Sunday, 27 March 2016

Sunday March 27th, 2016 Spring Cleaning

The past few weeks we’ve experienced typical Thunder Bay spring weather, but now that it’s technically spring my thoughts are turning to spring cleaning.  Those few really warm days have allowed me to open the windows and air out the house thus signalling it’s time to clean.  Why is spring cleaning such an event in our culture?  Perhaps it’s because houses tend to get a closed up smell over winter, especially once it’s warm enough that the furnace is no longer running.  Since spring cleaning has been around long before central heating and truly well insulated homes I did a little reading up on the matter.

On the Encyclopaedia Britannica blog I read that in the past people engaged in spring cleaning to get all the soot and ash out of their houses and belongings.  Everything would be cleaned thoroughly after having spent a season closed up with a fire keeping them warm.  Thinking of how grungy everything must have felt makes me love my furnace all the more.  So a tradition developed of cleaning house that has survived to modern times.

 In our era of hyper efficiency and the constant busyness we’re all looking for the quickest way to get the house clean.  Google “spring cleaning” and you will be given a definition, but most results will be either checklists or articles on spring cleaning tips.  Whether you prefer Canadian Living, Martha Stewart, Style at Home, or some other source they offer cleaning guidance.

With your library card you can gain even more access to articles that may not be freely available on the Internet. Just go to and follow the instructions. The Home Improvement Reference Center has great articles on cleaning from sources like Mother Earth News and excerpts from books on specific cleaning topics, e.g. how to clean your greenhouse.  Searching another database (Canadian Periodicals Index Quarterly) I was instantly granted full text of thirty-six articles on spring cleaning.

Perhaps you’re like me and while the online search is enjoyable you also relish the feel of a book in hand and the authority that comes with print.  We also have a solid collection of cleaning books in the library with topics ranging from environmentally conscious cleaning to cleaning quickly.
For those of the planet friendly bent check out Planet home: Conscious choices for cleaning and greening the world you care about most by Jeffrey Hollender and The naturally clean home: 150 super-easy herbal formulas for green cleaning by Karyn Siegel-Maier.  Between the two you’ll get great house cleaning tips and the ability to create your own cleaning products.

In a rush and just want to get the job done?  If this is your reality we have Express housekeeping: How to speed clean, lighten the laundry load, cleaning tricks & tips by Anna Shepard.  This well organized book has all the basics for keeping your home clean and minimizing the time it takes to do so.  Finally Simpler living:  A back to basics guide to cleaning, furnishing, storing, decluttering, streamlining, organizing, and more by Jeff Davidson may not be a guide to doing the job quickly, but Davidson is there to set you up to keep things simple in the future.

There are many more books on cleaning available at your library; those listed above are merely a sampling of what you can borrow with your library card.  As the last book references in its title we also have scores of books on decluttering, organizing, and making your space just right for you.  That’s a whole other column though.

Ruth Hamlin-Douglas

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