Saturday, January 07, 2012

January Cleaning!

I don't know about you, but my house is worse for the wear after the holidays. January always feels like the time to me to dig in and get things in order, not that I'm a great example of always having an orderly house.

In our area (Tennessee), we do not have hard winters, but whatever wintry weather we have usually happens between January and March. I can't say for certain that we won't have some snow this year. But, we do not have the unbroken days upon weeks of snow, salted roads and dripping snow boots, as some areas of the U. S. do. Our coldest days are usually followed by mild spells that make one thing of spring.

And, what glorious, but brief springs we have! When those few weeks of mild weather arrive, sandwiched as they are between our winters and our long, long summers, it's a delight to be outside or going places rather than doing heavy cleaning. I'd rather have the intense stuff behind me. So, getting a jump on cleaning now makes sense for our area -- or, at least for me.

Spring cleanings and fall cleanings evolved in the days when houses became very dusty and grimy from winter heating methods. People did not have central air, with its circulating currents, and even the best of house keepers had to fight winter stuffiness. Periodic deep cleanings were essential in the cities, but also evolved along with the rhythms of farm life, as a greater percentage of homes were in rural areas.

Around our part of the South, women also used to keep grass cloth mats to spread upon their regular carpets during rainy spells, such as occur most frequently in the spring and the fall. This was a must in the days when gentlemen tracked the outdoors in on their boots.

In many parts of the U.S., people changed (and still change) curtains and bedding with the seasons. Other than throwing on or taking off an extra layer of bedding, this is not as necessary where I live as it might be in other parts.

Of course, we have many large areas in the U.S. where the weather is unvarying the year round. I spent my early years in Florida, where our roses bloomed best at Christmas. House keeping in semi-tropical areas, arid areas, or Mediterranean type climates is slightly different than in areas with four distinct seasons.

With the advent of central air and other conveniences, many people have dispensed with seasonal cleaning altogether and prefer to work monthly and quarterly and annual chores into their regular cleaning schedule. Others still find its valuable to designate specific periods for deep cleaning.

The need to keep our personal and family shelter clean hasn't changed over time. However, the different circumstances of our lives mean that we can tweak our cleaning habits to suit our and our family's lifestyles. This require thinking through our family's needs, rather than doing what our mothers and grandmothers did simply because they did it. On the other hand, understanding how they cleaned and why can help us adapt their wisdom about keeping a clean and orderly home to our practices today.

What about you? In what type of climate do you live? How do you handle non-routine cleaning chores? Do you set aside periods of deep cleaning? Or, do you work extra tasks into a weekly routine? What accommodations do you make in your house cleaning for the types of weather you normally have?


1 comment:

JoannaTopazT said...

In a normal year, we would be in a snow-covered deep freeze in Minnesota from now until toward the end of March. This year, we've been having weather in the 40s and 50s. It kind of takes away some of the motivation to hunker down and do January indoor organizing-type projects. In "normal" weather years, I like to do a fall cleaning-- most importantly, washing the windows inside and out, so we're not staring out depressing dirty ones all winter -- and a spring one. The big deal in spring is clearing all the winter's accumulated dirt and grit from the garage/entryway, and from the tracks of windows and the sliding doors to the deck. Plus, of course, getting the outdoor furniture, water faucets, etc. ready for the winter and/or summer, depending on which cleaning.