When the weather starts warming up and the crisp mornings carry the smell of the coming spring something intrinsic tells me that it is time to clean-up and renew my home. I realise that it is the way that I have grown up and valuable lessons learnt at home.
As the weather changed from the icy cold winter days on the farm to a warmer September, the bulbs blooming in the garden and the life on the farm becoming too busy before summer, the house was spring cleaned room by room. It was a hive of activity and every available hand was scrubbing away with brushes and large tubs filled with hot soapy water. My room of that of my sister was normally tackled on a Saturday, as we spent all our school life in hostels.
Cupboards were systematically cleared and everything was sorted. Our clothing we had outgrown or which was passed its best was given away or torn up to be used as cleaning cloths. Our toys were sorted and anything broken or not used anymore was given to the farm workers. Old books and used colouring books were used for kindle. Torn books, puzzle boxes and broken toys were mended.
Everything was cleaned or washed, even the dolls and their clothing. The furniture; large cupboards, chest of drawers, bookshelves and beds were emptied and taken out onto the lawn. They were scrubbed inside and out, then repolished, left in the sun so that the wax could draw in. The canvas mattress covers were washed and later refilled with fresh hay. The curtains were washed and ironed. The pelmets were taken down and scrubbed and painted. Nothing was left behind or overlooked.
During all this activity the room was painted and the floors stripped of old wax, refinished and polished. Later in the afternoon everything was brought back into the room. Now was the time were our creativity came in. We could decide how to change the layout of the room. It was so much fun to see the room coming together with the clean curtains, furniture and ornaments that were gleaming and almost looked like new.
The beds were made up with the fresh mattress, freshly ironed cotton sheets, newly covered wool blankets and nice, soft feather pillows that had soaked up the sun for the whole day. The shelves in the cupboards were covered with brown paper with a small overhang which had a fancy cutout edge. Then the clothing was packed back in neatly, sort by sort. Books were packed onto the shelves – no more torn pages sticking out or lying about. Finally, our favourite dolls and teddies that we had outgrown, but were not ready to give away yet, were dressed in their freshly laundered clothes and placed on the pelmet. I remember, happily standing back surrounded by all the things that I loved and that gave me a sense of security.
What I loved the most was, to switch off the light, look at the million stars outside of my window, draw the crisp curtains closed, climb into my bed after the long day of activity, wriggle to make a nest, so that I could lie comfortably, inhale deeply to smell the fresh fields from outside in my mattress, still feeling the warmth of the sun on it and after saying a prayer of thanks fall gently into a deep peaceful sleep.
- All areas in the house need a thorough clean and maintenance annually, over and above your normal cleaning. Make it routine.
- Curtains need to be laundered or washed at least once or twice a year.
- Have the carpets cleaned regularly.
- Vacuum the mattress.
- Involve your children from an early age, it is a valuable lesson to learn how to purge, sort and organise ones belongings and not to feel guilty about anything that one lets go. Especially when it comes to all the paintings and school memorabilia. Let them sort, purge and organise them into their albums or scrapbooks first thing during the holidays.
- Foster their creativity by letting them be involved in the décor of their rooms.
- Rid yourself of things that are broken or become in disuse regularly, it makes things easier when doing your annual clean-up.
- Return the things that have been borrowed.
- Keep order on a daily basis – It is easier to find and access things if you have less and know where it lives.
- Make repairs as and when needed.
How about you are you ready to take the first step or have you gotten rid of the dust bunnies and laundered the grubby curtains? Should you be uncertain on where to start or how to go about it, I’m here to give a hand.
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