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Finished with my spring cleaning, I decided to research how in the world did “spring cleaning” even come about? I mean, really, is there just one season when our homes warrant cleaning?
Well, I was surprised to discover that spring cleaning has ties to religious and cultural origins throughout history. I had no idea.
Now when I really think about this, the days do get longer in the spring, and we get a little more energy when our brains release less melatonin. And goodness knows, as the spring sunshine peeks through my windows, I see more dust!
Let’s see what spring cleaning looks like for three generations.
The Greatest Generation
My Aunt Sue:
I was born during the Great Depression. I still remember how we moved the heating stove in our kitchen over to the corner to allow more room every spring. My mother would purchase a new oil cloth for the table, replace linoleum as needed, and new wall paper would be hung over the old wallpaper by a lady named Clysta Enochs. We had no steamers to remove the old wallpaper back in the day.
We opened all the windows to let in the fresh air, and all the curtains were not only washed, but stretched. My mother did not have any stretchers, but we borrowed some from the neighbors. These were large adjustable wooden frames that unfolded, designed to hold our curtains tightly in position so they could dry without creases.
All our bed mattresses were taken outside to be emptied of the old straw and replaced with fresh straw. Straw was abundant and cheap for stuffing.
While all of us worked inside, my dad would burn off the garden area and hitch the horse to the plow and dig up the ground to prepare for planting.
My mother would purchase baby chickens in the spring. And then she would get her hundreds of Ball canning jars clean and ready for the next garden harvest. Yes, hundreds, we had nine children in our family.
Aunt Sue’s daughter, Laura:
I’m an honest to goodness neat and clean “freak” (just ask my kids), so I really keep up with cleaning daily and weekly. But when springtime rolls around, I wash all the windows, and I help my husband power wash the house, driveway, and sidewalk. I also go through our drawers, cabinets, and closets in the spring to purge items we no longer need or use so I can donate them.
Laura’s daughter-in-law, also Laura:
I clean all year around. But I also clean on a whim. For example, on a random weekend, I’ll organize a set of drawers or the refrigerator, or I might watch a TV show or read a blog that inspires me to deep clean something specific. But one of the things I do for “spring cleaning” is switch out my winter clothes for my spring/summer clothes which are kept in the attic. And during this time, I get rid of clothes I don’t wear anymore.
So there we have it! Do you see any differences between the three generations?
How about you? Do you spring clean? I’d love to hear from you. Let us know what generation you are. Open in your browser and scroll down to make a comment.
Finally, do you have a family story to share? Send me an email at email@example.com to tell me a little about it, and I’ll write up a blog to share with others. I’ll see you again in June!