Spring has finally sprung! What a winter it’s been! As I’m writing this post, the street sweeping truck is going around our crescent. Unfortunately, there’s still an ice mountain on the circle, and we had a dusting of snow last night!
The calendar, however, ushered in spring a couple of weeks ago.
One sure sign of spring is our annual Maple SyrupFestival. Elmira celebrated its 50th event this past weekend! The crowds were smaller this year because of the cold weather, but people still came out to enjoy the pancakes and maple syrup!
Spring cleaning is generally thought of as cleaning your home from top to bottom.
I always thought spring cleaning dated back to Europe when homes were heated with coal, oil and wood. Walls and home furnishings were cleaned to remove soot and ashes. In doing some research, I discovered there are a number of origins for spring cleaning.
wiseGEEK states that homes are completely cleaned prior to Passover. “[P]eople also get rid of any leavened bread, called ‘chametz’, which are forbidden foods … Even crumbs of chametz or a few leftover specks of leftover grains from forbidden flours need to be removed from the home, and typically, Jewish families hunt for any possible chametz crumbs the night before Passover begins.”
Wikipedia tells us that “Iranians continue the practice of ‘khooneh tekouni’ which literally means ‘shaking the house’ just before Norouz [numerous spellings], the Persian new year.” Scotland’s ” ‘New Year’s cleaning’ on Hogmanay (December 31)” is “also widespread in Ireland, New Zealand, and … North America.” “In Greece, and other Orthodox nations, it is traditional to clean the house thoroughly either right before or during the first week of Great Lent, which is referred to as Clean Week. This also often corresponds with the Julian New Year, or April 1.”
Our centrally heated airtight homes need a breath of fresh spring air. So it’s time to throw open the windows–unless you’re allergic to the budding trees!
The bright spring sunshine will likely expose a few cobwebs.
So let’s get started and turn over another leaf!
You may complain that you don’t have time to spring clean your home from top to bottom. If you’ve read any of our previous newsletters, I always recommend that you start with a plan.
Create a Master List
Go through your house thinking about one room at a time. Your master list should contain all of the projects that you want to complete. Estimate how long you think each project will take. Be realistic.
The next step is to prioritize your list, and determine which room you will work on first.
When you schedule cleaning sessions in your planner or calendar, you’re making a commitment to do the required work.
You may not be able to complete a room all at once. If necessary, divide it into sections, and work on one section at a time. If you only have one hour, pick a project from your list that you can complete in that time period.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to do all the work yourself. If you want to clean a number of areas, schedule a family meeting. Involving the whole family in the process can teach them valuable life-long skills.
Before starting any cleaning session with children, remember to keep their attention span in mind. You might be able to clean for 3 or 4 hours at one session, but most children can’t stay focused for that length of time. Try to make it fun!
It’s also a good idea to schedule a snack break; prepare snacks ahead of time. Plan ahead–when cooking, double a recipe and freeze one batch. At the end of the day when you’re tired, you’ll have an easy meal!
Stock up–cleaning supplies, garbage bags, recycle bin, empty boxes, rubber gloves, etc.
Start with the first room on your list. Focus on one room at a time. Don’t start the next room until you’ve finished.
Take a break–set a timer–to keep up your energy level. This is especially important if your children are helping.
Maintaining your freshly cleaned space will require some effort from everyone. Schedule a daily or weekly clean-up time, so things don’t get out of control.
When you’re done, don’t forget to reward your children and yourself for all your hard work!
Remember, you don’t have to complete your entire list in one weekend!
Check out our “Get the Associate Scoop” section below. Martina of Naturally Clean provides some great natural cleaning solutions.