Spring Cleaning vs. Clutter Cleaning

It’s that time of year again, Spring!  At least Phil predicts that we will have an early Spring.  But for those of us in the East, it doesn’t seem that way with snow still on the ground.   Any way I look at it, Spring doesn’t come until the calendar says so, and that is March 20.  Even then (at least here in the East), the thermometer doesn’t always agree that Spring has arrived.

No matter where you are, or the weather or temp, now is the time some of us start thinking about Spring cleaning. Leading me to the question, “What’s the difference between Spring cleaning and Clutter cleaning?”  Well, that depends.  What?  Okay, permit me to explain.

First, the physical act of cleaning.  Grab that bottle of Windex, or your favorite window washing solution and clean the windows inside and out.  Don’t forget the screens if you leave them on all winter, and the rails.  If you put away your screens for the winter, pull them down from the garage and clean them if you didn’t before you put them away; then put them up.  Of course we mustn’t forget the curtains and the blinds.  Now my favorite part, open the windows and let all that fresh, spring air into the house!  Oh, it’s still 30 degrees outside?  Not to worry, when the temperature does rise, you will be ready.

Still more physical cleaning, the walls (do people still wash their walls?), the baseboards, under the furniture, up on that tippy top shelf you only clean once a year.  That’s right, busted, I know we all have those.  For me it is the top of the china cabinet.  Speaking of which, all the crystal and knick-knacks inside the china cabinet need a once over, as well as the shelves.  Vacuum and clean the furniture and upholstery, while you’re at it, fix anything that is loose or broken if you can.

Sweep off  the porch or the deck, clean off the porch swing, the patio furniture, the picnic table.  These don’t really need cleaning until the temperature is at least 50 degrees and there is no more chance of snow.  I’m not having a pool party or a picnic in the snow.

Depending on the size of your house and the number of helpers, you should have this done in one weekend.  Yeah, right.  I’m lucky to get one room done per day.  Remember that little thing called OCD I mentioned in a previous post? I get all wrapped up in trying to clean up the clutter at the same time.  It’s certainly overwhelming to say the least.  You can’t clean the coffee table until you move the ever growing stack of magazines.  Can’t throw them away, I haven’t read them yet.  Can’t move them to another location, that defeats the whole purpose.  So, I’ll just sit down and read them, then throw them away or take them to the library to be enjoyed by others.

Are we done yet?  Certainly not!  Winter clothes need to be packed away and summer clothes brought out.  This means trying things on to see if they still fit.  Are you really going to keep that favorite pair of shorts that hasn’t fit for the last 5 summers in hopes that this year they may?  Or that old, thread bare t-shirt from college?  Okay, if I don’t wear them THIS year, I will dispose of them at the end of summer.  Maybe.

Second, on to the clutter.  I define clutter as the stuff that doesn’t have a permanent home, so it just sits on the counter or the floor.  It’s that magazine you’ll read later.  The stuff you move from one end of the table to the other just so you have a place to sit and eat dinner.  The blouse resting on the couch that needs a button replaced since last fall.  The set of dumbbells you brought in from the garage so you could work out in the warmth of the house (how’d that work out for you?).  That pile of paper on your desk that needs to be filed.  This is the clutter, that once the Spring cleaning is done, must be addressed.

Another day.  I’m off to read some of those magazines.

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