My grandmothers were avid spring cleaners. Elsie and Betty knew how to shake it out, wash and flip.
An annual event that you did not go without.
Windows and walls were washed. Furniture was moved and all was vacuumed behind and under. Rugs were hauled out to the clothes line and beaten within an inch of their life. A good time for releasing any pent up hostilities held in over the winter months.
These ladies even had winter and summer curtains. Betty had a satiny dusty rose living room set that transformed into lime linen slipcovers. Very fashionable. Elsie, a market gardener, who’s farmhouse undertook the huge task of the dismantling of the storm windows and doors in exchange for summer screens.
Mattresses were flipped, dusting and more dusting, cobwebs vanished. Lemons and vinegar filled the air. Mr. Clean and Pine-Sol fumes — those were the days.
Then for some reason younger generations got too busy, running from one thing in their calendars to the next. The seasons and what they were suited for became a blur.
After all the Swiffer was invented, just a quick ‘swiff’ and all was considered — good enough.
History refers to the Iranian Nowruz, the Persian New Year that falls on the first day of Spring to be the origin of spring cleaning. A “shaking of the house” took place.
Another source is the Jewish Passover where a cleansing of the house occurred in preparation of the occasion. Likewise the Catholics clean the church alter on the Thursday before Good Friday.
During the 19th century coal furnaces created a layer of soot on everything over the winter months. It was also a time when many people smoked and the yellow film from cigarettes coated all in sight.
Times changed; furnaces operated differently, people stopped smoking in their homes and we got busier, or so we think. I’m sure older generations would argue that their days were pretty full. Perhaps we need to admit that priorities changed — how we chose to fill our time changed.
Now in the spring of 2020 we are being asked to stay home, only go out when you absolutely need to. All has slowed to a pace many of us are not accustomed to. And what do we find ourselves occupying our time with? Spring cleaning!
We are sorting through stuff, cleaning out closets, washing walls, windows, painting, refinishing furniture. And it just so happens to be Spring!
In an interesting maneuver, it’s as if Life is attempting to get us back on track. Back to a natural rhythm, in sync with nature, in harmony with ourselves. Listening more, less rushing, where we remember where we keep the broom and what it is to “shake the house.”
Sources: Wikipedia and countryliving.com
Photos by; Pixabay Stock Photos