I stared at the stack of boxes shoved up against the kitchen island and threw up my hands. “Well, that’s good enough! Time for coffee.”
I’d spent the entire morning yanking clothes off hangers and out of drawers that I haven’t worn since fifteen pounds ago, tossing them into boxes with the intensity of flicking a frisbee across the room. As part of my spring cleaning campaign, I was going to scrub and organize my home from ceiling to carpet.
The problem is … I hate spring cleaning.
Which is why I’d only managed to fill a few boxes for the Goodwill donation before I was ready to tap out.
When I sat on the couch to scroll through my phone (You know, instead of cleaning the house like I was supposed to be doing), I decided to research where the whole idea of spring cleaning originated. I guess googling about it made me feel like I was being productive.
One source said that spring cleaning originated from the idea that pioneer women–trapped inside their homes due to freezing winter temperatures–were eager to enjoy the returning warmth of the season and the opportunity to beat the dust out of throw rugs and itchy bedding. Thankfully, I can throw my rugs into the washing machine any season of the year, and I sleep on a memory foam mattress. Problem solved!
Thumbing to another website, I found that over 3,000 years ago, ancient Persians took part in a spring tradition they called khane-tekani. Khane-tekani translates to mean “shaking down the house” and is still practiced by Iranians today. It is believed that dusting and decluttering the home wards off ill fortune for the coming year.
Hmm … that sounds intriguing, I thought.
I imagined my husband coming home from work–wondering why I was dusting the house at a manic pace–and telling him I was “shaking down the house” to keep us safe from ill fortune. That sounds more impressive than saying I’m spring cleaning because, well, how mundane is that?
That’s when it occurred to me that, since I had spent all my free time drinking coffee and surfing the internet, I was possibly dooming my family to an ill-fortuned year.
Guilt hit its target. I went back to work.
I tugged out the bucket I kept in the hall closet and pulled out all the bottles of cleaning solutions. Pine Sol (I love the smell!), Mrs. Meyer’s Iowa Pine, and Windex lined the counter like sentries preparing for battle. Adding a pile of microfiber cleaning cloths and a roll of paper towels to the arsenal, I was ready to tackle the job. I recruited Echo Dot to provide motivational tunes to get me going and attacked the kitchen first.
That first hour was amazing. I scrubbed the cabinets clean of lingering grease and my reflection never looked so beautiful in the microwave and oven doors. It was after I dragged the vacuum cleaner out of the closet that things got complicated.
I made the mistake of flipping the machine over and noticed the wheel was clogged with hair. Since my husband’s bald, there was no wondering who it belonged to. After dismantling the bottom of the vacuum and attacking the rollers with my only decent pair of scissors, I’d lost forty-five minutes and the remainder of my waning enthusiasm.
The rest of the house would receive a lick and a promise, and I’d have to figure out another way to save my household from ill fortune. I’ll try harder next spring. Or maybe I’ll feel ambitious enough to deep clean in the fall when Pumpkin Spice lattes make their appearance and Christmas decor makes its way-too-early debut at Hobby Lobby.
Or, maybe, I’ll just have to pay someone else to come in and shake down the house.
Regina Felty is a local author from Vail, Arizona, where she lives with her husband, Andrew, and their energetic rat terrier, Rocco. Besides writing and her career as an Educational Interpreter, Regina also manages her personal blog, It’s a Felty Thing.