How do you know when it’s time for Spring Cleaning? Some people go by the calendar, to know when it’s time to roll up the sleeves and muck out the house.

My grandmother was one of those housekeepers. Not that Gran’s house was ever anything less than pristine (and we’re talking “eat off the floor” clean, not a concept with which I, myself, am intimately familiar!) — but she did watch the calendar.

Every year, immediately following St. Patrick’s Day, she’d boil up gallons of water and get out the scrub brushes. Curtains were washed and ironed with starch. Rugs were draped over the clothesline and vigorously beaten with a wire gizmo that was made for the purpose. Beeswax and lemon oil were melted gently together into a furniture polish that filled the place with that evocative scent that, ever since, has spoken to me of damned hard work, dust up my nose, and rubber gloves…

Some people go by the calendar to start their spring cleaning; but others go by the weather —

Toxic Waste laundry bag - Angelic Hen Is it warm enough outdoors to throw open the windows? Yes? Then it’s time to start washing those windows, inside and out.

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Yep, that would be another way to go…

But the truly gifted Domestik Goddess relies on more subtle signs that Spring Cleaning Season is once more upon us:

  • Your mother admires your attractive beige mini-blinds; but the blinds were white, when you put them up last fall.
  • The mudroom has been earning its name for at least three weeks.
  • No matter how often you put it firmly away, the vacuum cleaner keeps re-appearing, as if by magic, in the middle of the living room floor.
  • The dog’s squeaky ball rolls underneath the spare room bed… and he refuses to go in there after it.
  • The cobwebs are getting dusty.
  • A visiting small child gazes around your home, then looks up at you wide-eyed with awe and wonder, and asks: “Did you know that people can tidy up sometimes?”

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. domestika

    @Lady Banana, let’s just say you choose to conserve (your) energy!

    @Annie, I’m with you – the right kind of weather and/or impending arrival of guests are great spurs to action.

    @Anne, there’s safety in numbers. Perhaps we need to convert those keen cleaners to our laissez-faire methods, so as not to be shown up too much?

    @Pinhole, from what I hear, your cat seems to enjoy the adventure of figuring out ways to make you dance to her tune!

    @DJ, shhh. You know far too many of my deep dark secrets… ;)

  2. The Actual DJ

    Don’t let her fool you, folks. I’ve eaten in that kitchen, and I can verify that you can eat off that floor…

    …if you’re faster than the dogs, that is!

  3. Pinhole

    Regardless of time of year, I usually start cleaning when I can no longer find the cat. As soon as she is located I immediately cease any further activity. I think she enjoys the adventure.

  4. Anne Maybus

    I think you and I share the same principles regarding housework. Thank heavens it is not jus me!

  5. Annie

    I am a weather kind of cleaner. The weather has to “feel” right for cleaning, just like when weather “feels” like watching movies and eating chili all day. Another gauge I use is if I am having guests. I clean really well when having out of town visitors, pretty well for in town visitors, extremely well for in-laws and hardly at all for friends. They already know it is a big facade!!!

  6. Lady Banana

    I don’t do spring cleaning… Far too lazy! Just try to keep things just about decent and ticking over all the time..

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