Thursday, July 29, 2021

Spring cleaning

by Nancy Croll - Guest
| April 15, 2021 1:00 AM

Ah, spring! That blessed time when crocuses poke up through the freshly thawed ground, trees start to show their buds, and windows can stay open to let the afternoon sun bake into the house. What a wonderful season for some deep cleaning!

At my previous residence — a small, comfy rental home, Spring Cleaning was always eagerly awaited. (By me, at least. My family never really thought about it.) I’d schedule my spring cleaning for a Sunday afternoon or a sunny Monday at home. I’d throw open all the windows and doors and appear in the kitchen, armed with organic cleaners and a Dyson vacuum, ready to tackle every nook and cranny in the house. I could clean the whole house, including washing the curtains and sofa pillows, organizing the pantry, and dusting each book on the bookshelves in four hours flat. Victory felt so good.

In 2019, we were blessed to move into our forever home, which is much, much larger than our little rancher rental. We wanted a large home, as we do a lot of hosting and wanted to have space for people to come, gather, and enjoy themselves. Our desire was granted, with one tiny little caveat: The home had been vacant for almost a year and was a log home …

Anyone with a log home knows that they tend to bring the outside in. (After all, it’s a house made of trees, right??) When we moved in, we discovered quickly that we were not the only occupants. All sorts of critters and creepy “crawlies” had taken up residence in the numerous cracks and crevices of our log walls. I suited up in my yoga pants and a baggy T-shirt with Dyson and organic cleaners in hand, determined to lead a one-woman crusade against all-things-icky in my new, giant house. (My family helped this time, although asking young children to clean something is kind of like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos.)

I quickly discovered that my four-hour deep clean was now a thing of the past. Never again would I get an entire house vacuumed, mopped, dusted, scrubbed, laundered, and organized in even two days, much less four hours. I started to wonder if I’d ever get my house clean enough to satisfy myself.

Then, I thought about what I was thinking about. Satisfy myself? That seems a bit hedonistic. Does anyone else really care if my junk drawer is organized in neat little rows, with no dust at the back of the drawer? If they do care, is it really any of their dang business to be judging me for my housekeeping skills? Maybe I needed to stop trying to “satisfy myself” and focus on meeting my family’s needs instead.

My family appreciates a clean home, and I do my very best to keep up with it. However, who am I trying to impress by wiping my kitchen cabinets’ insides on a regular basis? I had to learn that my husband would rather have me sit with him and relax at night than have me hurtle around the house with a dust rag and wall mop. (Yes, I have to mop my walls. Another joy of log homes.) I had to learn to be OK with things not always looking perfect. I still love my Spring Cleaning and look forward to it every year, but I had to change my standard for myself because I just don’t have a solid week each Spring to clean things with a toothbrush. I’m OK with it now. I’ve learned to live with the imperfections and appreciate the blessings. Life is about more than just cleaning.