I have nine magazine subscriptions. When my hard copies arrive, I put on the kettle, gather them up, and plunk myself down in my retro teal twill swivel chair and get ready for a Peruse Fest! After I flip through the pages, I make a note of articles I want to read in further detail or clip for use at a little later date.
Seasonal articles and photos, even advertisements featuring food, gardening, clothes, and latest book titles all thrill me. But there’s one topic I like even more. And when people hear me talk excitedly about it, 97.5% of them groan and say, “You’re welcome to come to my house anytime!”
They’re not referring to my love of cooking or crafting. No, they are alluding to the fact that I love to clean! Yes, I enjoy mopping, scouring, wiping, rinsing, disinfecting, and buffing! And at this time of year there is a plethora of information about this subject everywhere you turn.
In the March issue of Real Simple the article “You Clean Up Pretty” touted nine tried and true tools for tidying up. Among them a swanky toilet brush and holder, absorbent cotton towels and neon colored nylon scrubbers. One of Living’s latest issues featured “The Best Way to Clean Cabinet Knobs and Pulls in your Kitchen”. Wow – you learn something new every day! However intriguing that read was, my favorite so far has to be the 42 new products listed in “Clean House Awards” in the April issue of Better Homes and Gardens! I can hardly wait to try the new microfiber glove by PureSky, Aunt Fannie’s wood surface polisher and the Bare Home all-surface cleaner. Look out – great times up ahead!
My love of cleaning is nothing new. Since my childhood days, I’ve felt a fondness for dusting furniture with a can of Pledge in my hand, washing dishes with sudsy Palmolive soap, and vacuuming carpeted and wooden floors alike with our upright Hoover. I was one of those rare children who when my parents offered an allowance, I’d answer “No, thanks.” Then I’d smile, and add, “You keep that 50 cents, it’s been my absolute pleasure to scrub every inch of our kitchen floor!”
From my journal: May 20, 2012, Newbury Park, California
“I could actually do the vacuuming today! Felt good.”
Over the years nothing has stopped me from my appointed housework. Not even ten years ago this May when I suffered a bike accident. With a broken pelvis and collarbone, I ended up in a wheelchair for a while, oh and one arm was in a sling. But, it was spring, so I just had to do my thing. Wheeling into each room, I strapped myself in. Spinning around and around, I found I could actually wield our lightweight vacuum cleaner in all directions! Talk about pure clean fun!
I’d like to think I’m special in this way, but alas, I am not. I am not alone in my desire to get my hands dirty in an effort to make our house sparkle. As a matter of fact, the ritual of Spring Cleaning can be traced back to Jewish, Christian, Iranian and Chinese religions, and cultures.
Some researchers believe the origins of Spring Cleaning began with the Jewish celebration of Passover. Before the start of this event, a thorough cleaning takes place in part, to be sure, no leavened bread or chametz is in the home. In the Christian faith, Catholics clean the church altar on Holy Thursday, the day before Good Friday. And Greek Orthodox members scrub and scour their churches for a week leading up to Lent. It’s aptly known as Clean Week. Nowruz, the Persian holiday, begins on the first day of spring. It’s then Iranians traditionally celebrate this 13-day event by cleaning or “shaking the house” to welcome in the new year. The same is true for the Chinese who sweep their homes in anticipation of their new year and to rid their houses of any bad luck or misfortune.
Interestingly enough, I just read that Spring Cleaning may actually be linked to biology. It’s thought that in winter, we’re exposed to less sunlight which effects the pineal gland. This gland produces melatonin which makes us sleepy. When spring arrives with its glorious sunshine, our bodies produce less melatonin which makes us more awake and more energized to…clean and begin anew!
For a person like me, this time of year is pure heaven. I have my list of all 499 tasks that I’ll give the white glove treatment to, as well as my stockpile of cleansers and gadgets to get those jobs done. And while some people think of Spring Cleaning as a day event, or maybe even a week, I savor it all season long! So without further ado, it’s time for me to stretch my marigolds over my gleeful hands, pull on a snug headband, and to step my feet into some sturdy shoes. Spring is here! Let the cleaning begin!