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Spring Cleaning: An Introduction

Spring! The sun is out, there are leaves sprouting on the trees, and it's finally warm enough to open the windows of the house and get some fresh air in, making now the perfect time for some spring cleaning.

I was curious why it's called "spring" cleaning, so I did some research and found out that being able to open your windows plays a big role in the term. Particularly in colder climates, spring is the perfect time to clean (especially to dust) because opening the windows of the house lets the air move through and cary the dust and other airborne particles out with it, without bringing in bugs like mosquitos that arrive later in the season. Also, since the invention of commercial cleaners, opening windows helps to diffuse the smell of strong cleaners that a lot of people use in more modern times.

The "I've inhaled too much bleach because I didn't open the windows while cleaning" blues. Source

There are cultural reasons to clean house in the spring as well. For the Jewish observance of Passover, part of the ritual of preparing for the week includes spring cleaning to ensure that there are no bread crumbs with yeast around the house. And for Iranians, it signals the beginning of a new year which is the perfect time to refresh and renew everything in their lives, including cleaning the house from top to bottom.

For me, spring cleaning does feel like a good time to refresh myself and my home, saying goodbye to the winter which has brought some much needed rest and moisture to the earth, and welcoming warmer weather, longer days and hopefully many adventures that include lots of sundresses and hats (or maybe that's just me).

With all this in mind, I have decided to bring you a whole series on spring cleaning. For the next month, I'll be detailing the Home Economics viewpoints I think are important, and of course I'll mix in some modern practicalities.

Spring cleaning fun! source

To start with, here are some things to keep in mind before getting down to the nitty-gritty:

  • You can absolutely pick and choose the aspects of spring cleaning that you want to tackle. While the Home Economics view is to clean the entire house (yes, even behind the couch), I know that's not always possible. You can make all this work for you and your own situation/schedule. These upcoming posts will not only detail a super-deep spring clean, but will also give you some ideas for a lighter clean if you prefer a quicker version.

  • Don't put too much pressure on yourself to get through the whole house in one go. Come up with a schedule that will work for you - it could be spread out over a week, or over a month or even two. But planning does help get it all accomplished without forgetting anything.

  • It's a good idea to work from one end of the house to the other, and from top to bottom. Keep this in mind when making your cleaning schedule.

  • Don't forget about food for the days you have planned out to clean. Use your slow cooker, plan on eating out or ordering in, but after a day of cleaning trust me when I say that the last thing you're going to want to do is cook. Snacks are great to have around as well to keep your energy up throughout the day. This, along with opening the windows, will help you avoid looking like the lady pictured above at the end of the day.

  • Keep a to-do-later list as you are cleaning. This should be a list of things you notice that need fixing around the house, but aren't specifically related to the spring cleaning process. Things like paint that needs to be touched up, files to go through, or things that need to be mended.

  • A side note to this process is that it's also a perfect time to increase your own personal happiness by remembering to be grateful for everything. As you go from space to space dusting and cleaning and moving things around, try to remember how everything got there and be grateful for the fact that you not only have that item, but also for how it found it's way to you. For example: Cleaning a bookshelf and re-finding a book that someone gave you and being grateful for both the book and for the relationship with the person who gave it to you, or even just the simple fact of being grateful for the food in your pantry and refrigerator and for the farmers that helped grow the food. This simple exercise really does help you to feel happier, and will also help the cleaning part go by quickly.

That's it for now! Stay tuned for the next installment and be sure to let me know if you plan on joining me in this spring cleaning ritual!

**Update: you can find the next installment here!**


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