In my perfect world

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Spring Cleaning



By Kathy Jeffers Smith



If a young man’s fancy is turns to love in the spring, is life fair that an old married woman’s fancy should turn to spring cleaning? 

Well, nevertheless, this oldish married woman is feeling more favorable toward tackling some ambitious cleaning projects.

Maybe it’s just something about the newness of spring that energizes us, makes us want to start afresh, and encourages us to believe anything is possible.

So I started by getting out my Martha Stewart’s Home Keeping Handbook.  Yes, dear husband if you read this, I do have this book even if I had to dust it off from non-use. Martha’s book is an in-depth source of housekeeping ideas – over 700 pages!  But all I’m interested in today is the couple of pages of the spring cleaning list.  According to this agenda, I should vacuum the refrigerator coil and grill, reorganize closets, wash walls and floors, and – what’s this? -- scrub the porches and walkway and driveway?!  “Scrub” is such a vulgar word, don’t you think?.  Well, good thing we have a gravel walk and drive at least.

Back to the book . . . .  in the bathroom, throw away old beauty products (yeah but I might use that five-year-old shampoo sample in a pinch). In the home office, sort out and update files (I’ve been meaning to do that for a couple of years). Throughout the house, wash curtains and windows and screens, take books and knickknacks off shelves to dust, polish all wood surfaces . . . . in other words go room by room to sort, wash, dust, and polish anything that is not moving. Martha’s excellent suggestions list is quite long, but I believe I’ll modify my work goals to actually be able to get done before summer.

You see, housecleaning is not my favorite activity. Housework is just so . . . disheartening. That is, what you straighten or clean today will have to be done all over again tomorrow or the next day.  And my friend, Loretta, calls it the “invisible” work, because who really notices or appreciates you for your diligence?  And company only drops by when the dirty dishes are still stacked in the sink or the dog’s play toys are scattered about or the junk mail hasn’t been cleared off the table or the floor hasn’t been swept yet. (Visit me, but call first and give me 30 minutes).  I guarantee that this spring after I clean the walls, the floors, the windows, the refrigerator grill, the closets, the porches, etc. – there will be no notoriety, no pay raise, no one will call “Better Housekeeping” magazine for a seal of approval.

So, why do we do it?  Maybe it’s in us womenfolk’s DNA. Maybe it’s pride (or shame).  Maybe it’s because we love our family and want the best for them. And so every day or two we do our underappreciated housework, and suddenly each Spring we get inspired to clean every nook and cranny – again.

So now that I’ve put off getting started by reading in Martha’s book and writing this article for the paper, I can stall further by making a to-do list and gathering up the necessary cleaning implements and . . . .  But I will finish my “Martha’s list” -- while it is still Spring.  Then maybe I’ll sit out in the warm sun with a good clean romantic novel.

If I had my way, in my perfect world our homes would stay neat and clean as they were when they were new. Or maybe a house will be invented that cleans itself.

In my perfect world, we would take time to appreciate people for the mundane but necessary work they faithfully do for us.

In my perfect world, I’d always take time to thank God for giving another beautiful Spring and my strength and health to enjoy it.