Welcome friends...thanks for coming by. We're seeking beauty in all of creation... in our faith and our families; our art and our music; our crafts and kitchens, and even in our own backyard. We'll share a poem or a recipe, a picture or a memory; maybe a dream of how we wish our life could be. And though we acknowledge that the world can be harsh, we're keeping it pleasant in our little corner; endeavoring to keep the words from the Book of all Books: ...Whatsoever things are lovely; think on these things.

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Photo: Bee and thistle: Taken high in the Cascade Mountains where there is a bee buzzing on every thistle. by Debora Rorvig

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Spring Cleaning ; a Rite of Spring

The sun is finally shining after a long hard winter here in the Pacific Northwest. For those of us who don't have the luxury of year round sunshine, the advent of sun streaming through our windows is muy bueno indeed! Now while some may well say that spring is when a young man's heart turns to love, this older woman's heart turns to spring cleaning. I'm sure it is a rite of passage passed on from my mother. As certainly as the pussywillows bud and the crocus bloom in the spring, you could find my mother washing windows with vinegar water, hanging freshly bleached and laundered sheets out on the clothesline, and scrubbing walls until her knuckles turned raw. Dad and I weren't exempt from this frenzy of activity. No one was permitted to be idle. I was handed a rag and some Pledge with firm instructions regarding the importance of proper dusting. My 6 foot tall Dad was given jobs that utilized his height; sweeping cobwebs from the ceiling, removing light fixtures for cleaning and washing the high parts of the walls. I dreaded spring cleaning! But here it is 40 years later, and I am beginning this important rite of spring with enthusiasm! However, unlike my mom, I don't try to accomplish everything in one weekend! (She always complained that I was slow-moving, like Grandma Cline (dad's mom.)

No, for me, spring cleaning is to be savored over several weeks, done room by room; so as not to work ones' self silly. This week I will begin with the bathroom; the smallest and easiest room to clean in a day. Here's the list of tasks:

Remove shower curtain and liner. Wash them and hang them on the clothesline. (Ladies, do yourself and family a favor. Buy a fabric liner. You can wash it and it won't emit those lousy chemicals that vinyl ones now are known to do.)

While you're at it, remove the curtains and wash them also. This goes for bath mats too, which in my opinion, should be the small hotel style ones that don't have rubber backing. It's more eco friendly, and you won't have crumbling rubber pieces all through your clothes dryer.

Spray down the shower with a good cleaner and allow it to sit for awhile to kill germs. (I like Green Works because it's earth friendly. But if things are really grungy, it may call for Comet.)


Empty the medicine chest of all old medicines and dispose of them.

Get rid of all of those old shampoos, lotions, and bubblebaths that you will never use. I know that Aunt Mabel was nice to give you that stinky rose scented hand lotion; but if it makes you sneeze get rid of it! (One of the kindergarteners I work with once asked me if I was a doctor. When I replyed no, and asked him why he thought this; he said, "You smell like a doctor!". I had just used some cheap, alcohol-filled hand lotion. It went straight to the trash can after that!) Today I am dumping the lotions down the sink and recycling the plastic containers.

Wash the walls from the top down. If there are fans or filters that need dusting; now's the time!

Clean light fixtures. This includes dusting off those big light globes over your sink if you're like me and haven't changed out your old school lighting to a more modern type. But be smart; don't electrocute yourself with water or burn yourself by touching them when they are hot. Use a duster girls.

Scrub the woodwork with an appropriate cleaner. (Mine is painted so I can use most anything. I like a mild soapy solution.)

Clean the inside of the medicine chest and drawers. This is a particularly lousy job if you keep your toothbrushes in a drawer. It should be enough to make you run out and buy a holder for your toothbrushes. I hate cleaning toothpaste out of drawers! And while I'm thinking of it, clean that toothbrush holder, inside and out. Have you ever looked inside of one of these?

Wash windows, sills and window gutters with vinegar and water. Dry with a clean towel or old newspapers.

Reorganize your linen closet. Fold towels uniformly and stack by color. Hint: If you use only one color of towels or at least color coordinated, your closet will look better. Stack hand towels next to them in the same order. Make sure the folded edges are facing out. It looks better. Relegate shoddy towels to the ragbag. (Note, I have a penchant for white in the bathroom. Not all of my towels are white, but I am leaning toward it. Reason is simple: I can bleach them and they look wonderful!)

A tip from Meredith at http://www.likemerchantsships.blogspot.com/; get a pretty open wire container that allows air, unwrap your soaps and display them. They last longer when they are allowed to 'cure'. And they smell nice. It's Ivory soap all the way for me. Fit's my simple white decor.

Now go back to that bathtub that's been soaking in cleaner with a good brush or scouring pad and clean the daylights out of the tile. Scrub the tub and rinse. Open the window and let the air dry it out.

Clean the sinks and make the fixtures shine. You might have to take the plastic disc off the top off of the sink (where it says hot or cold) to get mildew out of there. If you don't understand this part, you don't have the problem. If you can see green growing in there, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Wash and dry mirrors.

Clean the toilets. (I know you've been looking forward to this part, especially if you have little boys who 'miss the mark' a lot. ) Get down there and clean around the bottom of the toilet too!

Empty trash cans. Wash them if necessary. It won't be if you line them with something. My frugal self only allows me to use old plastic shopping bags for this, despite the unsightly printing on them.

I recently bought myself a new sponge mop after years of 'hands and knees' scrubbing. I love my mop. But for spring cleaning, especially in the bathroom; this one time ladies, hands and knees it the only way I know to really get the floor around those toilets clean. While your down there, give the baseboards a good swipe.

I think we're done! Doesn't that feel better? Next week we'll tackle the bedroom.

A final thought: Your house will never be perfectly clean. That's not the goal. Don't be like Martha in the Bible, who was so encumbered with her housekeeping duties that she lost sight of that which is really important. A clean bathroom won't give you peace. But a clean heart will!


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