http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2008/03/07/diablo-views-clean-your-way-into-spring---yeah-right


Danville Express

Column - March 7, 2008

Diablo Views: Clean your way into spring - yeah, right

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

Spring has sprung and I'm happy. Yes, I know spring doesn't really begin until March 20 but there are blossoms on the trees and, better yet, daylight-savings time starts this weekend. Easter is right around the corner, March 23, so the Peeps really belong in the stores, they aren't obnoxiously early.

I know, I know. Fall is beautiful and winter storms are exciting and allow skiers to pursue their dreams. But spring is soft and lovely. The only drawbacks are allergies and something called "spring cleaning." What killjoy came up with that concept just when the weather turns so beautiful?

The term spring cleaning makes me think of a woman in a housedress shaking out a comforter in the sunshine. Blue skies at last! The snow has finally melted! Let's throw open all the windows, give the house a good cleaning, and welcome spring! This seems an outdated concept - hence the woman in the housedress.

In the first place, this is California. We can throw open our windows year-round if we want to, for a few minutes anyway. Secondly, why waste a beautiful spring day cleaning house? We have mountains to climb, Iron Horse Trails to walk, and tennis courts calling to us. (Although they may end up saying: Still got that lousy serve?)

I find I do "big" jobs around the house - like cleaning cupboards and closets - as the mood strikes. I shift seasonal clothes twice a year from closet to closet, discarding things I haven't worn in years. And while moving the sandals to the front and the boots to the back, it might occur to me to get rid of anything that was thrown into the closet to get it out of the way. When shifting things around I might see the closet needs vacuuming. Hey! This is spring cleaning! And fall cleaning.

"Spring Cleaning Musts" sent to me from HousekeepingChannel.com lists five tips. In the first place, the adolescent in me (or maybe it's just human nature) doesn't like the term "musts." My first reaction is, "Oh, yeah? Says who? You're not my mom."

But I like the first tip: "Manageable Cleaning - Break a spring cleaning marathon into manageable segments. Rather than emptying every cupboard or removing every light fixture, clean one area or room at a time. This way, if your enthusiasm wanes or you need to turn your attention elsewhere, the whole house will not be left in disarray."

My enthusiasm "wanes" just reading this. I am obviously never going to be hired to write at HousekeepingChannel.com. But I like the concept of manageable segments. Like, get that cobweb in the corner now. Or clean the desk drawer when the rubber bands are hopelessly stuck around the super glue. Then, satisfied with your labors, do something fun.

Tip Two: "Safety First: Spring cleaning often requires climbing to new heights. Be sure to use a sturdy ladder and keep long-handled cleaning tools handy to extend your reach. For instance, a flat mop with a clean microfiber pad is great for dusting walls from floor to ceiling."

I'm more of an impulse cleaner. If I see dust on a wall, I take care of it immediately. Although I must admit I have never noticed dust on a wall. On tops of frames, yes, and these get dusted. Fingerprints around light switches? Yes. These are dealt with immediately. Unless I'm distracted before I have time to grab the Mr. Clean sponge.

Tip Five tells the best way to clean the light fixtures - laying them on the bottom of the sink filled with warm, sudsy water. I clean my light fixtures when we need to change a bulb. I thought lightbulbs were timed that way. It never fails: Just when the little dead bugs begin to accumulate, the bulb burns out.

Other tips were to use a sturdy ladder for safety to reach the ceiling; use two buckets to clean heavily soiled surfaces, one with the cleaning solution and the other to rinse the cloth or sponge; and to test a wall before you wash it.

These are all fine tips but I believe in letting my walls and ceilings grow dingy in a uniform fashion. Then painting.

-Dolores Fox Ciardelli can be e-mailed at editor@DanvilleWeekly.com.

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