Thursday, January 12, 2012

It’s Time For Some Winter Cleaning

Our society has long used the term “spring cleaning” to refer to that major home cleaning project that many of us undertake each spring, just as the weather starts to warm up. We fling open our windows, get out our brooms, and being dismantling a winter’s worth of dust, trash, and various other forms of clutter. It’s spring – the time for rebirth and for emerging from our hibernations – and I certainly understand the desire to sweep and clean at that time of year. In fact I do so myself.

What I don’t understand is the conception that spring cleaning follows a stretch of wintry months during which we do no redecorating, removing, or tidying of any sort. In my case, this is far from the truth. Cooped up at home all winter – with dark skies before dinnertime and with no desire to leave the vicinity of my bed, kitchen table, or couch – I often get the urge to assess the mess around me and do some winter cleaning.

Last week, with my husband working late and my baby sleeping well, I decided to embark upon several winter cleaning projects. Here’s what I did:

Reorganized Storage Space

Our home has a small, dark basement that is perfectly suited for storing a moderate number of items. Perhaps it’s too perfect, in fact, considering that we’ve built upon quite the storage trove over the past couple years. I tackled the mess by sorting everything into one of three categories: trash, things to keep on hand, and things that we might want sometime down the road. Everything in that second category will get to stay in the newly-organized basement. The third category (mainly consisting of furniture and old appliances) is headed for self storage facilities. And the first category, of course, has already been put into the dumpster.

Cleaned Out the Freezer

When it comes to cleaning, a freezer and a refrigerator are often worlds apart. The fridge has items that are constantly being viewed. If anything starts to go moldy or rotten, or if a shelf is getting to full, I will immediately drop what I’m doing and tidy everything up. The freezer, on the other hand, has the deep recesses and cold climate to contain a package for many years without ever being seen. This means that I rarely clean the place out; instead, I simply shove new items into the front of the freezer and forget about those in back. This week, with freezer space recently at a premium, I decided to do a thorough cleaning. I was shocked at how much was in there that I had forgotten about -- and how much I needed to throw out.

Scrubbed The Bathroom

This activity is a good one to include in any cleaning project, considering the speed at which bathrooms go from being clean to being dirty. When I say that I scrubbed the bathroom I truly mean just that – I removed everything from the vanity, emptied the medicine cabinet and all the drawers, and then went to work with a rag and some bleach. It took less than 30 minutes and the result was both impressive and worthwhile. I’ll probably have about a week to enjoy it.

While none of these undertaking were especially large or daunting ones, I feel better about the cleanliness of my house after finishing the projects. The rest of the mess, however, will probably have to wait for now – probably until spring cleaning.

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