One search of the term “spring cleaning checklist” on Pinterest is enough to make you laugh. And then cry. And ultimately curl up on your couch and question your worthiness as a human being. Seriously.
As I scanned the lists, I began to question myself and the cleanliness of my home. Am I the only person who does NOT take down their draperies once a year and have them laundered? Does everyone else completely empty their pantries, wipe the shelves and install new shelf liner on an annual basis? Do people REALLY polish their door hinges? I mean, really?!? Do they???
As I continue to read the lists, I decide that these checklists must be a joke or meant for people who have not cleaned their house since last year’s spring cleaning, because some of this stuff seems outrageous while others tasks are done on the regular. It makes me question the entire system. Is spring cleaning really necessary? How and why did this even become a thing?
Well, here’s a brief history of spring cleaning. In the Jewish culture, people clean their homes in anticipation of Passover. During Passover, Jews are forbidden to eat or drink anything leavened or fermented with yeast. As a result, they clean before Passover to rid their homes of these items. Traditionally, the Catholic church cleans the altar (and anything associated with it) during Holy Week leading up to Easter. It is still done today in more traditional cultures and often called Clean Week. In Europe and North America, spring cleaning became a custom due to cold and wet climates. March, with its warmer weather, high winds and the lack of insects, became the ideal time to open up doors and windows to let the dust clear.
With modernization, the need for “true” spring cleaning has definitely evolved. We have central heating, so we don’t have to scrub the soot off the walls after burning coal all winter. We have vacuums, so we don’t have to wash and/or dust every single item in our home. Thank goodness!
However, there are a few things we can and should do annually to care for and maintain our homes. Here are three things you can do, three tasks your kids can help with, and three things you can outsource. Each of these items is fairly easy, will make a big difference, and won’t take too much time!
Three Jobs for You
- Dust ceiling fans and light fixtures.
- Remove cobwebs from corners and ceilings.
- Dust tops of doors and window frames.
Three Tasks for your Kids
- Dust baseboards.
- Wipe and clean light switches.
- Vacuum upholstered furniture and pillows.
Three Things to Outsource
- Wash windows, inside and out.
- Clean carpets.
- Clean out gutters and downspouts.
If cleaning the entire house is overwhelming, or simply not an option, do these tasks over time. Carve out 20 minutes each day until the house is done! Be sure to make it fun for the kids too! Maybe they earn a sticker for every 20 minutes they work and once they earn a certain number of stickers, they earn a prize or a date out with mom!
What other things do you like to clean each spring?