Spring Cleaning Tips and Other Bad Advice

By Chris Manson


This issue’s start date, March 19, marks the first day of spring. And there’s not a darn thing you can do about it.


Don’t get me wrong. Spring is great. People tend to be kinder towards one another, even in an election year. There’s a spirit of generosity that you don’t find any other time.


Oh, wait. I’m thinking of Christmas.


Ah, spring… I love the warm weather and tension between the Snowbirds who decided to extend their stay a few more weeks and the just-arriving Spring Breakers. I love the traffic jams, because it’s the only way I’m going to get through that Elton John audiobook.


What I don’t love is spring cleaning.


I don’t know what evil entity came up with the idea, but if memory serves me right, it was Granny Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies. She’d scrub down every biscuit in that kitchen before Jethro could pop ‘em down his gullet. And the old woman would get down in the cement pond with a toothbrush, spending hours trying to erase every trace of Elly May’s critters’ late night swims.


Or spring cleaning might have originated with that damn May Queen in Led Zeppelin’s song “Stairway to Heaven.”


I’m doing my part, but I’m not thrilled about it. The first thing is to get all that dog hair out of my car, which is weird because none of my dogs have been in my car, ever. That I know about anyway.


Then I’m going to tackle my right back pocket, where I keep receipts that I’m never going to need unless I require an alibi should I be wrongly accused of murder. Sorry, I’ve been listening to too many true crime podcasts.


Next, I’m planning to go through my record collection and see what my heart can bear to part with. This is going to be very time consuming, as I will need to play each of the thousand or so LPs three or four times to see if I still love them.


I also have a lot of books on the shelves that I will no doubt ever have time to read. But before I drop them off at the thrift store or the American Legion post, I will need to have a look at every single title. Maybe read the first, say, 100 pages to see if anything grabs me.


This should keep me busy well into next winter.


If you’ve never spring cleaned before, here are some tips:


Start outside. The weather is lovely. Usually.


Take some advice from Stephanie Land, the author of the excellent memoir Maid. Start at the top and work from left to right, top to bottom. This works for just about anything you may be happening to clean, other than your bowling ball and certain body parts.


Also—and this, too, was inspired by Ms. Land’s book—you can hire someone to do all of your spring cleaning for you. Just remember to treat them decent and pay them well.


This way, you can head out to one of our beautiful beaches for a day or two. Just remember to clean up after yourself.



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