Time for Spring Cleaning

Story and photos by Samantha Hall

As we enter the warmth of the spring season, many mention the iconic term “Spring Cleaning”. What does this term mean? Is it just a term used to represent the coming of spring, or is this an activity that individuals participate in?

According to Fantastic Cleaners, “The meaning of spring-cleaning stands for a thorough domestic cleaning of your entire home – room by room and top to bottom…the spring clean-up can start anywhere from 1st of March and continue all the way until the end of April.”

We are less motivated in the winter to do a long day of cleaning because of the cold and lack of sun. Thus, when spring brings its warm weather and sun, we are more motivated to act. Let’s look at how different people approach this idea and some good tips that one can use to start. 

For most, spring cleaning is a learned tradition, with some families participating and others not so much, resulting in different views and practices.  

“Spring cleaning would usually entail things that you couldn’t get to during the winter, when I was at a house we would prune some of the trees, trim some of the bushes to make it look a little bit neater.” says Nathaniel Stine, a graduate student who gave insight on what spring cleaning meant when he was growing up. “Spring cleaning also entailed opening up the pool, so there was a lot of cleaning you had to do.”  

Stine mentioned that this yearly activity also means cleaning out and reorganizing the garage and positioning the lawn mower up front for its use during the warmer months. He recommended cleaning out the air conditioner since it gets nasty over the winter due to its lack of use.  

For those who live in apartments, where spring cleaning is not as exterior, Stine recommends cleaning bookshelves that have accumulated much dust over the winter and getting to certain chores that have not been touched for a long time. Summer is a time when hosting others in your house or apartment is common, thus this is a great time to start cleaning up.  

Deep cleaning your entire house after the slump of winter can seem like a daunting task, therefore it’s good to make the job goal efficient as well as fun. Some ways to do this are listening to upbeat music or getting friends to help.  

“I think the most important thing I can say is not to overwhelm yourself. Set realistic goals and if you do that, I think it doesn’t become so much of a heavy burden, if you set goals, try to stick with them. It makes it less discouraging,” says April Decess, a 47-year-old mother from Greenville, Michigan. Spring cleaning is commonplace in her own house with the help of her teenage daughter.  

Catherine Lobash, a junior from Mokena, Illinois adds to this idea, recommending writing down goals and tasks on paper. This ensures that your plans are laid out in front of you and can easily be checked off to show improvement. This gives a sense of motivation and organization.  

Let’s look at how organizations prepare for the warmer months, whether that’s a single event to commemorate the spring or a yearly routine that entails the cleaning of the interior and exterior of a building.  

“I’m in a fraternity right now and it’s the Greek Week for all the fraternities and sororities on campus.” says Tim Peterson, a sophomore, and a dorm resident. Greek Week is a week-long event where fraternities and sororities alike form teams and participate in fundraising activities for charities and organizations. This was a contributor to Petersen’s spring cleaning. “We had a day of service today and our service was going around with trash bags and just picking up trash along the streets in Mt. Pleasant,” Peterson says.  

Along with this, Saint Mary’s University Parish participated in spring cleaning this year, too. Patrons came together to clean different areas of the church, this included cleaning out the gutter, polishing the floor of the church altar, reorganizing the closets, vacuuming, mopping, and dusting. Father Matthew Gembrowski plans to make this a yearly event.  

However, spring cleaning varies from culture to culture because of different customs and expectations. Yakkanti Chinnapareddy, a graduate student from Andhra Pradesh, India, says it is customary to deep clean one’s house daily to maintain a neat appearance. Therefore, spring cleaning is not something that is typically talked about in this culture. This is because it is customary for neighbors and friends to arrive at the house unannounced, therefore everything must be presentable. As a result, Chinnapareddy mentioned that he often helps his friends with tidying up their homes.  

Alina Joseph, a graduate student at CMU from Tamil Nadu, India, their new year takes place in April, and they hold festivals and clean their houses to represent the coming of spring and the new year. For example, HinduAmerican.org states that Vasant Panchami marks the beginning of spring on the fifth day of the month Magha (January-February on Western calendars). This day is considered a favorable time for new beginnings such as starting a new business or getting married. The Goddess Saraswati of knowledge, wisdom, learning, and art, and Kamadeva, the God of love, is celebrated on this day as well.

Spring cleaning your entire home, apartment, or dorm suite can be a very daunting and an overwhelming task. Remember to ask for help from those residing in your home with designated tasks for each person. Listen to upbeat music to make the process less boring and more exciting, and set realistic goals, such as cleaning a designated area each day and writing down your goals so that you can check them off and see how far you’ve come.  

As we prepare for spring, let us declutter our homes so that we can make room for the warm, social, and physical aspects of the warmer seasons.