I can’t imagine living in a dry climate where violent storms send dust through cracks in your house and leave a fine layer all over your walls and furniture.

Spring cleaning should come only once a year, after all.

I’ve got the bug already.

I was looking at the dining room the other day and devising my method of attack.

Instead of viewing the whole house as one big interminable project, I decided I’m going to clean piecemeal this spring.

In other words, I’ll do one room at a time and spend a day on each — no more. In a matter of a few days, it’ll all be done.


First, I’ll vacuum the ceilings, then the walls, furniture and floor.

I’ll vacuum every object with the little brush, then clean each item with either furniture polish (for wood), Windex (glass) or soap and water (miscellaneous).

Then I’ll attack the windows. Or my husband likely will; he’s good at that.

While I was discussing spring cleaning with my colleagues this week, one woman said she loved it when she was little and her mother scoured the house with soap and disinfectant and then opened all the windows, leaving a fresh, crisp scent everywhere.

A male colleague listening to our chatter wondered aloud why we go to such trouble.

“Just hire someone to clean your house,” he said.


The fact is, I’m a snob. Not only do I not want to spend money on housekeeping, I don’t believe anyone can do it as well as I. After all, I’m intimately familiar with every nook, cranny and crack in our house and know just how I want everything to look, smell and feel.

When I was little, my grandmother often visited and took care of us while my parents worked.

She was a teacher and very organized. When it was time for us three youngest girls to do chores, we bickered about who got assigned what job.

My grandmother cleverly had us create our own work plans by separating the tasks into three distinct areas: One of us would clean the living room; one, the dining room; and one, the hall, stairs and bathroom.

She directed us to cut pictures from a magazine and paste them onto a large board. I cut out a picture of a living room, for instance, and pasted it on the board with my name attached. Jane clipped a photo of a dining room; Laura, pictures of hall, stairs and bathroom.

Every few weeks, we’d rotate duties so we never had to maintain one area of the house for too long, thus breaking up the routine and preventing us from claiming one person’s job was harder than another’s.


My grandmother had charge of the kitchen, and we were responsible for our bedrooms, so the entire house was covered.

I don’t know how long we kept up this ritual, but it worked. The place got clean, and we managed to maintain some semblance of order in an otherwise hectic household.

I believe I’m fortunate to have assimilated my grandmother’s penchant for organization; it somehow lends clarity of mind.

And I especially love springtime, when the grime of winter is swept up and whisked away, the windows thrust open and the fresh air ushered in.

There’s nothing like hanging the wash out on the clothesline, retrieving it at day’s end and inhaling the fresh scent of air-dried and sun-bleached sheets at bedtime.

It won’t be long now. I heard a bird singing outside my window this morning, ever so faintly, and solo.

When the mockingbird returns, keeping me awake at night with its endless repertoire of songs, I’ll know I’m truly in spring heaven.

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 25 years. Her column appears here Mondays. She may be reached at [email protected]

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