Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cleaning House

When I was younger there were a number of families growing up that celebrated Chinese New Year. As part of this celebration the families in our area would always clean their homes thoroughly, organize their houses and make sure they were ready for the year to come. I always was fascinated in these early cleaning rituals, watching an older grandparent sweep out the front door and the piles of things that got thrown in the trash or donated because they no longer were used. This idea of cleaning to welcome the new year sunk in with me somehow and in a lot of ways I strive to do the same things.

Until about six years ago my company furloughed us the week between Christmas and New Years, this furlough became my prep for the New Year. Somehow sitting around the house while the Hubs was at work just didn’t seem fair, kids once they showed up still went to daycare that week. Instead of sitting and watching whatever TV marathon was on for the whole day I started doing deep cleaning and organizing of the open areas in the house. This furlough was a great chance to clean the pantry, which sometimes ends up with thing way to old, clean the bakers rack, where we keep all the paper and little bits. Somehow that childhood experience of preparing for the Chinese New Year, became my prep for the calendar new year change and I really enjoy it.

Breathe now, I know the idea of liking to clean may be disturbing, even crazy, but hang with me for a few minutes. During these furloughs when I would be able to deep clean and organize the entire house image for a minute what it must have felt like to ring in the New Year every year and know there wasn’t anything outstanding I needed to clean or organize, there wasn’t anything that was hanging over me. So you know, it felt GREAT, there was something of a high about having things in order and being able to move into the New Year fresh and organized. Usually I came out of these week long cleaning sprees with a better idea of what house wise we needed to tackle and somehow this process of preparing the household for this made me much for focused going back to work since I knew my house was in order.

Now as great as this was this is no longer my reality, those furloughs are a company of the past and getting a week to sort of float around, watch endless TV and cleaning the pantry is a thing of the past. Along with these changes the kids are older and I can no longer just sneak into their rooms when they are out and that favorite dirty t-shirt that is two sizes too small disappears without them noticing, though I keep trying. Additionally the kids are old enough to start working on some of this deep cleaning themselves. If you walk into our house today you will see a baker’s rack piled high with things that need to be thrown out, organized, cleaned or dealt with in some way, there is a file pile the height of our desk in the office, and the pantry may, just may have spices like could be older than one of the kids. Since I don’t quite have the time of focus to knock this all out within a week anymore I have stretched it out to be about a two month processes every year. This may seem a pain or long, but in the winter Bean has Basketball and Chicken doesn’t always want to go to the games. On days he doesn’t want to go to games or when I get the desire I tackle one piece of the deep cleaning, I take on our closet, the kids rooms, the playroom, the pantry, the baker’s rack and the office one at a time. I no longer have that great rush I used to when it was all done in a big hit, I do tend to enjoy the spring and summer a lot more knowing things are taken care of at home.

Do you have something that you feel a desire to accomplish before the New Year? How do you start of the year fresh and ready to begin 2012?

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