Spring Cleaning

It’s not spring here.

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Not yet anyway. Last night our temps fell below 0 yet again and I could hear the squeak of deep cold against my boots when I went out in the early morning. But Candlemas has passed and Lent is fast approaching – so I’m pretending it’s almost spring and preparing!

How do you Spring Clean?

For us it’s become more than just scrubbing soot off the beams and washing beneath the wood-stoves. Spring cleaning is like Lent – a time to tidy up our home as we tidy up our souls: fast, pray, give.. but in the domestic sphere!

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The first thing I like to do is take stock of what’s around me. Too much…way too much. I have a tub under my bed that ought to be holding ingredients for homemade salves and balms..and while it has some ingredients, it also holds envelopes, photos, old letters, empty jars and an old chainsaw chain. Nice housekeeping, huh?

Once I’ve seen just how many places I’ve managed to tuck things, I’m going to pull them out, bit by bit. The Konmari method (which I love) insists on doing this by category, and while that’s wonderful for some tidying, Spring Cleaning is something different! I like to go clockwise around my house and meet each space as it is, reflect on its role, and help it grow. I’ve started with my bed, obviously, and so I’m pulling out all the things tucked beneath, thinking of my intentions for this space, and removing what stifles those intentions. My ingredients, and all their sundry companions will have to go somewhere else. But as I’m going through them, I’ve noticed a lot of them could be used right now..so I’m making salves. Calendula blossoms and comfrey leaves steeping in olive oil; coffee beans steeping in shea butter and coconut oil; I’ll be adding essential oils and beeswax later and whipping them up as they cool for Easter basket beard or body balms.

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You can’t see all the things tucked under the bed .. but they’re there. Waiting.

The point of Spring Cleaning isn’t merely to wash and de-clutter and make all the things orderly, its to create something fresh in the new season that’s approaching. As I work through the spaces of my home, I try to apply the pillars of Lent to each area (or room, if you have rooms.) I greet each area with a prayer, incense, and reflection – How can I make this space new? – then as I clean it out, tend to it, shape it’s atmosphere – I can find the things that ought to go to a new home, or have reached the end of their lives. I find projects I never finished and sit down with some of them for a day or two. I try to de-clutter with an eye to giving – and finish up projects for others before sitting down with something for myself. And most importantly for me, I’m Cleaning, not redecorating. During Spring Cleaning I’m not going to buy those baskets that would be so perfect for storing potatoes and onions, or a lovely bunch of clear glass spice jars. Instead I’ll be cleaning out without taking in and allowing my mind to rest in the space I’ll create.

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It stayed like this for all of 5 minutes before Ilya went rummaging through the kindling basket for a “sword”.

It’s a long process, but I’ve got a small house and 40 days to work through it! And I’ve stocked up on lemon, lemongrass, and yarrow essential oils! I like to put lemon in my dish soap, lemongrass in with my Murphy’s Oil Soap for all the wood-washing, and Yarrow in with the laundry – though it’s blue so add it to the wash after there’s a lot of water in there, or put it on one of those wool dryer balls if you have a dryer.

I also mix lemon into a Scrubbing Paste with baking soda and castile soap for scrubbing the tub and the white stove. It works wonderfully and the scent is fantastic! Usually the ratio is:

about 5 drops lemon EO

1/2 cup baking soda

1 tablespoon castile soap (unscented)

and about 1/8 – 1/4 cup warmish water

then I scoop a bit up on a rag and start scrubbing! It’s gently enough that I can, on warm days use this on my plastic-yurt-windows as well!

My Spring Cleaning tends to be overdone and enthusiastically obsessive, like me..it extends outward from the house and suddenly I’m purging my email and social media.. sweeping out all the clutter from my car, and before I know it, Spring has actually arrived and I can start cluttering up my world with flowers and muddy boot-prints all over again. It’s all part of a delightful cycle that never quite arrives at perfection, at least, not in this life!

Happy Cleaning!

 

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