Today’s guest blogger really needs no introduction, but we love her so much she gets one anyway. It’s Elizabeth Owen of Mabel’s House blog! Elizabeth, a contributing writer for At Home (see her work here and here) joins our Spring Guest Blogger Series with her philosophy for, you guessed it, spring cleaning! Read on as Elizabeth, ever so witty, is sure to have you rolling with laughter…
Thereâs nothing like the early morning coo of doves outside my window and a coat of pollen turning my white car pale yellow to alert me spring has officially arrived. Every year at this time I find myself overwhelmed with an urge to redecorate my house. I plant caladium bulbs, take a deep breath of fresh air and think about airy window sheers and white painted furniture a la a seaside summer cottage. But then I realize, âI canât redecorate! I have to clean this ratâs nest first!â
Spring cleaning, we all dread it. What shape is my house in? Iâm ashamed to say there are a few hidden pine needles from the Christmas tree lurking in the corner of the living room. The floors need to be scrubbed, the windows washed and donât even get me started on the refrigerator. Itâs a mixed bag of horror with a mysterious Tupperware container in the back that my husband and I are currently having a standoff over, each of us refusing to take responsibility for the offending item.
Iâll admit, as a busy working woman, cleaning often gets the best of me. Iâm far too stingy to hire a house keeper. When itâs all said and done Iâd rather bite the bullet and clean, giving myself the cash. After all, Targetâs new spring Liberty of London line is calling my name. But still, itâs daunting to consider losing an entire Saturday of gorgeous spring weather to wash the curtains, replace shelf liners and scrub grout with a toothbrush.
And so Iâve been pondering spring cleaning. It feels insurmountable. But whenever I think about the concept of true âcleanliness,â I think of my grandmother, Meme.
Meme is a fascinating woman. In my opinion, sheâs always had one foot in two different generations. For the first part of her life she was an ironed, pressed, high-heel wearing housewife who ran a tight ship and cooked every day. As my uncle says, âHer floors are so clean you could eat off them.âÂ The second part of Memeâs life started when her children were in high school and college. She got her first job and eventually became one of the most successful jewelry saleswomen in the Dallas area.
Itâs the âworking womanâ phase of Memeâs life that I remember. I recall her perfectly manicured nails, long with a pale coat of pink polish. I recall the click of her heels down the long hallway of her house, a purse in one hand, a pile of laundry in the other.Â Memeâs cleaning philosophy was simple, âDo a little everyday and life wonât sneak up on you.â Ten minutes before she left for work I could find her loading the dishwasher. Ten minutes after she got home she dust mopped the kitchen floor and swiped the baseboards in the hallway. With her âten minutes here, ten minutes thereâ philosophy Meme kept her sanity and a clean home.
Iâd like to say Iâm as chic as my grandmother. But sadly, my nails are often chipped as I run screaming from the house, âIâm late for work! Whatâs that smell? I donât have time to take the trash down!â But I think Memeâs philosophy is truly genius. Do I mind folding laundry for a few minutes each evening? No. Do I mind a two day marathon of vacuuming, ironing and bleaching? Yes.
So this year Iâm taking a different approach to spring cleaning. I wonât lose an entire Saturday. I wonât slave away to the fumes of Pine Sol for an eight hour stretch. I’ll just do a little cleaning in the morning, a little cleaning in the evening, and if Iâm feeling particularly energetic, an hour on the weekend. Because letâs face it. Weâre all far too busy to maintain a June Cleaver level of clean. Itâs superhuman. Itâs unreasonable. Itâs boring.
So happy spring ladies. Set your stove timer for ten minutes. Clean as much as you can. And when the buzzer rings put away your feather dusters and do what we all want to do, sit back, sip some iced tea, read a decorating magazine and plot your next redecoration project.