It must be spring!
I've seen some definite signs supporting the theory such as teenagers are flirting more, old men are tilling the garden and all women, young and old, are out shopping for summer clothes and flip flops.
And me, well, that strange illness called spring cleaning has hit me! It doesn't affect me every year--as a matter of fact, I can't remember when I got a dose of it last. Maybe putting new windows in our house caused it. I did ask the doctor if there's a cure or an antibiotic for it and he assured me that it had to run its course so that which I cannot whip, I merely join.
For me, spring cleaning begins in the closets and since the last time I even thought about straightening them was when Moby Dick was a minnow, I almost fainted when I opened the doors of the first one of six in my house.
One does not simply open the doors and dive in with a dust rag, mop and a heaping spoon full of ambition when it comes to real honest-to-goodness bonafide closet cleaning. To make it safe, sterile and sanitary for another ten (or twenty) years, first comes organization.
That means everything is taken out of every single closet in the house, laid on the sofa, the rocking chairs, and even the kitchen table. Then it is organized: those things which I will never wear again or never wore in the beginning (like that sweater Great Aunt Mabel gave me for Christmas in 1972) go in the pile to be taken to that little red donation box at the corner of Main and Twenty Ninth Street. The things that I might wear again (someday I might get into those size 8 jeans, right?) go into a box marked, "Wishful Thinking" to be stored in the shed. Trash is self explanatory and must be double bagged into two big black leaf bags, tied with zip ties that cannot be undone and the ends burned so that Mr. B won't go through them and haul it all back in the house.
Then it's time to sweep the cobwebs, wash down the walls, make sure no little baby spiders are lurking in the corners and get everything clean enough to pass military inspection before the clothing and shoes can be put back in the closets. How the cleaning supplies shrink a closet is beyond my understanding but it happens every single time I clean it. Everything will not go back on the racks and rods, no matter how hard I try. I know I took six bags of trash, two bags of donations and put one box of wishful thinking in the shed this year, so what's the problem here.
Then a little voice in my head reminded me that they sell these under the bed containers so I took the pickup truck to the store and came home with half a dozen of those wonderful items. Then I realized that the bright red sale price was still stuck to the bottom of each one, right over the top of the last four sale stickers. Lord, have mercy! I couldn't leave those on the containers. Someone might come into my house, sneak into my bedroom and find them. I wasn't sure if it was a sin to store things after spring cleaning in containers with stickers on them. I might get banned forever from the grocery store or horror of horrors, from the donut shop. After all if a woman does spring cleaning, she dang sure better be sure that it's done right and stickers on boxes...well, that's walking pretty close to the edge of the cliff.
They had to be removed. I got out the alcohol, razor blades, baby oil, W-D 40 and everything else I could find to take those nasty little critters off my brand new containers. A little voice in my head said there was a possibility that if I didn't get every single bit of the sticky goo that held them fast that there was a possibility the ailment known as spring cleaning might stick around until fall. Now that, dear hearts, is enough to scare any woman half to death. Two days is all any of us can stand!
So there I sat in the middle of the living room floor with clothing, shoes and every imaginable thing that can be shoved or crammed into a closet for ten (or was it twenty) years spread out around me. The price stickers were those things that were made to discourage shop lifting (as if I could shove a container the size of twin bed up under my skirt tail and walk out of the store with it). I just know that written on the back side in small print was a guarantee that if anyone got a whole sticker off without damaging it, they could return it to the company for the full refund of the retail price of three cents.
I scraped. I oiled. I pleaded. I cussed.
They were not going to get the best of me and by midnight there was not a single sticker on any of those boxes. If anyone checked my house, it would pass inspection. The closets were still empty. The house looked like a tornado hit the clothing section of Walmart. But I had perfectly clean, clear boxes to store all my stuff in tomorrow! The next time this spring cleaning bug hits me, I'm buying a bottle of Febreeze (and I don't care if the sticker price shows). I will spray every room in the house...and that will be the extent of my cleaning.