Spring cleaning keeps the mind clear

By Madeleine Byron

If you’ve ever wondered how therapeutic a spring clean is, then ask Sophie Metaxas. In between running a family business, operating her own salon after hours and mothering her seven-year-old, she makes sure there’s always time to clean because she knows how overwhelming it can be if she doesn’t.

Madeleine Caccianiga met with the Katunga woman to find out how she does it.

Research shows mental clarity, productivity and endorphins are increased by living and working in an organised space.

This is non-negotiable for Sophie Metaxas who not only works full-time for the family business, but also operates her own salon, Perfect Pinches, from home after-hours.

Working alongside her partner Gary Stanley five days a week with their yard and home maintenance business I’ll Cut Ya Grass, Ms Metaxas said it was important to enjoy the simple things in life such as spending time with their seven-year-old daughter, Abigail.

Her day starts at 5.30am and can end after 10pm which is why she said it was important to clean along the way.

“I clean the shower in the morning, I’ll spray it after the other two have been through and then I’ll have the first shower after work – that way it’s had time to soak,’’ she said.

Ms Metaxas said floors were a little more difficult.

“We have a seven-year-old so things such as slime and play dough get smooshed into the carpet, leaving us to steam clean every three to six months,” Ms Metaxas said.

“This is on top of vacuuming every surface once a week.”

Ms Metaxas said the kitchen was a team effort.

“We have a dishwasher, but we don’t use it — hand washing is quicker,” she said.

“If we’re too tired in the evening, we do them while breakfast is on the go the next morning,” she said.

Ms Metaxas said having a coffee table with drawers in the lounge room was a life-saver for keeping things in order.

“I can’t stand mess, so everything gets put away, except maybe when Abigail is putting together a puzzle or in the middle of some kind of creation,” she said.

“If it’s (the house work) getting on top of you there are so many people out there who can come in and even do half an hour or an hour for you once a week or a fortnight, to do your floors or clean out your fridge.

“There’s always that one friend that you’ve got with the spare bedroom that’s full of washing — you know the one I mean — for me if it gets to that point I know it’s beyond me and it’s become mount washmore.”

A regular day for Ms Metaxas starts with the family enjoying breakfast together.

“The little one wakes us up every morning about 5.30am and we try and lay in until about 6am,” Ms Metaxas said.

“We get breakfast which is usually oats or toast, or, if we’re feeling special, pancakes,” she said.

“We pack a lunch box if I haven’t done it the night before, and if we haven’t done the school reader we do that during breakfast to knock out two birds with one stone.”

And this is all before school drop-off at 8.30am.

The work day starts with clients across the Yarrawonga, Numurkah and Shepparton areas.

“Shepparton is every Thursday if not more, Yarrawonga is every second Monday and then we work everywhere else in between the other days, including set days in Cobram and Numurkah,” Ms Metaxas said.

She said a typical day included a full day’s work and an alternating roster for school pick-up.

“If you don’t have a support system to help out with school pick-up then you either need to find one or make the time yourself, because if you're too busy that’s when things start to snowball,” Ms Metaxas said.

One by one the family is showered before dinner for “wind down”.

“I tend to take clients after dinner because it means I get time with Abigail before bed and time with Gary outside of work pressures,” Ms Metaxas said.

Beauty clients can take Ms Metaxas into the night past 10pm.

“And then it all starts again the next day,” she said.

Spring cleaning tips by Your Organised Life owner Erin Boyce:

■ Baby steps — tackle one job at a time;

■ Sort it out — sort your stuff into three piles: store, throw out, and recycle;

■ Storage — storage containers should always be functional;

■ Central station — create a ‘command’ station for useful items such as batteries, stationery and sticky-tape.

■ Toy time — make clean-up time fun with sticky labels and a marker;

■ Paper trail — group important documents into categories;

■ Freezer pleaser — keep track of food stored in the freezer and pantry.