Author | Nicole Hostetter
Spring cleaning has begun in our home, and I know it’s so when the birdsong fills our home. As we begin our cleaning, all of the windows are pushed wide open, welcoming the sweet early spring chill and the melody of our beloved backyard songbirds.
I studied in Florence, Italy, for a few months during my sophomore year of college. And for all the art I saw and the gnocchi I ate, one of the most lasting impressions left on me was by my 80-year-old house mother, Signora Elisabetta Fornaini. Each morning that winter, no matter how cold, she’d shuffle into the guest room where I stayed with her house shoes flip-flopping on the terrazzo flooring. Unceremoniously Signora Fornaini would swing the balcony doors wide open, “Per cambiare l’aria.” To change the air.
I still do this once a week in our home throughout the winter. But this spring-cleaning morning I leave them open for longer than the usual 10 minutes, basking in the freshness clearing out the old winter air from all the corners and cracks. This winter was long. Longer than most we have known. I am ready to say goodbye and welcome the renewal spring brings.
Per cambiare l’aria.
Spring cleaning entails a deeper attention to my home than my usual cleaning. Every corner is touched. Every surface is wiped down. Every rug is taken out back and beaten with the broomhandle. Everything that can be washed is washed.
It’s an opportunity to refresh and renew. Not just physically, but spiritually as well. As we spend a winter tucked snugly inside our homes, it all tends to stick to things. Pet hair to the couch. Play Doh into the cracks of the floor. Depression into the dust bits that float down and cover everything over the months.
Spring offers us the chance to wipe it all away, thankful for the dormancy winter gave us, and allow the taproots of our creative energy to unfurl in fresh soil.
Here are some of the things we do to welcome this new season into our home:
1. Wash what can be washed
During this spring cleaning, I like to unzip the couch covers and throw them into the washing machine. For extra happiness, line dry them in the sun on a nice day. You’ll feel so good putting them back on the couches and knowing they are fresh and clean! I also spot treat my drapes and give them the once over with the vacuum’s brush attachment to get rid of any dust and pet hair that has accumulated over the winter. Lastly, we take the runners and area rugs outside for a good beating with a broomstick and then steam clean them with our Bissell steam vacuum to get out the spots and spills accumulated over the past few months.
2. Clean the corners
Spring cleaning means going deeper than our usual weekly or monthly clean. I make sure to pull all the chairs out, stack them on the table, and really clean underneath. Sometimes, this means getting a rag, in addition to my mop, and hand scrubbing. I also try to pull off any pet hair and dust that have built up under the feet of the chair legs. It’s amazing how just pulling them in and out from the table can create such a mess of dirt and dust. Along these lines, I also pull out all the shoes from the floors of our closets and vacuum in there too. It’s always a favorite hideout for dust bunnies and shed rug fibers. Shake out your shoes too - especially the ones you haven’t worn since last summer; they are dust traps!
3. Bye Bye, build-up
There are so many parts of our home that don’t get a good cleaning regularly, but probably should. Bannisters, cabinet fronts, and baseboards all fall into this category. During spring cleaning, each one gets attention as I move from surface to surface with my mop bucket and rag. You’ll be amazed at the amount of grime and dust you’ll take off with a critical eye and a firm hand. Also give the windows a cleaning - both the panes and the sills. It will feel so good when you’re done to think “I’m glad I don’t have to do that again for awhile!”
4. Organize what can be organized
Part of spring cleaning is getting your home ready to enjoy in the warmer months to come. We focus on getting the garage and shed ready for yard work, the beach bags ready for summer, clothing changed out and sorted (more on this in my next post), and the kitchen cabinets emptied and sorted after all the busy cooking, canning, and baking of last season. Doing these tasks will help you take stock of what you have, what you don’t need anymore, and what you may need for the warm weather ahead.
Spring is a wonderful time to reflect and renew, and to allow the seeds planted over winter to unfurl into something beautiful. Your home is no exception. Go ahead and fill up your mop bucket, grab your vacuum, and open your windows.
Spring is here after such a long winter! Cambiare l’aria!