Welcome to . . .
“My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.”
-- Erma Bombeck
So . . . the idea of doing a "deep dive" into spring cleaning actually came to me last year, as a way to usher in spring here on my blog, and, perhaps, to motivate myself to get rolling on a spring cleaning plan of my own. I did a lot of research and reading and thinking -- and just as I was ready to begin writing my posts . . . the pandemic showed up instead! It just felt wrong to be writing about spring cleaning when I was in free-fall! Spring cleaning? Are you kidding me? SO not a priority for me last year. In fact, let’s just say . . . I didn’t do any spring cleaning (although I certainly had plenty of time).
Fast forward to . . . Now. A couple of weeks ago, spring started (slowly) unfolding, and my thoughts turned to spring cleaning again. I dug out all the handy information I'd stuffed away, and decided . . . heck. I'll do it now. It's spring again. I still need a spring cleaning plan. And, besides, I need all the motivation I can get! Although I love having a neat-and-tidy house (and I’m really not a slob at all), I always have a hard time choosing cleaning over the millions of other things I want to do. Spring cleaning just seems to be so overwhelmingly daunting - and not at all fun - to me. It makes me tired just thinking about it.
Maybe you, too?
Well. Join me. I've got a week of spring cleaning-related posts all tee'd up and ready to go!
Let's start at the beginning, shall we?
What IS the big deal about spring cleaning anyway?
OR . . . A Very Small History of Spring Cleaning.
Spring cleaning, now, in our contemporary times, is an annual feel-good ritual that gives us a chance to catch up on chores, purge our closets, and welcome spring with fresh energy (and citrus scent!). But in the way-way-back-times, it was actually a necessity for health and well-being.
Before the advent of electric light and centralized heating, spring cleaning was essential in northern climates to restore indoor air quality after a long winter cooped up in a home heated and lit by coal, kerosene, wood, and whale oil -- which all left smoke in the air and soot on the windows - and every other surface in the house. Imagine the grime that would build up in a home after several months of winter!
“When you’re heating and lighting with open fires, the accumulation of grime,and the extent to which the house really got dirty from staying warm and well lit over the course of winter is beyond the comprehension of modern people.”
-- Susan Strasser, author of Never Done: A History of American Housework
So in the spring, houses were turned inside out as women (because you know it was women) hauled out rugs, curtains, and bedding outside to air -- while they scrubbed down every surface inside. And, back then, there was no indoor plumbing; no running water inside the house (it had to be carried in from elsewhere). No washing machines. No spray bottles of cleaning products. No places to “send things out” to be dealt with somewhere else . . . by someone else. No carpet cleaning services. Just a lot of back breaking work! And absolutely essential for improved air quality and a better standard of healthy living.
Here we are, more than a century later . . . still spring cleaning! Why? Why are we still doing this . . . now that we have electricity and central heating? Well. Part of it is due to our natural sleep-wake cycles. We DO sleep more in the winter months, and our energy levels drop. It's dark. It's cold. We just don’t have the emotional capacity or energy to deal with “keeping up” during the winter (and especially after the holiday crush). When spring - and longer days - return, we feel more energetic and ready to take on chores and household tasks again. Besides, our contemporary lives present their own hardships and impediments to cleaning. We may not have soot to deal with, but we do have jobs and commitments and children and, well . . . a pandemic.
So. How about YOU? Are you eager to get started with your spring cleaning chores? Or are you, like me, overwhelmed by the process (or . . . I should specify . . . overwhelmed by how much time the process takes)? Wherever you fall on the spring cleaning continuum, c'mon along this week for some tips, tricks, and strategies!
Spring Cleaning Tip of the Day
Always work from top-to-bottom.When you think about how to spring clean your home, it’s important to start from the ceiling down. This will force debris downward and keep you from having to re-dust or re-clean your space. If you have a vacuum with an extension hose, use it to get cobwebs and dust from your ceilings and fans first. Then dust your furniture and other items before vacuuming all the dust and debris off your floors. It will save you time. (Today's tip is from Sylvane - Indoor Health Matters.)
Have a good spring cleaning tip of your own - or some spring cleaning advice you'd like to share? Please pass it along in the comments -- and I'll share in my post on Friday!