The green table is moving! I'll begin posting again after we're all set up in our new home!

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Time to Clean

I dreamed my whole house was clean...

It's funny, the more you clean the more you see the dirt.

A few years ago when I started to research the Church Year, I was drawn, and continue to be amazed by the traditions of the Year.  There are innumerable traditions blindly practiced by our society, little knowing that they are really practices for extending the faith in our daily life.  Understanding the "why" behind the "what" enriches even the most mundane activities, and provides beautiful, meaningful ways to orderly share the life and love of Christ with our children. 

Back to my dirt.  There is plenty of it!  Dirt, dust, and grime covers my floors, cupboards, walls, windows, and heart in the form of sooty sin that only Christ's blood can wash away. 

Spring Cleaning is traditionally a part of the celebration of Holy Week on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. It makes since to clean, not only to prepare before the Easter Feast, but also in reflection as part of the penitential mood Holy Week.

Remember, these old fashioned traditions I find so charming and helpful are not God's Law.  They are not required for our salvation. Christ alone has accomplished all that is needed!  And so, this year I've exercised my liberty and am extending my Spring Cleaning throughout the season of Lent.

My little boy!  My dear, sweet, messy, destructive, little boy!  With two young children at home, some days I feel like all I do is cook for them, feed them, wash hands and faces, clean the kitchen, then wipe their little bottoms - only to start the process over again.  Messes abound! By the time I get one room cleaned, it is immediately destroyed behind me.  There is no gratification of closing the door behind a perfectly cleaned room and expecting it to stay that way, but I'd never trade my children for a meticulous home. 

Instead of deep cleaning one room, top to bottom, at a time, this year I'm trying a new method for Spring Cleaning. For me, Spring Cleaning does not include the regular tasks such as sweeping, dusting, cleaning bathrooms, and sparkling chrome.  Spring Cleaning is deep cleaning, including tasks that take a little more effort, resources, and time. I began by making a list of twenty jobs I'd like to get done before Easter.  I chose twenty tasks because I'll be cleaning throughout Lent.  There is no possible way I could get all of that deep cleaning done in three days and still devote time to my children and their needs.  Also, the later in spring the warmer the weather, and living in South Florida, I need to make the most of the cool, dry weather for completing out door window washing and such.  Finally, by limiting myself to only twenty tasks, I give myself a little grace and flexibility with the goal of completing one job every two days.

Every Spring Cleaning list will vary based on the needs of the household.  Here's my list:
1) dust ceilings, wash ceiling fans
2) Mr. Clean spots on walls, touch up with paint as needed
3) cupboards - fronts only
4) baseboards and exterminator grime residue
5) move and clean behind furniture
6) change air filter
7) clean mildew from lanai furniture
8) condition leather sofa
9) vacuum and steam clean upholstery
10) clean blinds
11) lamps, shades, and lighting fixtures
12) wash windows - inside and out
13) lint in and around laundry room
14) inside washer, dryer, fridge and dishwasher
15) mirrors and picture frames
16) Adelae's cubbies - empty, clean out, reorganize
17) kids books, reorganize
18) shower and tub grout - steam?
19) outside entry
20) lanai floors

Finally, a few notes about some of the tools I used for cleaning this year.

I love the idea of natural cleaning products.  They are inexpensive and safer for children. Soda works wonders for scouring sinks, bathrooms, and freshening kitchen appliances. 

Vinegar makes soda sizzle!  I saw a great idea on Pintrest.  Add a the peel of an orange or other citrus fruit to a jar of white vinegar.  Let it sit for a week or so.  I also strained the orange vinegar before using it to wipe down cabinets and in the bathroom.

Who doesn't LOVE Mr. Clean Magic Erasers for removing grime?

Keim Lumber Company
Similarly, my mom and Aunt Sue found Wonder Rags at Keim Lumber in Charm, OH.  In some ways they are even better then Mr. Clean Erasers because they don't leave behind fuzzy eraser residue, don't dissolve with use, and I've found that they wash well so you can continue using them time and time again until they are completely disgusting. I like to make some fresh Shaklee spray using hot water, but just dampening the cloth with water works well too.

We tried Krud Kutter Window Wash with hose attachment for cleaning our windows from the outside this year.  Andy and I worked as a team to pre-rinse, "Krud Kut", and rinse the windows followed by a squeegee finish.  The product made for quick, fun, work.  We quickly learned that the pre-rinse and post-rinse must not be rushed, and a high powered hose devours the Krud Kutter solution quickly.  The squeegee finish was a must.
One of the best parts about cleaning throughout Lent has been the time it has given me to keep up with my favorite Lutheran radio podcasts!  It's amazing how much you can learn while scrubbing blinds!  All who know me well also know of my love for Issues, Etc. (click here to link.)  Perhaps my favorite cleaning tool of the season, Issues has a new app!  Now I can listen with my phone in my pocket as I work around the house.  For times when I'm feeling a little more feisty, I also enjoy listening to Fighting for the Faith. (Click here to link.)  Did you know some are advocating for those in the ministry to wear Spanx for men to keep their beer belly at bay?  Beauty is pain, all for the sake of the Gospel!  Seriously? Hearing that kind of stuff really makes me scrub with a gusto of frustration!

As you Spring Clean, reflect on the rubbish and filth in your own heart. "Have you been disobedient, unfaithful, or lazy? Have you been hot-tempered, rude, or quarrelsome? Have you hurt someone by your words or deeds? Have you stolen, been negligent, wasted anything, or done any harm?" (yes, yup, yes, uh huh!)

We can't Mr. Clean our sin away. There is no Krud Kudder can manage that kind of deep cleaning.  Jesus blood is the one and only cleaning solution needed.  His gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation were sprinkled on us as we are washed clean in the water and Word of our baptism. Thanks be to God!

ta-daa! now let's have a cocktail...
I love Anne Taintor!

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