Airing Out and Coming Clean

Updated: Nov 5, 2019

Snake plants purify the air and give off oxygen at night. Perfect for bedrooms.

It's finally spring! Time to open the windows, let a fresh breeze blow through the house, and air out all the yucky cold weather germs. With three small children, our house has seen its share of germs over this winter.

The desire to bid the winter ado and usher spring's freshness into our homes is ubiquitous. It's only natural to want a clean home. Even birds instinctively tidy their nests. For some, freshening up is as simple as throwing open the windows and a bouquet flowers picked from the garden. Others may have a well-planned, detailed, and thorough spring cleaning itinerary. To each their own.

Picking flowers is one of my favorite simple pleasures. Flowers make a bigger impact in a simplified room. This tiny bouquet of crocus and blue bells are the first arrangement of the spring.

I usually tend toward the flowers and open window variety of freshness, especially with little ones underfoot. A bit of spring cleaning to give the house an extra scrub after a long winter seems pretty wonderful...if it's not me doing the cleaning that is. Somehow, I don't think I'm alone.

It's time I come clean. Cleaning and I have a complicated relationship at best.

I am a driven (leader) and fairly strong-willed (jerk) person. I was born scowling. Ask my mom. I was surely very frustrated by my newborn body's inabilities! It has taken a while to embrace the way I am, but I am slowly getting there. I have heard it said that both Mother Teresa and Donald Trump share the same personality type and were born to lead. Each day when I wake, I need to try to remember to choose Teresa and serve others. She was the best - yuuuuugely successful.

Growing up, I did not wish to adhere to gender stereotypes which included cleaning. I appreciated order, because it allowed for efficiency, but since, in my brain, cleaning was something being imposed on me as a female, I resisted. Instead I devised an egalitarian chore chart for my three brothers, sister, and me. This chart enabled us to take turns completing chores whether they were considered girl jobs (ex. setting the table) or boy jobs (ex. taking out the trash). The chore chart I hung on the fridge was not successful and did not win me sibling of the year. Go figure.

Eventually I was able to stop dying on the hill of domestic inequality and submitted to the proverbial stone up the hill nature of housework; I dislike both hills. It should come as no surprise that spring cleaning has never been my thing. Anyway, when the weather is nice, who wants to be stuck inside cleaning? Not me! We've got gardening, picnicking, hiking, and biking to do!

When I would make an attempt at cleaning up, I was always aggravated and distracted by the clutter. Where do I put this? Will the kids notice if I toss this? I forgot about this, maybe I should waste fifteen minutes looking at it. Time would slip away and not much would get done. I would spend most of my time dealing with stuff instead of dealing with dirt. So frustrating!

Decluttering by category was the key to putting our house in order once and for all. No more shuffling things from room to room or similar items spread all throughout our house. Everything has a place now and there is so much less to keep track of. Our house is much easier to clean since decluttering. Of course that doesn't mean it's ever spotless. We cook, have pets (and litter boxes, blah!), and muddy shoes. Our home is very much lived in. Just because we aren't doing battle with heaps of stuff, doesn't mean that we cease to live in a natural world of dirt, dust and grime.

The difference is that now the dirt is much more noticeable without the distraction of clutter and quicker and easier to clean up. For this reason, we tend to keep after the filth more regularly...well, as regularly as you can with three little kids who need lots of playing, snuggling, and snacks. Anything that wasn't loved enough to dust, find a place for, put away, fix or otherwise take care of has been edited out of our home. This gives us a lot more time and energy for what matters (including the playing, snuggling and snacks).

Simplifying your home and life has many wonderful benefits.

It's really not all about having a clean house. I'm not going to lie though, having an easy to clean house is a pretty sweet perk.

I now have a healthier idea of spring cleaning. I see it as a time to improve the health of our home and take care of important jobs that don't need to be done very often and therefore tend to be forgotten. For instance, a thorough cleaning of the dryer vent to prevent a fire. Resealing our grout does not hold the same importance in this stage of my life - that one will have to take a rain check.

My middle daughter and husband really enjoy our stick vac, so I graciously oblige.

Like most other things in life, the best approach to spring cleaning is KISS (Keep It Simple Sweetheart). If you have a family of able-bodied people, a team effort is in order. Come up with a simple plan, delegate tasks and reward yourselves for a job well done. Show your home some love and be grateful for it and each other in the process. As long as you are able to prioritize and be realistic, spring cleaning is a good thing.

Using natural cleaners means even your littlest helpers can chip in. So many natural home blogs have recipes including Wellness Mama.

Speaking of "good things", perhaps you are one of the few who, like Martha Stewart, makes a spring cleaning checklist. Maybe you enjoy checking off the boxes. Kudos to you! Perhaps cleaning is cathartic for you. I will admit that at times I do actually enjoy cleaning (*gasp!). It can be meditative. Some of my best ideas come when washing dishes. It can be gratifying to see a task through from beginning to end with visible results, even if they are short-lived and you are the only person who notices your hard work. (Teresa not Trump! Teresa not Trump!)

Chances are, one warm day soon, when I open the windows to air out the house, I may give the panes and ledges a quick wipe down because it just feels good. I am more grateful for my imperfect little home since decluttering and this makes me want to take care of it. And, for those rubber-gloved cleaning machines out there, if your home is clutter free, an annual cleaning fest will be even more enjoyable and easy. In fact, you might finish your list so quickly, that you find yourself with plenty of time left to take off for the hammock, a lemonade, and a good book.

#springcleaning #declutter #cleaning #simplifying #wellnessmama

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