Bzzzz February 27th, 2008

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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