Spring Cleaning Time

spring clean·ing

noun: spring clean; plural noun: spring cleans; noun: spring cleaning; plural noun: spring cleanings

  1. a thorough cleaning of a house or room, typically undertaken in spring.

verb: spring-clean; 3rd person present: spring-cleans; past tense: spring-cleaned; past participle: spring-cleaned; gerund or present participle: spring-cleaning

  1. clean (a home or room) thoroughly.

cleaning ladySince this is the first weekend since Easter that dh’s and my calendars were empty, and it was supposed to rain and storm (note I said “supposed”) – it is the perfect weekend for staying off the boat and off the lake and getting our spring cleaning done.

Now, understand, I hate cleaning! About the only thing I enjoy that even remotely resembles cleaning is straightening up my bookshelves, and I don’t do that very often. Dusting? Why?? I’ll only have to do it again in a week. I’ve never understood why Carol Burnett’s iconic cleaning lady smiled, either!

However, in Missouri in the spring, we have this phenomenon known as “oak pollen.” It makes people cough and sneeze, it coats everything left outside with a sticky yellow dust that rolls into breadsticks when you try to clean it up. In a word: nasty!

Spring cleaning here in the Garrett household has less to do with the inside than getting that sticky, nasty mess off the patio furniture, the railings and the floor. So, to make myself feel less like I’m wasting my time, I opted for some quick research on, you guessed it, spring cleaning.

Of course, there’s no way to know when or why this tradition began, but I found it interesting that some researchers trace the origin of spring cleaning to the ancient Jewish practice of thoroughly cleansing the home in anticipation of Passover, during which they are to rid their homes of even small remnants of chametz (leavened foods) for the length of the holiday. Therefore, observant Jews conducted a thorough “spring cleaning” of the house.

Catholic churches thoroughly cleans the church altar and everything associated with it on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday, in the Spring. In the Orthodox churches it is traditional to clean the house thoroughly either right before or during the first week of Great Lent, referred to as Clean Week, that corresponds with the Julian New Year, or April 1.

The Iranian practice “khooneh tekouni”, which means “shaking the house” and happens just before the Persian new year on the first day of spring, means a serious cleaning of everything from the drapes to the furniture. The Scottish do “New Year’s cleaning” on Hogmanay (December 31), a practice now also widespread in Ireland, New Zealand, and to North America.

In North America and northern Europe, the custom found an especially practical value due to those regions’ continental and wet climates. During the 19th century in America, March was often the best time for a thorough cleaning because it was getting warm enough to stop using the fireplaces and coal furnaces, open windows and doorLOTOs, and get the dust, ash and soot out of the house.   [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_cleaning]

Now, all the historical precedent in the world isn’t going to make me enjoy spring cleaning, but I do like the results when we enjoy our morning coffee on our nice clean deck.

WHAT’S YOUR MOST DREADED SPRING CHORE? (Or are you one of those unnatural types that actually like cleaning?)


Another story in the continuing River’s Bend series.


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18 thoughts on “Spring Cleaning Time”

  1. I have never even once thought of where “spring cleaning” came from. This was interesting. I should get some deep cleaning going soon. The chore I dread the most is cleaning blinds and windows.

  2. Interesting article. I think the Scots’ Hogmanay has more to do with “first footing,” though, ( with emphasis on bringing a gift or sharing a dram with each neighbor crossing the home doorstep. I certainly saw and happily participated in the Hogmanay dram sharing mysel’! 🙂 The origins of this Scots word are diverse (at least five variations before its current form around 1600) but I think most believe it came in early on with the Viking winter solstice, which fits with other ancient customs. (In fact, Norse “Yule” is still celebrated in the more northern islands.) There also may have been a related ceremonial to-do with the home hearth and its ashes, but the word “redding” is more in line with the tradition than “cleaning” is, even though modern Scots likely do “tidy up” before having guests.

    To answer your question finally—I’d rather have a dram any day than any cleaning task one can name. 🙂

  3. I have 3 kiddos and the laundry just piles no matter how much I keep up on it haha. I don’t mind washing it but it’s the folding ! I think with all the technology today they should create dryers that also fold!

  4. Hi Tracy. Great blog. We’re having tons of allergens flying everywhere since we had an early spring and snow on Easter Sunday. I hate dusting. I have those fuzzy dusters but nothing really works like good ol’ Old English, Pledge and worn out T-shirts (I cut off the bottoms below the sleeves of my DH’s tees). I’m a collector, so even when I had a housekeeper they said I had to get rid of most of my books and lots of my pictures and vases, etc. that are all around my house. They left when I had knee surgery and I didn’t want a housekeeper here while I was recuperating. I guess my “absolutely no” to removing “my stuff” gave them reason to stop coming until I call and I haven’t called. So definitely a good old fashion dusting is the spring chore I really don’t like. My first, however, is my typical January 1st. organizing and reshelving books in my office. Ouch it hurts, just thinking about it. Hugs and great post, P

    • I, too, have lots of knick knacks, Phyliss, and I hate moving them around to dust.

  5. Interesting post, Tracy! I particularly hate to clean the miniblinds. As a matter of fact, I am considering taking them down this year once and for all… And slowly, slowly, I am removing, rather than adding things to my house because I am getting tired of the dusting of knick knacks. Simplify–simplify is my motto 🙂

  6. I really don’t mind the cleaning. I am just so far behind I doubt I will ever catch up. It is frustrating to dust, or do the floors and then have to do them again a few days later. We have 3 dogs that shed too much and drag all sorts of dirt and grass in from outdoors. I have resigned myself to not having clean flood for more than 20 minutes until we are dog free – which may never happen. (Maybe just one small one, not 2 large and one medium like we have now.)
    What do I hate doing most? Going through the piles of things I haven’t been able to get to and deciding what I will keep and what will have to find a new home.

  7. I have a really hard time getting behind the couch & reaching up to take down the living room drapes. They are sheer, so not heavy, but the long rods are awkward!

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