It seems that all the “women’s interest” magazines and daily newspaper style pages…

…always trot out a host of articles as we start thinking about warmer weather to give us tips on “spring cleaning.”


Is it just me or do you find the whole idea of “spring cleaning” silly?

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are seasons to my household activities. For example, in spring and fall I do rotate the clothes in my too-small closet so that the seasonal items are in easy reach. I am also one of those people you might call a “serial redecorator.” In the seven years we’ve lived in our house I have painted my bathroom four times. My office is getting painted for the third time today (a lovely pinky-taupe color that sets off the triple crown molding). I’m seriously thinking about chucking the office furniture for something more airy and streamlined. I switch out linens and artwork somewhere in the house nearly every week.

As the weather warms up, my redecorating naturally turns to the outdoors—creating new beds, sprucing up the garden furniture, raking, mowing…The list is endless, isn’t it?

You might be concluding that I’m pretty much on top of the whole cleaning thing—and you would be right. So I am absolutely sent to the edge of screaming when I see some of these articles that assume that everyone is in need of a remedial class on keeping a decent house.

Case in point…

That incredibly irritating magazine, Real Simple, must be for the simple minded or for those who need remedial lessons in housekeeping. Their website is featuring some of the most lame-brained articles I have seen yet on spring cleaning.

In an article called “Streamlined Spring Cleaning Plan” they tell you to “forget what constitutes a ‘proper’ spring cleaning, and instead take aim at visible dirt.” The article is full of spiffy hints such as “If your blinds and drapes have reached the ‘do not touch’ stage, turn them over to a professional.” They go on to advise you to clean out your kitchen cabinets by first emptying the contents onto the countertop. Duh.

Naturally, all of these helpful hints are accompanied by editor-picked products to help you do the job better.

Why, oh why, do we need to read a magazine to tell us to call the hazmat team if our drapes are so disgusting that we can’t touch them? I’m thinking that the folks whose houses have reached the decontamination stage of squalor aren’t kicking back to read spring cleaning articles in Real Simple in their free time.

One more example…

There’s a little article called “Maintain a Sparkling House in Just 19 Minutes a Day.”

Nineteen minutes. Apparently 18 won’t keep it sparkling like they promise. But 20 minutes is going overboard. Should we time ourselves to make sure we don’t over-invest in this whole house cleaning thing?

Oh, wait. Apparently so. I see now that they very helpfully outline a minute-by-minute plan for those 19 minutes–4 ½ minutes for the kitchen, 2 minutes for the bathroom, 6 ½ minutes for the bedroom and 6 minutes for the family room, living room and foyer.

I don’t know about you, but 19 minutes would not cut it around our house. With two men, two dogs, a cat and a fish named Pish living under the same roof, I’m organizing, scrubbing, laundering, airing, dusting, vacuuming, sweeping or ironing something pretty much every single day. And it can’t be done in 19 minutes and still allow me to call my house “sparkling.”

In case you’re wondering by now if I need medication for my obsessive-compulsive housekeeping disorder, let me assure you that I think I have it under control. However, I might need a little something for when all those magazines and newspapers start publishing their spring cleaning articles.

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  • Joy says:

    Thanks for the giggles .. this was a hoot !
    Also bordering on OCD house cleaning .. haha!

  • […] Read the rest of this great post here […]

  • I am pretty oblivious to the finer points of housecleaning until the cobwebs start getting dusty. That’s when I notice there are cobwebs. And that’s usually February. And it takes most of February for me to wrap my mind around the idea that, just maybe, somebody should do something about them. And by then it’s March. And that’s why they call it spring cleaning.

  • Gay says:

    My Grandma Mason used to say that Spring cleaning is meant for people who do not clean anything all year.

  • Jennifer says:

    Nice blog. I really like the look. I like your attitude!

  • Good post! You do sound just a tiny bit OCD about cleanliness, but that’s okay, we all have to be something. Now, go recycle that magazine before it collects a bunch of dust.

  • Diana says:

    That was a hoot! You are right about those dumb articles! The people who NEED them don’t know they need them OR they don’t care! Duh – LOL. And I thnk you should wear your cleaning OCD like a badge!

  • RuthieJ says:

    Gosh Robin, I wish I was a bit more OCD about cleaning….if you saw my house, you’d know.
    I like the 19 minutes a day idea, only I’d take 19 minutes per room per day and that might work out pretty good

  • Kate says:

    I feel exactly the same way about this magazine. When it first came out, I was ‘treated’ to a free subscription to it and never renewed because I found it inane in every aspect.

    Wish I had more of your cleaning energy, though.

  • If the truth be known, I’m a rather slatternly housekeeper. The two of us reside like absent-minded professors rarely aware of our physical surroundings so involved are we in our theoretical landscapes. So I always find these seasonal articles rather inspirational. We use anniversaries as milestones, to mark our way along the path. Some of us need to be reminded to look up and pay attention to where we are going. In the same vein, reading about spring cleaning reminds me to focus and make an effort out of the ordinary at least occasionally.

  • Alyssa says:

    I read your post as I was searching for a free subscription to Real Simple (well, I settled for 74% off.) I never did chores as a child and so I never needed to learn to clean until I had my own place, so, sorry, but I love this magazines! I also am an extremely absent-minded professor type so it’s been a multi-year process to find out how to organize things for maximum efficiency, since I’d rather be doing anything other than cleaning. By the way, your photos are beautiful!