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See spring cleaning as a renewal process

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Well, it’s that time of year again. As the temperatures rise and the last of the snow disappears, my thoughts turn to… spring cleaning.

I grew up in a home where the first signs of spring signalled the appearance of pails, mops, rags and cleaning supplies. Although I am far less rigorous about the process than my mother was, I will admit that I find spring cleaning therapeutic.

Downsizing is the first step. I ruthlessly sort through drawers and closets and purge. The size six skirt that I have been saving for the past 10 years is delegated to the "give away" pile. That tin of pickled cactus that I needed two years ago? Gone. Having moved many times in my life, I have no issues getting rid of "stuff".

Of course, downsizing is a form of recycling. Books I have read go to the fire hall, which forwards them to the Children’s Hospital Book Market. Gently used clothing and household articles are donated to the Nearly New Shop on Portage Avenue. The proceeds from this shop go to the Children’s Hospital as well. There are many charitable organizations that will gladly accept used items.

Once the closets and drawers have been organized, I move on to the windows. Over the harsh winter months, an accumulation of dust, fingerprints, and dirt have clouded the windows of my house. Nothing opens up a house more than clean windows. This act literally gives me a new window on life. Now I can watch the miracle of spring unfold clearly in my back and front yards.

After the windows, I move on to the laundry. Beds are stripped and bedding and linens washed. Chair covers and curtains are also laundered. Rugs and duvets are fluffed and hung outside. The windows and patio doors are opened to air out the house. Everything becomes fresh and sweet smelling.

The final and most daunting task for me is washing down walls, the outsides of cupboards, and mirrors. This is also the time I change pictures and rearrange furniture. I have to admit that I dislike these chores, but the physical workout is pleasant, and the results satisfying.

Spring cleaning helps me change gears. The long winter is finally over, and it is time to celebrate the arrival of spring. As I finish the last of the cleanup, I head outdoors to my deck and start dreaming of the gardening season that is quickly approaching. I realize that spring cleaning renews my house, but more importantly, my spirit.

Joanne O’Leary is a community correspondent for Riverbend.

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