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The Catharsis of Spring Cleaning

April 20, 2012
Shepherdstown Chronicle

The challenge of good household spring cleaning is the right timing. I like to clean my house as the last frosts fade and are replaced with new spring moss. It is at this point that I finally admit to seeing the cobwebs left behind by the dark winter silence sprinkled with dust and soot from many a cozy winter fire, lulling me into lazy complacency.

It isn't until the first real daylight savings sunset hits my backyard window panes that I really notice all the lame and failed attempts at window washing I did when it was not quite warm enough to do so properly over the holidays. I see shafts of dust basking in the late afternoon light streaming in; beams of fool's gold drifting down into my sinuses and onto my carpets.

My mother was a lovely, artistic and graceful lady. But a great housekeeper she was not. She tried to impress my younger self of the benefits of cleanliness but it actually took me two marriages, a child and many massively shedding pets to finally make me realize that a truly clean house is about equal to heaven these days .

Call me crazy but I know I am healthier in both mind and body in a tidy space. And I can find things when I need them. It alleviates a lot of chaos when things get hectic.

It is a challenge for sure, as we seem to have an abundance of hobbies that are notoriously messy. Add pets to the recipe and it can be overwhelming at best.

I have to wake up in gear to clean or forget it. It needs to be somewhat nice outside, mostly so I can see what I'm dealing with, but not too nice out or I just want to skip it and go out there and do something else. I put on some upbeat 40's style music (channeling my inner June Cleaver I suppose!) open a few doors and windows (hopefully not a stinkbug day) and get to it. I often use a trick my mother did, putting a single bloom in a vase on the bedside table, making me want to make the bed, then straighten up the whole room and so on. It gets the party started, at least for me.

The more I scrub the more I think, dream and plan. I find "aha" moments, solutions to nagging problems, ideas for writing, or song lyrics or other things I had pushed away in my thoughts. It is also useful to vent anger or frustration. It is, at times, my "Zen moment." It fills me with satisfaction to invite friends and family over after a good cleaning. It inspires me to rearrange, throw out, purge and reinvent my home. I love the way it smells when the breeze blows through and the music drifts out as I finally sit on the porch with a cold drink for a well deserved rest. I almost feel like I am on a vacation and can now relax and welcome home my loved ones.

But please don't ask me to come to your house. You'll just have to find your own bliss!

 
 

 

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