Spring Cleaning

Anne here, musing about "spring cleaning," it being that time of year in the northern hemisphere. WILLIAM STRUTT  SPRING CLEANING  1892
And even though it's autumn here in Australia, I've just had a mini-spring clean as well. It's a little bit part of my ongoing decluttering process, but it was also a very definite spring clean, where I went through everything in my old-fashioned walk-in pantry and tossed a lot of stuff out, washed all my storage jars and relabelled those that needed it, and scrubbed down the shelves. And didn't it make me feel good when it was done?

I also went through my wardrobe and put a stack of my summer clothes, and a good few of last year's winter clothes that I no longer want, to be put out to the chartity collection that's coming. And while I was at it, I completely emptied the wardrobe, and wiped it out with a damp cloth, and then again with a cloth sprinkled with lemon myrtle oil. Lemon myrtle (backhousia citriodora) is an Australian native plant which has a fresh lemony scent with a slight eucalyptus tang. My wardrobe smells gorgeous. 

But I don't dare decide to attack the whole house at once. I tend to get a bit perfectionist, and so have trained myself to only do a small chunk at a time. Not for me the whole week of dusting, scrubbing and polishing that my female ancestors used to do. I have vague childhood memories of it. Such a drama — and yes, the house was beautiful and clean afterwards, but . . . a whole week? To clean? Not for me.

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Spring Cleaning

Daffodils in snow 2011c

Really stupid daffodils

Joanna here:

I’m in my fiercely picturesque little house in the mountains, not so much snowed in as iced in. When others can comment smugly on being under a foot or two of snow, I have to tag along behind saying, "I know it looks like only a little snow. But it’s ice. Solid, serious ice!" I punctuate.

Which brings us to Spring Cleaning .The vernal equinox is March 21 and charging down upon us at a great rate, even if some few of us Wenches are doing the blizzard thing.

My daffodils all up and down the woods were getting to be a big, sassy, yellow crop. They are now all frozen except for about a dozen I’ve got inside. I ran up and down the hill in freezing winds to save them. This morning I stopped by the pots of fuchsia in the kitchen and told them they should be durned glad I didn’t decide to put them out on the back porch last week when everything was all warm and enticing out there.

But I digress. Spring Cleaning.

For me this is moving al the furniture and sweeping underneath. It’s slapping a dab of paint on the door jambs where my cat sharpens her claws in the wood.(Twenty-two million trees outside and she comes inside to sharpen her claws.) And I’m metaphorically mudwrestling with all the computer problems I’ve been living with so patiently.



Wenches stack anne

Too many books? Impossible.

Pat says: 

Wench flowers mjp

Mary Jo's garden

Spring cleaning? What is this called spring cleaning? Every so often I get it in my head to paint a room or move the furniture and cleaning happens, but that’s seldom in spring. In spring, I’m outside in the garden. So maybe spring cleaning is hauling out dead leaves, spreading weed emergent killer, and planting pretties? Although this spring, after a rainy winter, we hired a window cleaner. All the glass in the house is now sparkly. But note, I didn’t do it!



We go to Anne. She’s nice and warm and I am all envious.

Anne here.

Even though it's autumn in Australia (we don't say "fall" — it's always "autumn") I'm approaching a kind of spring cleaning in that I'm

Wenches fend

What? You have clutter?

preparing (in between bouts of writing) to pack up my house and move out, in order for it to be renovated. Years of precious clutter are going to have to go. I'm a pack-rat, and even though I've battled this tendency for ages, teaming up from time to time with Flylady, and Marie Konda, and Feng Shui and think I've done pretty well, as I look around me, I have to confess I've only scraped the surface.

Still, there is a book to be written and a deadline creeping towards me, so that's my priority for now. If I can't manage to write AND declutter and pack up the house, I'll have to pay someone to stuff it all in boxes and store it, and I'll sort it out the other way. Like that old TV show — Your Life On The Lawn, where they'd empty a family's household goods and furniture — everything! — into the back yard, and then they'd only take back inside the things they really wanted.

Still, I'd rather do it all myself before I have to move. I don't have a date yet, so there is still a possibility I can finish a book AND pack up a house. Do you believe in fairies? No, me neither.


Susan says:

Right now the only one doing spring cleaning around here is my husband, who's outside as I write this, pushing the snowblower up and Wench Henry Meynell Rheam - A Maid Sweepingdown the driveway. So much for spring. But soon, like the the trees and flowers, we'll all be wanting to freshen up our look after the gray winter drear, emerging and blooming a little in the warmer temps and sunshine. For me, first off, I want to get fresh air in, stale air out. I like to clean a little, paint a bit, move some furniture–I want things to look and feel different once spring arrives. Really I'm not a stickler about a clean, organized home (as a mom to three boys, my housekeeping standards sank long ago!). I'll email the garden guys to do the yard clean up, sign on for a boatload of mulch, visit the garden centers and bring home some new plants and get those in–beyond that, I'm not much of a gardener (the allergies remind me of that each year!).  
Spring can be so energizing and lovely, but deadlines take precedence over seasonal changes. If there's time, I might tackle my office and sort out the papers and books, dust off the knicky-noos, or clean the closets, haul some things off to Good Will and generally straighten up. But spring cleaning is often an ideal more than a reality. This spring I'm working toward a deadline–so if I get anything done beyond opening the doors to let the fresh air dance around and blow out the old air, I'm doing good! The rest can wait a bit!    
Wench cleaning bear andreaAndrea admits cleaning isn't something she thinks about much:
Spring cleaning . . . hmmm, does that mean we only have to think about scrubbing and vacuuming four times a year? Now that’s an idea I could readily embrace! I am  not one of those people who subscribe to the “cleanliness is next to godliness” view of the world.  I do like things moderately neat, but a wee bit of dust here and there peacefully coexist. I do take a rather odd satisfaction in reordering my clothes drawers for the seasons. Winter sweaters go into storage closets as I delight in neatly folding spring top in lovely orderly piles. They look so organized . . . for about a day. My idea of luxury is having house elves, who would joyfully come in and scrub the bathroom every week. (Teddy heard me grumbling and has volunteered to take on those duties, in addition to copyediting myy manuscripts. I think he deserves an extra pot of honey.)
Mary Jo joins in with:

I've known people for whom spring cleaning is a near sacred rite, using toothbrushes to scrub Wench duck mjogrout, moving furniture to see what lurks below, and excavating cabinets and closets. 

I am not one of that breed.  I like to maintain a general orderliness, but to be honest, if I can't see dust and murky accumulations, they don't bother me.  I'm on the short side, so I am blithely unconcerned about the tops of bookcases and the dusty moldings.  My house is large, and many strange and curious things can migrate into hidden places.  On the whole, I believe in letting them rest in peace. 

Spring is often a time for general medical and dental appointments for me and the cats.  It's also a time to get the deck pressure washed and to think about what flowers to plant in the boxes out there. 

I notice flowers a great deal more than dust. <G> 


What about you? Are you planning an overhaul of the house, or your body, or your computer right about now as the seasons change?