By DENISE DENEEN COLLETTE
What is it? Who came up with it and why did they do it in the spring? Of course not everyone participated in this complex list of tasks that most of us avoid at all costs. Spring cleaning soon took on a sinister backstory. Menfolk would actually plan to be gone in the spring to avoid coming face to face with this ritual.
Why would anyone want to drag out a ladder and climb up with a bucket of soapy water and wash windows, shake out rugs, scrub out the fireplace, clean all the screens, white wash the fence, sharpen knives, clean the oven and drag out the fridge and clean behind it? You were expected to clean and polish the floors, wash and wipe the floor registers and vents, remove all window coverings and wash or spot clean. Throw in a bit of polish for the wood furniture, clean ceiling fans, scrub the front door entrance, repaint the door if necessary, oh, and replace your “welcome mat.” Are you nuts? Who has time for this? Most of us appreciate a no-maintenance home…inside and out. Is that possible? Do they exist? Who has one…I want to see it!
Who is responsible for this time-consuming event that I can guess, most of us dread? For all the tea in China, let’s just blame it on a man! No, seriously… back in the day when engineering marvels and home cleaning products were making a giant splash on the retail/consumer market, there were not many women in the work force. They were not creating or designing electrical washing machines, dryers, vacuum cleaners and ovens. Those chores took Grandma all day long.
It was men who spent hours coming up with gadgets to make housework easier. They had no idea how much “free time” they were creating for their wives while away at the office/ fields. Whoever these men were, “Thank You!”
Why do this in the spring? Let’s go with the obvious…for our grandmothers, it was a matter of things thawing out and being able to get out of the house for the first time in months to see what needed to be done. For most of us today, we have so many self-cleaning appliances and throw away products that it never occurs to us they need to be cleaned!! We never had it so good.
So, while we all like to surround ourselves in a clean space or maybe just somewhat organized, we can look back and thank the folks that marched along towards independence and freedom from the chains of grueling, tedious back-breaking “spring cleaning” chores…Or do what I do…now where is that number for Maids R Us?