Everyone knows about Spring Cleaning. The clean and crisp springtime breeze dancing around the home through welcoming windows thrown open in celebration. Vacuums and dusters and Windex bottles jumping out of old storage bins and linen closets, joining in the festivities of new life and clean furniture. The squirrels are furiously mating, the flowers are blooming, and the scent of laundry detergent perfumes the very air we breathe. Spring Cleaning! The opportunity to throw out all the garbage and refuse of the past year and cast it into the sunny light!
But on the other end of the spectrum, we have the lesser known and dreary cousin, Winter Cleaning. That time of year when we realize that we cannot live on short sleeves and flip flops alone, that we must once again venture into the depths of storage and pull out our winter clothes and heavy duty comforters. Life is giving us another opportunity to clean like there is no tomorrow, and I have embraced it wholeheartedly this year.
I’ll admit, usually cleaning is the last thing on my mind, and there are several tricks of the trade that I use to prolong the vacuuming/dusting ritual as long as possible. For Winter Cleaning, however, we take no prisoners, leave no dust bunny alive, and fully open the windows (for just a minute) to get the full ceremonial mood set. Bathroom mats are washed, showers are scrubbed, mirrors are polished, and after a few hours we are giddy because of the residual chemical fumes our accomplishments. Bed sheets and pillow covers and comforters, the whole shebang (what a potentially vulgar word) are thrown into the laundry machine while we replace them with winter colors and warmer fluffiness.
Closets are somewhat reorganized, but if you’ve ever lived in Colorado you know it’s never safe enough to pack away your t-shirts and shorts. But the climax of the whole event is the part where I walk around with a hose vacuum in my hand like a shotgun, striking out with a vengeance at the dust lingering in my untaintable atmosphere. I imagine that anyone who sees me from 20 feet away would think it odd, watching me stalking the house with a plastic pipe while glaring at apparently nothing, but the untrained eye has no place in Winter Cleaning. This is for the professional cleaning splurge, and I will not be denied!
At the end of the whole ordeal we mark it with a hot shower and a cup of tea, and our only option is to sit back and heavily sigh with satisfaction. For the next few days it will be a battle of the wits as I try not to freak out about every strand of hair that falls onto my flawless, white carpet, or the water droplets that will immediately smudge my bathroom mirror, but for now I enjoy the constant humming of my dusted laptop (yes I even clean out the inside of my laptop) in my fresh and spotless room. I grudgingly admit to myself that spending hours upon hours in a mass cleaning frenzy is a grand experience.
It’s a damn good thing it only happens twice a year.