Saturday March 20th is the official first day of Spring in 2021. It also begins the time of year when spring cleaning occurs around the world. The definition of spring-cleaning is a thorough domestic cleaning of one's entire home - room by room, and from top to bottom. This deep cleaning tackles areas and things you don't normally undertake on a regular basis, such as removing the books and dusting the top of the shelves, shampooing the rugs and carpets, sending curtains or draperies out to be dry-cleaned, washing the windows, straightening your closets and decluttering (throwing out what you no longer use or need.)
Your spring cleaning (should you choose to do it) can start whenever you feel like it. Back in the day, before central heating, homeowners had to keep the winter cold out at all costs. People used coal, oil, wood, and everything was lit by candles. Imagine the amount of dust, dirt, and soot those folks had to deal with! With spring on its way, homeowners felt impelled to freshen and clean up their homes and thus welcome the forthcoming new cycle of life. This usually happened with the first warm day of spring.
“In reality, spring cleaning has more to do with biology than anything else. We are less active and motivated during the cold winter days and there's good reason for that. As a species, our behavior is bound to the cycle of seasons. Due to lack of sunlight during drab winter days, our brains produce larger amounts of melatonin - a chemical responsible for literally making us sleepier. Melatonin levels are bound to the amount and frequency of sunlight exposure we get. The more time we spend outside, the less we produce the hormone of sleepiness. Some say that to spring clean means to wake up from a melatonin-induced slumber of spirit and mind." (Source: Fantastic Cleaners Blog, "What is Spring Cleaning? - History, Origin, and Tradition")
"Some researchers trace spring cleaning back to an ancient Jewish custom of thoroughly cleaning the house in preparation for the feast of Passover. Even the tiniest of “chametz" crumbs count. That's why conscientious Jews carryout a thorough spring clean of their entire home. In fact, having the slightest sign of leavened bread at home while Passover lasts is considered ungrateful and is strictly forbidden. Rightful Jews cannot afford to insult God and that's why people thoroughly wipe and mop their homes room-by-room and from top to bottom. This equivalent of spring cleaning is followed by a ritual hunt for chametz crumbs by candlelight, the night before the first day of Passover.
In most northern regions of America and Europe, where the climate is quite damp, the custom of spring cleaning had a purely practical application. Late winter to early spring was the best time to dust your home because the weather is warm enough to let fresh air in and chilly enough to keep insects out. People no longer had to heat their homes and could finally get rid of soot.
According to Catholic customs, the Church altar is thoroughly wiped down on Maundy Thursday, right before Good Friday. The Greek Orthodox Church encourages spring cleaning in the first day of Lent, known as Clean Monday."
(Source: Fantastic Cleaners Blog, "What is Spring Cleaning? - History, Origin, and Tradition")
Nowadays, we seem to love the scent of lemons. We like 'a clean' smell, which is not the fragrance of an absence of dirt, but rather the smell of whatever chemicals are in the cleaning product we use. We've made cleaning more complicated and expensive, needing a bucket full of chemical sprays for bathrooms, for kitchens, for stainless steel appliances, for wooden or Lucite furniture, for mirrors and glass shelves. Do we really need all of them? I think not. With a mop, a broom, a bottle of Windex, a can of pledge and numerous micro fiber dusting cloths, I am about to grab my vacuum cleaner and begin my own spring gleaning ritual. Anyone else?
Until my next inspiration...ciao