Thursday, April 28, 2011
Spring cleaning dates me
A couple of weeks ago while the weather was still wintry, I decided I would start doing some of my annual inside work and not feel sorry for myself because I couldn’t be outside.
So the kitchen had to have its general once-a-year cleaning. I moved out most of the furniture to clean the ceiling and walls. I don’t know if other people do this, but it’s something I do to avoid having to paint them for as long as I can. Everything has to be removed from the walls, the clock, decorations, a lamp and calendar. Some of this was done the night before to help me get an early start.
With everyone forewarned not to come into the kitchen, I finished my task in one day. Can you move your stove and refrigerator out to clean behind them? Fortunately the fridge and stove are on wheels and can be rolled out. Those two things are always the challenge, but everything is now clean in the kitchen.
I know many people only clean when it needs doing; they have a good idea, too.
I’m told that today’s homeowner especially housewives (if you can call them that because nowadays most ladies of the house have careers) don’t do housecleaning in spring or fall any longer, so I guess I’m dating myself when I say I do spring cleaning. Homes are cleaned when rooms need a new coat of paint or wallpaper, rugs are shampooed by commercial cleaners, windows can be done by persons who do this as a business if you can afford it, your work is done by tradesmen. Others do it when they have the time or can get their husbands or other relative to take care of it.
These days there are many gadgets that make all of these projects so much easier. There are machines to shampoo rugs, wash windows, sand or polish hardwood floors and other tasks. Back in grandma’s day, carpets were pulled up and hung on the backyard clothesline for someone to pound with the carpet beater to remove the dust and dirt.
Everything was done by hand. Windows were cleaned outside and in. Walls and baseboards were scrubbed; it was backbreaking on your hands and knees.
Those were the days of coal-burning furnaces and smoke was a detriment for your house cleaning.
Curtains weren’t made of the miracle fabrics today. When they were washed after soaking overnight to try and get them white, you had to pin them on curtain stretchers that were put together beforehand and taken outside on the porch for the curtains to dry on them in the fresh air. Today they are put in the automatic washer and some ladies hang them back up immediately from the washer while others might hang them out for a few minutes for the sun to dry them before hanging them back up.
Grandmother and mom would have to remove the curtains from the stretchers after they had finished the windows and possibly the whole room and with luck they could be hung back up but sometimes might have to be “touched up” with the iron. Imagine it. Aren’t you glad that you are living in this century?
If you own property it can be a burden at times. There is always something that needs fixing, repairing or renovating. If you rent you have none of those worries. There is much satisfaction when you “do it yourself” but you don’t have the carefree life of the people who rent. The choice is yours, but I like doing things for myself and being able to either step back and admire my work or if it hasn’t turned out the way I thought, thinking, oh well, who knows the difference besides me. I’m not a perfectionist.
This edition of Canastota Corner originally ran April 21, 2010.