. It makes sense, then, to apply the same spirit to your space and give it a good clean.

Given that Dhaka life makes this an extra challenge, we’ve broken it down to a series of steps to take the planning out of the equation, and let you get right down to the business of getting your home ready for that festival madness

Declutter

You have a last minute dawat, and somehow at least one essential part of every outfit option is either in the floordrobe, or tucked inside the laundry basket. You’re already late for work, and the keys have decided to play hide-and-seek. The last time you tried to open a kitchen cabinet, you ended up with a saucepan helmet. If any of these scenarios sound familiar, your first order of business is decluttering. Clutter contributes significantly to household stress, and eats up time like nobody’s business, and interestingly enough, the very act of decluttering is at once cumbersome and cathartic. Whether you’re tackling a whole room or one cupboard, the principle is the same, and can be achieved in five steps.

Step 1: Clear out

It’s hard to imagine what the final space should look like if there’s a pile of odds and ends blocking your view. So the first thing you want to do is just clear out the entire space – including the furniture, if possible. Just pull everything out of the area and when you’re left with a blank slate, you can begin to restore order.

 Step 2: Make a plan

Now that you have a clear space to work with, take into account the functionality of the area. What are you going to use it for? How will you use it? What will you need to keep in that space for it to serve its purpose? Having a sort of vision will help you arrange the space. This is a good opportunity to think of an alternate arrangement of your furniture – or even decide on replacements!

Step 3: Sort the stuff

 Once you have a plan ready, it’s time to get cracking. All that stuff you pulled out of the area now need your careful attention. Sort them into different piles – a pile of essential items that you’ll definitely keep, a pile of things that need to go. 

Should I stay or should I go?

•    If you haven’t used it in the last five years, it has to go. If it’s still in good shape, consider donating.

•    If you’re holding on to it for sentiment, let it go.

•    If you’ve never gotten around to repair it, you probably won’t. Toss it.

•    If it can be repurposed into something else that you need now, keep it.

•    If it has some kind of vintage value, consider keeping it.

Step 4:  Toss it out

You want to do this immediately to avoid the temptation of letting the clutter back in. Bag up the stuff you’re going to toss, and clean out the space you have just cleared. 

With things like clothes, crockery and furniture, you can even make an event out of the disposal by hosting a trunk show or a garage sale. If that seems too much hassle, consider donating instead of trashing outright. One man’s trash is another person’s treasure, and donations are a more eco-friendly option.

Step 5: Arrange

Now that you’ve taken the undesirables out of the equation, revert to the vision you had in your mind for the space. Arrange the surviving items according to the vision. Opting for a new furniture placement, or rethinking the utility of your space can completely transform the area. Play with the elements, and this can be a really rewarding experience.

Tip: 

It pays to plan and schedule your disposal before you even embark on your decluttering mission. That way, you’re not stuck with a waste-management dilemma on top of your original chores.

Clean

Whether it’s because you’ll be having guests for Eid, or because the household staff will be going off on holiday, it’s best to give the house a good, thorough clean, so that it stays fresh in the weeks to come even if you have no help on hand. We’ve put together some handy cleaning tips that should help make it easier.

Floors

•    While ghor-mucha is a foregone conclusion, giving the floors a wipe with a mild solution of dish soap and water will add a little extra shine.

•    For tiled floors, make a paste out of warm water and baking soda and apply to the grout, let sit for 10-20 minutes before scrubbing out with an old toothbrush. 

•    If you have carpets, this is perhaps a good time to get them deep-cleaned. Whenever the weather forecast predicts a break from the rain, consider having your rugs taken outside and given a good beating and sunbathing, before bringing them back in and vacuuming them. This will have them feeling fresh during the festival season.


Windows

•    Mix equal parts vinegar and hot water, and then use a sponge to clean the glass panes.

•    Use a damp duster to clean the grills and frames.

•    Change the curtains, or at least vacuum the heavy drapes.

Electric fixtures

•    Before tackling fixtures that are closer to the ceiling, cover your existing furniture with old sheets to catch the dirt.

•    Use an old pillowcase to dust the blades of a ceiling fan. Carefully pull the pillowcase over each fan blade, then grip down and slide the pillowcase off to trap dust inside. Follow up with a damp rag soaked in disinfectant, for that sparkle.

Silverware

•    Line a dish with aluminum foil, and make a solution of hot water, vinegar and baking soda. Place your silverware in the dish, making sure every item is touching the foil, and then carefully pour the solution over the utensils. Leave for a few minutes, and remove with tongs, and wipe dry with a clean rag.

Decorate

You have your brand new outfit and maybe a new look for Eid. Wouldn’t it be fun if you could give your home a complete makeover without breaking the bank? We’ve put together a couple of quick, fun, and most importantly, affordable tips to have your space popping in no time.

Entry

Welcome people to your home by creating a “landing pad”. A small mat or shatronji to stand on, an inviting shoe rack for people looking to doff the footwear, a mirror to open up a narrow space, are a great way to get both utility and comfort into the air. You can add a more festive look with candles and potted plants.

Bathroom

A clean bathroom is already a great start, but if you want to give the room a little pizzazz, change up the shower curtains and bath mats. That’s a quick and easy way to give it a dramatically new look. Putting up a framed print or some succulents right behind the toilet seat can also give it a cozy look.

Dining room

This one’s easy. Go nuts with your table settings with colourful runners, tasteful placemats, and cool coasters. You don’t have to wait for a big occasion to make a statement with a gorgeous floral centrepiece for the table. A trip to Aarong can pretty much give you all you need for this, but if you don’t want to brave the traffic, look online at The Inside Story for all your hosting needs.

Bedroom and drawing room

While there’s nothing like being able to give the walls a fresh lick of paint, or to install new furniture, a more budget friendly option will be to just change up the soft furnishing. Add a splash of colour with some throw pillows and rugs. Jatra has some great ones, and you can also check out Stellar’s stellar stuff.

Lighting can also make a huge difference. Play with lamps, or have a dimmer installed for your main lighting, or check out Florus Aurum’s creative lighting solutions for something completely different.

Tip:

If you’re really strapped for time and cash, consider using candles and plants in creative ways to jazz up just about any room. Repurposing everyday items such as mason jars painted over to make vases, or blankets used as throw pillows, or even bath mats fashioned from old towels can give your home a welcome touch of kitsch.