The tradition of cleaning the home in spring has been traced back to ancient Mesopotamia, the Old Testament, the New Testament, and even to the seventeenth-century Scottish celebration with the wonderful name Hogmanay. In other words, people have been spring cleaning for a long time!
Blame it on the seasons. After spring arrives on March 20, there is more daylight than dark and warming temperatures bring the rebirth of flora and fauna. As Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote, “In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” While that may be true, it is likely an adult’s fancy turns to thoughts of airing out the house, scrubbing floors, cleaning up the yard, and banishing the long winter’s grime.
Spring cleaning can almost seem like a biological command. As the days grow longer and brighter, the urge to clean rises along with the sap in the trees and the daffodils in the yard. Maybe we’re genetically programmed to clean in spring, and simply following the ancient traditions of our ancestors? Whatever the case, if you suddenly find yourself impulsively pulling down the drapery or scouring the baseboards on your hands and knees, it just means spring is here.
March is the traditional time for spring cleaning because it’s probably not that nice out yet, and you can still throw open the windows and let the good air in. Some experts recommend that you start your spring cleaning in the most remote areas of your home and move towards the well-used rooms. But if you’re not quite motivated to clean the attic or basement, anywhere will do. The point of spring cleaning is to eliminate dust, cobwebs, floor muck, pet hair, food odors, and other grunge that comes with living indoors from November to February. While your thoughts may not turn lightly to love, you can’t help but smile when you walk into a sparkling room that has been thoroughly freshened and cleaned in spring.