It's been years ago now, but I still remember the early spring day when I had stopped by my late grandma's apartment for a visit.
She had to be at least 90 years old at the time. Grandma, as always, had plenty to say, to share, and to ask me about. During a brief lull in the conversation, Grandma turned to me with a smile and said, "So I suppose you're about ready to start on your spring cleaning."
Now, just the thought of such a project caught me completely off guard, because, no, I hadn't even been thinking about spring cleaning. After I found some kind of reply, the conversation moved on, but I'm sure that Grandma knew that wasn't on my radar.
That kind of still sums up where I am with the whole concept of spring cleaning. And where it was for my grandma. Although by then she no longer had a house to keep, for her spring cleaning was simply what a good housekeeper did at the appropriate season every year.
Which is really rather backwards, because it has to be much easier for people in my generation to spring clean than it ever was when my grandma's generation was my age and faced with freshening up the house after a long winter.
Surely my grandma and her peers didn't have the cleaning products or the resources that are available now in this 21st century to make accomplishing these tasks much easier. Like the Internet, where I found scores of Web sites devoted to spring cleaning: how to spring clean, a spring cleaning checklist, tips on spring cleaning, spring cleaning for seniors and another for pet owners, green cleaning tips, and spring cleaning your furniture. And that's all just for starters.
My favorite website title? Tips your mom never taught you.
Even with all that assistance and advice, it still helps if you just see the necessity of spring cleaning. I always try to stay ahead of my regular cleaning around the house, figuring if it ever gets the best of me it's probably all over. Spring cleaning for me is doing my windows, which always makes me feel better when they're done and they sparkle. I clean my mirrors and wash the glass globes and the few cut glass pieces I have so they sparkle, too.
I always get my fireplace cleaned out and lay my special white birch logs on the log holder. That means summer to me. So does opening doors and windows to air out the space.
Judging from the handful of women I consulted about this, I don't believe that spring cleaning is a lost art with my generation. It's just greatly diminished from my grandma's day when it meant washing walls and tending to everything that didn't move. It looks like this 21st century approach will have to do for now.