It’s Spring Cleaning Time: A Shout-Out From The Trenches

Hey there, peeps! How goes your spring? You may have noticed I’ve been kinda quiet of late. It’s not on purpose – but life has been filled with my own form of spring cleaning.

My mother has held many jobs in her life, both as a working professional and a professional volunteer. Yet at her core, she remains the iconic housewife of another era. Twice a year, spring and fall, her house gets a thorough, room-to-room, top-to-bottom cleaning. Dust bunnies excavated and eradicated from under beds. Mattresses rotated. Windows washed, and curtains aired. The whole nine yards.

I aspire to her lofty ideals. But alas, neither my full-time parent gig nor my part-time writing gig seem to afford me the 20,000-hours-a-day that she has mustered, for as long as I can remember, to devote a week of her life to this Herculean task.

A real-life dust-bunny I found escaping from under my husband's dresser a little while ago.
A real-life dust-bunny I found escaping from under my husband’s dresser a little while ago.

(And, let’s face it, much as I love self-employment, my current take-home pay is not enough to justify hiring a cleaning service, even if I could let go of the guilt that would accompany such a decision.)

So I’ve failed at spring cleaning in the traditional sense (even though, when my dear husband and I purchased our current home, I set up an elaborate Excel-file checklist of what needed to be accomplished, room-by-room, so that I could both chase unpredictable children around the house and, little by little, chip away at the tasks required for a Clean Home according to the standards by which I was raised).

I read a lovely post about spring cleaning the other day, over at…umm…I apparently didn’t bookmark the link, because I’ll be darned if I can find it. It was something about spring cleaning in the spirit of minimizing and simplifying your life. Maybe it was a print article I read about the Tiny Home movement. I dunno.

(I vaguely recall thinking at the time, “Hmm, should bookmark this!” – but apparently I didn’t. One less piece of digital clutter, I guess.)

No, my form of spring cleaning, alas, takes more like two months to execute than one week.

Boxes of consignment, ready to go
Boxes of consignment, ready to go

But it tends to be much more profitable, and has a much more dramatic impact on the space in which we live – even if it spares the lives of far too many dust-bunnies.

My version of spring and fall cleaning comes in the form of Spring Consignment Sale and Fall Consignment Sale.

If you’re a longtime reader, or perhaps stumbled across this blog by trolling the internet for advice on children’s consignment events, you will recall my chronicles – here, here, and here – about the various solutions I’ve tried to offload all the no-longer-needed trappings of child-rearing in the 21st century.

Well, folks, Spring Consignment Season has arrived.

For the past two months, in and around parenting the girls and writing for clients, I have devoted every spare minute to spring cleaning every last bit of no-longer-needed stuff out of our lives.

charitable donationsSo far I’ve deposited two full carloads at Goodwill and other local charitable drop-off points. And I have at least one more carload’s worth of stuff waiting for me to upcycle it to those-who-will-use-it-more-than-we-are. It will vacate our garage soon – that is, as soon as I can get around to it.

But the most time-consuming activity in my spring cleaning remains preparing for Spring Baby Consignment Event.

At which – because I’m a crazy person who seems to thrive on this sort of thing – I basically live for four weeks a year (my particular event has two spring sales and two fall sales in neighboring counties).

I swear, this time I followed my own advice and got my backside in gear a full two months before Drop-Off Day.

But life has a funny way of intervening. As it always does.

Then again, I seem to have hit a new record high of “stuff” – measured by number of items – entered into the online tagging system.

marked hangersAnd entering the items isn’t the only thing that takes time, of course. There’s all the cleaning of said items. And all the hanging of the clothes. And all the tagging. And, if you want to pick up your unsold stuff so you can try again next sale with a better pricing scheme (which is totally me), all the marking. (For the first time ever, I actually enlisted the girls’ help yesterday, “marking” my hangers with curled ribbon so it’s easier to spot unsold items at pick-up time.)

So, um, yeah, that’s why I haven’t been posting as often as I’d like lately.

And that’s why I’ve perhaps been even-more-neglectful-than-usual of the vacuuming and sweeping and dusting around here, even as my dear husband has kept up his faithful routine of devoting Sunday mornings to such activities.

The corner of our basement where consignment stuff lives - notice the clear floor space!
The corner of our basement where consignment stuff lives – notice the clear floor space!

But I thrill to think of all the emptiness I’ll sense in my home and my garage and my life, come next week sometime when the dust settles, I clean up the rubble, and I realize there is far less “stuff” around here than there was a month ago.

Granted, I have some exceptionally bulky things to pass along to new homes this time around, but I’ve hit a new record there, too: today’s drop-off filled both my station wagon and my mother’s pickup-truck-with-cap to the brim – and I have another full load in the truck to go tomorrow morning.our changing table, painted and ready to go

Best of all, tomorrow I will load up our final changing table and bid it a fond farewell.

Every last disposable diaper we owned went out on the sales floor this morning. And for the past two weeks, our garage has been home not to my car, but to my efforts to give the changing table that formerly lived in Essie’s room a fresh coat of paint.

You may not be up for the dust-bunny-eradicating type of spring cleaning any more than I am.

But figure out a form that works for you, and give it a go for the next week (or longer, if you choose).

Whether you jettison dirt and grime, or physical stuff, or the emotional trappings of a life you’re no longer living, I promise you that the results will be liberating.

At least, I think so – but I’ll be better able to say for sure once I get caught up on sleep!

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