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We share our tips for getting your cottage sparkling in the spring sunshine…

When flowers start blooming, lambs leap and the spring sun’s peeping in, throwing open the windows to a chorus of birds is one of life’s pleasures.

But the bright sun shining into every corner is also a little tell-tale, revealing neglected dusty corners, secret little spiders’ webs and smudges on windows. As the birds busy themselves with nest building, it’s a great time to do the same and knock your home back into shape.

This is especially true if you own a holiday home, and you may find our springtime checklist of holiday home chores helpful.

• Fire Risk Assessments

Check your Fire Risk Assessment is up to date. There’s a useful step by step guide at www.gov.uk if you need a little guidance.

• Gardens

Tidy, sweep and prune the garden after the winter ravages and clean out the gutters. Alfresco eating isn’t far off – hurrah! – so get the garden furniture out of storage and give it a dust down.

• First appearances

Make the main entrance welcoming: chase away cobwebs, repaint the front door and buff up fittings and check and clean outside lighting and the name sign. It’s reassuring for your guests to be sure they’ve arrived at the right house after a long journey.

• Clean chimneys

Even when the weather warms up, holiday guests like the novelty of a real fire. It’s a great time to book the sweep at the end of the winter, when he’s not so busy, and it’s reassuring to know the accumulation of winter soot is clear.

• Check alarms

Change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors if you haven’t recently and gently vacuum the outside of smoke alarms.

• Get polishing

Have the windows gleaming inside and out (bright sunshine is unforgiving of dust and smears); old newspaper gives a lovely final polish. Touch up scuffs on paintwork, using a tester pot if you haven’t saved the original paint. Spring cleaning beckons: steam clean carpets and furniture (especially if you accept pets), dust-bust skirting boards and lamp fittings and degrease extractors. Evict flies and spiders (and their holiday homes) from curtain linings

• Go shopping

Check through your inventory and replace chipped china or glassware. Be generous with the equipment – even if you don’t use a garlic press or toast rack, your guests might. We recommend white china since it’s easy to replace. Be ruthless with worn or tired bedding (duvets, pillow protectors and mattress protectors) – it’s amazing the impact crisp fresh linen makes in bedrooms.

• Light up

Turn on all the lights to make sure bulbs are working and that they match in pairs of lamps. Replenish the supply of spare bulbs and batteries for torches etc.

• Refresh the information

Pay a visit to your local Tourist Information Centre to stock up on fresh leaflets and local guides. A chaotic folder full of dog-eared, dated fliers is depressing. Read through your property information folder to ensure everything is current, and collate appliance manuals in a folder which is easy to find.

• Get snapping

Take lots of photos of your property whilst it’s sparkling in the sun and flowers are blooming in the garden. Good pictures are essential to successful marketing.

• Enjoy your guests!

The hard work’s all worthwhile when you welcome excited guests to your holiday home and read enthusiastic comments left by happy holidaymakers who’ve departed with wonderful memories. Contented guests make repeat bookings and recommend your property to others, so it’s worth pulling out all the stops.