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Spring cleaning is mind clearing

By MIMI BECKER

Coffee with Mimi

It could be real: Spring has sprung. The sun is warming the days up. Birds are singing. The early budding trees and flowers are doing their thing. Aside from one itty-bitty early morning freeze last week, it has been comfortable enough for sitting on the porch with coffee.

Weather.gov laid out the weekend with a promising forecast.  With a “to do list” filling a notebook page, what to do first?

Spring cleaning is a concept with a long history in the annals of housekeeping.  Apparently, women through the ages have recognized the need to start the season of new life with the need to freshen up the abode. The days have gone by, where opening up and airing out were functions of necessity after a long winter cooped up with folks whose regular bathing routine did not include frequency.

Long winter days and nights inside meant more people making more mess.  When the light dawned and the windows were flung wide, the evidence remained. Time to set the homeplace right for the busy seasons ahead.

And, just so for me last weekend.  The calendar was free of social activities or professional obligations requiring  full days of attention.  My husband was out town — the coast was clear.  The plan was to attack a room at a time. I didn’t consult any Internet sources or Netflix homekeeping gurus’ advice. I had my own plan.

Declutter. Sort. Analyze. I would use materials and equipment at hand.  No time wasted wandering around home improvement departments checking out decorative storage concepts.  If I don’t have it after all these years, I can do without it now.  If I have it now and it is not working for me, it’s gone.

Apologies to the people who do this for a living. This is my project and I only have three days to devote to it. The yard awaits. I do not have time to meditate over every ancient T-shirt and I am not about to give up my stacks of books.

My plan was simple.  Each room was an individual task.  I was ruthless, if not totally practical.  If the item did not belong, or I didn’t appreciate it fully, it went immediately to the recycling, trash, yard sale or donate piles or to the right space. An expert  may say I was creating more work in the dumping spaces, but  it was my plan and I was sticking to it. The ratings of this show are not dependent on some zen or commercial concept.

I went at it top to bottom, shelf by shelf, cabinet by cabinet, drawer by drawer.

It was the drawers and cabinets that almost got me.  I will freely admit that I have not consulted any person or source for suggestions on the efficiency of drawer and cabinet arrangement.  Perhaps in the kitchen, I have established a clear logic.  Cutlery, glassware and plates close to the dishwasher.  Pots and pans near the stove.  And so forth. 

You would think it would be a quick run through each drawer or cabinet in each space in the rest of the house.  How far from useful reason could a living room or bedroom drawer have strayed?  Well, we have created, over the years, at least one junk drawer or cabinet, in every room in the house. I imagine I allowed it to happen, because I couldn’t face it in previous efforts to spring, or fall or Christmas clean.  I would pull a drawer open, scan its contents and organization while the clock was ticking on the whole project and shut it. Out of sight, out of mind.

Not this time.  Warm up the coffee, get a trash bag and face them.  Funny how quickly the job can be done. There was stuff we had allowed to accumulate over several years and it was dispatched within minutes. If I haven’t found need of that grocery receipt, chewed up golf tee or the rings of unidentified keys in recent memory — I surely don’t need them now.  We haven’t been locked out of a house due to a lost key in, well, years.

I did experience a weak stomach about those keys.  Before I could throw them in the trash, I gave them a reprieve.  Along with a few other items, mostly associated with cell phones and computers, I moved them to the kitchen, the last room to be tackled, giving me a few hours to contemplate their significance before sending them to the staging place of last resort, the garage.  It’s closest to the proper way out the door. 

Spring cleaning is mind clearing. We have no junk drawers remaining in our house — none.  Perhaps I will discover that there is a use for those two very small plastic angled things found in the sewing chest.  But, I am a resourceful person, if need be, and I will cross that bridge when I come to it. I survey my castle and what I see is neat and tidy. What I don’t see is even more appealing.

The purpose of spring cleaning was to air it out. Works on the mind, as well.