I recall, when I was a kid, the scent of Spring mixed with the smell of detergent and Pledge. These smells became planted in my brain. They represent the end of the winter sequester, when playing outside meant coat and boots
As May approaches and well before June busts out all over, come the mops, the rags, the spray cleaner. For two weeks, the vacuum becomes a permanent resident of the hallway; it will be used so often, there is no point in putting it back in the closet.
Tasks that have been carefully ignored during the frozen months are now tended to.
Screens are pulled from windows and hosed down. Out goes that five year old shower curtain, replaced with a new one and a new curtain liner. Let’s throw in some new towel sets and bath rugs to match.
The cat watches in some dismay as his box and its attendant supplies are ripped from his bath room. The tile on the floor is scrubbed, disinfected and coated with new wax. When all is dry and replaced, he carefully inspects the result and, ceremoniously, improves his new litter with a bit of himself.
Every movable object is removed from its place of rest. Surfaces, that haven’t seen the light of day since last Spring, are wiped down or cleaned with the same Lemon Pledge that my mother used. The windows are open and I get the olfactory reward that I recall from childhood. Interior windows surfaces are renewed with, you guessed it, Windex (or its generic equivalent). The glass won’t be so clean it disappears until the condo association schedules its Spring washing of the exteriors.
Meanwhile, clothing and coats that haven’t been cleaned in a while (some since last year), are sorted into wash, dry clean, and donate. Six garbage bags full are headed for Goodwill. How else can you make room for new clothes?
This is all preparation for the finale of cleaning; the carpet cleaners perform with their scrubbers and hoses and suck a year’s supply of dirt and cat hair and smell from an acre of wall-to-wall. The cat is now beyond dismay at the absence of his carefully scented smellatory.
The war on stuffiness ends with the restoration. Stuff must be put back in place, but not everything. Some things are not meant to be carried into the future. There will be books, CDs, and DVDs donated to the library. Old documents, ragged edged towels, dishes too worn for use will be donated to the dumpster or left for the scavengers. A few items will invoke a sigh; yes, I used to love this movie but it’s time for someone else to have a chance with it.
The world will have a new feel when I am done, and certainly a new smell. I will breathe easier. Parts of me will be given up during this sacrament of Spring, making room for something new, perhaps something not conceived yet.
Less than Helpful Advice
A good old rag mop beats a sponge mop any day. Disinfect your mop with a little bleach from time to time.