14 April 2012

The Eccentric's Guide to Spring Cleaning

Not to be confused with the sort of Spring Cleaning that involves rags, polish, soapy water and sponges, the Eccentric's Spring Cleaning has more to do with the sorting, moving, arranging and organization of various items that make the house (and garden) seem prettier, in season, and at the ready for whatever whimsical events might occur. While this annual reckoning might seem unimportant to some it is absolutely crucial to the Eccentric's lifestyle.
  • Yarn Stash: having been pulled out, fussed with, half-used and generally cannibalized during the frenzy of Christmas knitting, this must now be sorted properly by the Eccentric and returned to its rightful location(s) throughout the house
  • Magazines: they piled up during the holidays, a small dent was made throughout winter, but now the Eccentric must plow through them in earnest to rid the house of any issues that say "Winter" or "January/February"
  • Important articles or recipes ripped from abovementioned mags: the Eccentric must collect these from the various and sundry places they were squirreled away and then must read them with a cooler head and either file them away or discard them ("Oh! individual Beef Wellingtons for Christmas dinner! What a great idea!")
  • Gift bags, wrapping paper and ribbon: time for the Eccentric to look through the non-Christmas stash of gift-giving accoutrements to make sure there are enough for Spring and Summer events coming up, taking care that they are sorted by size and color and easy to grab as needed
  • Stationery: the Eccentric is a serial stationery purchaser, and it's time to sort through what she has, either to make sure there is enough or (more likely) to pass along to friends and family members pretty ribbon-tied stacks of anything extra she really won't use in this particular lifetime
  • Greeting cards: [see Stationery above] once the sorting out is completed, the Eccentric must ready the ones to send out for impending Springtime birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, etc.
  • Stamps, address labels, stickers: the Eccentric must organize this stash so it better reflects the coming seasons (i.e., anything with a snowman, Christmas tree, or holly must go to the bottom of the pile)
  • Tablecloths and napkins: the Eccentric will rotate the stacks of table linens so the seasonal ones for Spring and Summer are on top and the dark green, cranberry red, and brown plaid are banished until Autumn
  • Curtains and Valances: time for the Eccentric to wash and/or change out curtains and valances and, in some cases, remove curtains entirely despite the obvious danger of exposing windows that will need to be washed. (For the Eccentric, this is living on the edge.)
  • Bed linens: now that the nights are warmer, the Eccentric will remove the rose-strewn puff comforter, the floral quilt, the tartan wool blanket and the white matelasse cover from her bed and change over to something pretty, light, and less like a radiation shield
  • Sunhats, garden gloves, pithe helmet, garden smock, flashlight, clogs: all must be available on hooks by the backdoor for the Eccentric's forays into the garden, night or day
  • Vases, pots, pitchers, urns and flower buckets:  these must be organized by the Eccentric and placed in a handy location so they can be pressed into service at a moment's notice for small nosegays or overflowing bouquets throughout the growing season
  • Gardening equipment: this is perhaps the Eccentric's biggest but most pleasurable task as she checks all twine, seed starters, clippers, hand rakes, cultivators, trowels, peatpots, bamboo stakes, potting soil, seed packets, fencing and seed heads for the coming season
  • Garden furniture, trellises, plant stands and "peculiars": again, a rite of passage dear to the Eccentric's heart, as she dusts, washes (yes, she makes an exception here, and happily), paints, repairs and/or replaces items that are lovingly placed around the outside of her cottage [NOTE: peculiars are those odd little things the Eccentric likes to put in the garden.... row-boat oars, broken chairs, spines from old umbrellas, cast off vanity tables, old screen doors, cast off house shutters]
Once these VITs [Very Imporant Tasks] are taken care of then, and only then, will the Eccentric turn her attention to the traditional cleaning of the interior of her house. But not until she has prepared a large vat of Sun Tea, brought a plate of scones or biscuits out to the pergola, grabbed the latest "APRIL" issue of her favorite magazine, and sat contentedly amongst the flowers, shrubberies, birds, cats, squirrels and bumbles.   Until then....
If you must write your name in the dust,
do not put the date.

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