To many people, myself included, robins are the harbingers of spring. I can picture them hopping through the new grass listening for worms, their round reddish bellies rocking as they dash from one choice spot to the next. Spring travels east to west and south to north. I figure it’ll be two weeks before the birds actually get to my yard. I’m so looking forward to it. Fresh snow or not, early bird or not, I’m restless. Winter is coming to a close and spring is definitely knocking on my imagination. What's more, my house is full of visual clues: things out of place, things stuffed where they don't belong, dust, webs, clutter, clutter, clutter. In the bright light of day I hear, Stop writing! It's time for spring cleaning!!
My spring house toss is the stuff of legends. It's known as the Annual Purge to family and friends who laughingly get out of my way. lol Even my husband's colleagues ask if I'm spring cleaning yet. For the next three weeks my world stops and every nook and cranny, every drawer, every cabinet and corner are cleaned. This is my renewal. This is how I find myself each year.
It all started with sad news about twenty-seven years ago. I won't go into details, but it was so sad I wanted to pull a blanket up over my head and sleep it all away. It was the sort of depression that one drowns in while still breathing. My soul-mate/best-friend/husband and I have been together nearly forty years and in that time we've come to know all sorts of things about one another. He recognized something about me early on. He knows I define myself, in part, by my home. This knowledge was used to throw me a lifeline.
Our home has always been an eclectic, eccentric canvas. My style, interests, and collections are blobs of color upon my palette. Up until the sadness hit, we'd only been in this house a few years. The white blah walls waited on "One Of These Days" when time and money aligned enough to decorate. One morning, he sat on the edge of the bed, and said, "I want you to decorate the entire house from top to bottom. I want you to find yourself again."
There was no grand swapping out of furniture and appliances, no tearing up carpet or laying down new tile. Instead I painted murals and filled the house with color. After, I decorated with all the little things that make a home interesting. While I considered the changes to make, I rid myself of the weight of things no longer pertinent to our lives. Oddly enough, my dark thoughts went with them. In what could only be described as domestic alchemy, my mind turned from despairing thoughts to possibilities. He was right, I did find myself again. I've been doing this annual event every year since. It's essential to me. What was once a two week power-stint is now a slower, more thoughtful process, and boy, am I exhausted at the end of the day. This thorough cleaning results in far more than a cleaner house. It's a catalyst for deep introspection.
What began as several truckloads of donations to the Salvation Army, is now just a few bags in the car. This precise organization will last until the holidays come rolling around. Then I'll start to notice those unnecessary things that somehow crept back into my life. I don't know what possesses me to absently stuff this or that, here or there. Just busy I guess. Saving bits is an old habit born of crafting with my kids. I don't even realize I'm still doing it. Heck, it took me five years just to stop saving Campbell's labels after my kids were out of school!
I'll find a dozen or more wine corks stashed in the requisite kitchen junk drawer. They'll have to go. Six dead batteries? Yeah, they go too. Single socks? They're outta here. Where did all these paperclips come from? Ratty potholders and towels? Gone. Why do I have four pasta forks and two dozen plastic spoons?? Out the door! Cob webs and spiders? You're out too!
While I’m knee deep in separating wheat from chaff, I'll mentally finish the story I've been working on as well as craft blog posts in my head for the entire month of April. And when I sit down to write it all out two weeks from now, my head will be clearer and my house will be decorated for spring. Am I a little premature in my plans, given winter is lingering and the robins haven’t arrived here yet? Nah. The robins will come and the lilacs will follow. I'll be ready.
Stop by my main blog all next month where I'll be blogging the alphabet from A to Z in the annual A to Z Challenge. Subscribe to get my posts in your inbox!
Rose Anderson is an award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and delights in discovering interesting things to weave into stories. Rose also writes across genres under the pen name Madeline Archer. She lives with her family and small menagerie amid oak groves and prairie in the rolling glacial hills of the upper Midwest.
Stop by my blog for interesting topics all month long.
Find my links page and free reads too!
Find Madeline's sweet to spooky stories and Rose's scorching novels in ebook and paperback on Amazon, Barnes&Noble,