The arrival of spring is often bittersweet for me – I adore the new growth and pop-your-eyes-out green of new leaves and flowers, but for my husband and I, it’s also the time to transition from one community to another. It’s hard to leave behind friends and family, even though another set of friends and family wait…
Eight years ago, my husband and I bought a second home in my native Alabama to be closer to my aging parents. It’s a joy to be back among favorite traditions such as college football, fried green tomatoes and shrimp with grits. We plan to eventually retire back in Naples, FL where our children and businesses are, but for now, we enjoy weekends and holidays with my family.
The problem with spring is spring cleaning – double duty spring cleaning in our case. Before leaving Florida, we try to put the condo in order with new AC filters, freshly vacuumed drapes and no sign of cat hair in the carpet. Then, after driving 12 hours with pets in tow, we open up the house in Alabama. It’s a lot of detail work.
Such was the case on Monday. We drove all day Sunday, unpacked the car and the cats, only to begin putting miscellaneous supplies away. Monday found us cleaning off inches of thick green pollen that those lovely spring buds bring – for five and a half hours! By the time our gym class rolled around, neither my husband nor I could straighten our backs, although our downstairs porch sparkles like new.
Did I mention I am not a detail person? Unlike so many of my friends, I do not find joy in dirt, real or accumulated. Many colleagues wax on about the wonders of gardening but it leaves me flat. So does cleaning screens, oiling teak patio furniture and wiping out cobwebs. But…I must say that while the process does not enthrall me, the end result makes my heart sing.
I certainly don’t describe myself as organized, but I am clean, so there is something about a room without dust, shoes, cat hair or empty wine bottles that puts my soul to rest. I thought of that several times during the second cleaning marathon Monday – how much I will enjoy relaxing on my wonderful, spring-cleaned screened porch. For those of you who enjoy lists, here’s a great site to make sure you’ve covered all the bases.
There are many areas of life where we don’t enjoy the process but love the outcome – it’s a spring cleaning for the soul if you will. What parts of your life do you occasionally need to clean out? What are the benefits or payouts? How do you feel when you’ve finished the task?
A little soul searching, or spiritual spring cleaning, can be cathartic. In her ground breaking book, Simple Abundance, Sarah Ban Breathnach approaches cleaning out closets and cabinets as a life-shaping quest to let go of the past and be present in the moment. What’s waiting for you this spring to put your mind to it and burst out like new blooms and renew your spirit?