Afew weeks ago knowing that my dad and his partner would be coming to stay I decided that some areas of my house, in particular the kitchen, were in desperate need of some attention.
Cutlery was haphazardly flung in a draw among take-away menus and other sharp objects and there were unidentifiable things in the back of my fridge that were once edible. I daren’t even open one cupboard door for fear I’d be buried alive under a mound of jumbled tupperware.
What started as a quick sort out while I waited for the kettle to boil ended in a five-hour blitz and a kitchen so clean and organised you could cook and eat your dinner off of it.
The whole thing reaffirmed two things to me – that I’ll do anything to get out of doing actual work, and that cleaning is a dangerously time consuming thing to start.
When I arrived at my son’s school that afternoon I was met by a paint splattered friend who had found herself compelled, entirely by coincidence, to redecorate her kitchen. A few phone calls later and it seemed in one way or another most of my friends had been at it over the past weeks.
Was it like the phenomenon of menstrual cycles where woman become in tune with one another – had our cleaning cycles aligned themselves too? Or is the spring clean just some natural female response, like the nesting instinct you get during pregnancy?
I’ve always rebelled against the idea of spring cleaning too. I won’t be dictated to by the seasons, I’ll do it when I’m good and ready thank you very much!
Still, my newly-organised kitchen made me realise how little time I’d been spending there outside of necessary mealtime preparation and I felt all of a sudden, get this, calmer. You know what they say, a clean house makes for a clean mind and if you’re a Feng Shui activist you may understand me when I say it felt as if I’d released some blocked energy (I think it was stuck behind all the tupperware).
Safe in the knowledge that I would no longer do myself an injury by reaching into my cutlery drawer, I stopped avoiding my kitchen and even felt compelled to start doing homely things again like baking.
It reminded me of a book I’d read a couple of years ago about how liberating de-cluttering can be. But I’m a natural clutterholic – one of those people that hold on to everything ‘just in case’. Looking at my computer I realise I’ve become a virtual hoarder too – keeping every e-mail, file and out of focus photograph I’ve ever uploaded from my camera.
We know that a clutter free home is the way forward, but keeping things organised and clean is easier said than done with a hectic family life.
It’s a losing battle too – no sooner have you vacuumed up several tiny LEGO limbs than you find the carpet’s covered again. But if you have a spare few moments or weeks, it really is amazing how good it makes you feel clearing out the old rubbish you don’t need or use anymore.
My dad and his partner didn’t come to stay in the end, but at least I now know where all my kitchen utensils are.