Emma Hollingworth: Make hay while the sun shines – or get some spring cleaning done and feel good about it...

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The glorious sun we had last weekend seemed to unlock something which has been dormant for the last few months – my inner cleaning bug.

Instead of making hay while the sun shined it was more a case of making things clean and tidy while it shined for me.

While other people were sunbathing in our beautiful parks and countryside, I was sorting, organising and throwing out.

It began the moment I woke up with the sun streaming through the window.

My joy at such gorgeous weather was short lived – the unexpected sunshine revealed the windows were filthy. That meant having to retrieve the very long-handled brush from deep within the bowels of the outhouse.

I sighed and put back into my wardrobe the skimpy summer dress.

Instead I dolefully grabbed my cleaning clothes and pulled back my hair as I realised I was going to have to make the most of the weather by having a much-needed clear out of the outbuildings.

Since the end of last summer, we had adopted our usual habit of piling everything up in the outhouses knowing we were unlikely to need it again for a while.

That meant deck chairs piled precariously high, with summer parasols, now covered in dust, perched on top.

And underneath all this was the lawnmower, which was the only concern of the other half. He watched while I struggled to empty out the outhouse of its clutter, just throwing in the odd ‘helpful’ query as to whether we really need to keep all this stuff.

“Yes of course we do,” I snapped. “We need all the deck chairs to sit on in the summer.”

“Well I need to be able to cut the grass or we’re going to be sitting in a meadow,” he retorted.

I bit my tongue as I ploughed on with my tiresome job, while being ‘helped’ by the three offspring, who were getting very giddy at the sight of their much-loved outdoor toys which they had not seen for more than six months.

“Yes I’ll help put the tent up – but can you please wait until mummy has finished sorting all this mess out?”

I scrubbed, I swept, I polished and I tidied while the others, seemingly blissfully unaware of my strife, had water fights on the lawn.

I even managed to clear out enough space for the other half’s precious lawn mower.

It might have been tiring work but I am really glad I did it. I feel a real sense of pride now when I walk past the outhouses which, I now know, are all in good order.

Whether they will stay that way is, of course, another matter...

Now I feel I could put my cleaning bug to even better use, like helping to keep my neighbourhood neat and tidy too.

Sheffield City Council is running its annual Big Spring Clean right now, encouraging local businesses, schools and people to get involved with keeping their local environment in tip top condition. For information on how to get involved visit: www.sheffield.gov.uk/roads/maintenance/spring