Spring cleaning is rooted in both ancient pagan and modern religious traditions. And most of these are “celebrated” between March 1 and April 30.
The Persian New Year, for example, starts with the vernal equinox or first day of spring … around March 20. In preparation, Iranians traditionally cleaned the entire house. Chinese New Year requires similar preparation including discarding all trash and broken items.
An ancient Jewish custom requires cleaning the house in preparation for Passover. Some Catholic traditions require cleaning the church on Thursday before Easter. Similar spring-cleaning traditions go back 3,000 years and have been observed in Scotland and Ireland as well.
The symbolism of cleaning to prepare for the earth’s seasonal rebirth is rich and powerful. But then again it makes sense too. Before modern utilities, homeowners had to scrub away soot from fires and candles used during dark months.
Whatever the origin, it makes sense to thoroughly clean a home after months of winter lockdown. With the return of longer days, the Northeast Ohio sunshine makes visible all dust and dirt.
Before you start cleaning, rid the house of clutter. Overwhelmed? Read (or reread) something by Marie Kondo for inspiration and motivation. Be sure to trash and donate as quickly as possible so you don’t change your mind. Also, repair and put away items for later use.
Experts suggest taking a room-by-room approach. Take some time to create checklists for each room, focusing on areas that aren’t part of the regular cleaning cycle. That might include brushing the ceiling with a broom and washing walls and woodwork. If you are hiring someone, it’s helpful for them to have this list of your expectations.
As you go room-by-room, store your winter clothes, bedding and décor. Replace it with warmer weather items for a fresh look.
Include outdoor spaces and associated chores, like cleaning the grill and patio furniture. If this extends to yardwork, be sure your landscapers know your expectations.
A cleaning company and window washers can make short work of some tasks. In some cases, specialty vendors are good options.
Fiber-Seal of Northern Ohio, for example, specializes in cleaning and protecting carpet, area rugs and fabrics like upholstery, curtains, patio cushions and more. They use hot-water extraction to remove soil and then treat items to resist stains and soiling.
“We approach things in a preventative way to extend the life of the fabric and carpeting,” says owner Gavin Green. He urges a regular program of cleaning and maintenance. “By the time you see the soil it’s already done damage to the fabric and carpeting.”
He says it makes sense to stay ahead of the dirt. “Every home is different. In some homes we visit three or four times a year to clean heavy-use areas,” he says. “We customize for the needs of the household.”
Chandelier conservationist Chris Axelrod of Bratenahl is a fan of spring cleaning to improve the home and the spirit. “When your home is closed up for the winter you have heat, dust and cooking smoke from kitchens contributing to the condition of the house. Especially during COVID times with people cooking more and stirring up more dust.”
“A chandelier is the obvious recipient of these elements,” he notes. His business preserves these delicate and lovely fixtures when they are assaulted by daily life.
Axelrod spends hours using custom solutions to detail the prisms and infrastructure of elaborate crystal fixtures. He locates replacement crystals for those that are missing. “When the chandelier is glistening it gives a feeling of restoration,” he says. “When the chandelier glistens so does the client.”
Spring cleaning is like that. Organization and cleanliness can be restorative to the soul.