Spring cleaning in Maine.
Some folks enjoy it, many run a tight enough ship so the spring cleaning operation is easier than others have it. Spring cleaning in Maine. Your house, your car, everything you own survived a Maine winter. The calendar hanging on the wall says today, this post hunt and peck session date is the first day of spring.
So thoughts of here come’s spring and whoa.
The list of what needs to be done at first overwhelms. Until you start to triage what needs to be done before any of us living in small town rural Maine. Sometimes the house condition is not just needing spring cleaning. There is need for a carpenter, plumber, electrician before moving on to spring cleaning. Some places look like Stephen King made a movie here. Or was open to the elements. For a long time. No one home… except the four season critters that have roosting here.
Spring cleaning, a lot of what you want to do is just too early.
Hold your horses on power washing the house siding and windows because snow in the forecast still happens. Winter hangs on and there is always a tug of war with spring. Where to put the stuff that piled up and was not escorted to where it should really go over the winter months? The frugal nature of a typical hard working Mainers makes just throwing away something perfectly good. Not so easy to toss. Just because the item is no longer useful to you does not mean someone, somewhere could really appreciate you throwing something their way.
Sometimes spring cleaning is not soap and water or tidy up, putting away.
More creating a space to fill for the heave ho wherever it goes. Garage sale, dumpster the next stop, maybe something listed on the sell, swap site. Ah, but there’s a problem. The garage if you don’t have a shed is usually the resting space for the next step of spring cleaning. De-clutter and organization starts with shedding the extra stuff that slowly fills up the living and storage space.
The bay of the garage that should be where most of us park the vehicle it was designed for is always odds and ends.
In many cases, the garage is not used for overnight storage during a Maine snow storm. Filled instead with bikes, canoes, garbage and gas cans, yard tools. So often the spring cleaning process is halted because you need to create the space out in the garage or shed. To start lightening up the load inside for the move to somewhere protected outside. We tend to fill the space we have and not always for the purpose that living area was originally designed for right?
Time happens and slips away too and not every year does the spring cleaning operation.
I see it a lot in a Maine home that was bought or built and lived in for many moons. The original couch still in the living room, just pushed deeper into a corner. The new one fifteen years later escorted in along with extra this or that. The old couches and chairs never left home until it’s time for the settling the estate and fifty years or more of collecting finally gets addressed.
So spring cleaning, way more than white glove wiping over a door jam or window along a window sill to check for dirt and grime.
Ten hut. Spring cleaning starts with tightening up how you run your household the other three seasons prior to spring has sprung. Melting snow, spring showers and Maine tightening up the household time.
During a Maine winter, you shovel snow, salt the walk, plow the driveway.
Maybe bring in a stick or two of fire wood for the heater stove. But moving things out of the house to create more living space just not so common place. So everything builds up that was put off until spring all of a sudden happens. Roll up the sleeves, celebrate the return of song birds and green grass. Spring is a begin again time after the winter reflection of life’s solitude. After raising four kids as a single parent, I can tell you what I learned.
Early on being raised on a Maine farm, my mom taught her four boys to take your shoes off, pick up after yourself, it’s your turn to do the dish, change your bed, etc.
We were not waited on hand and foot. My parents were not “foot soldiers” for their kids and at their beck and call. Hang your coat up, there is a place for everything is not being a task master. It saves time you waste trying to find what you lost that had no home in the first place. But scrubbing around light switch plates, the door knows and removing grime is the build up to wipe away leaving the floors for last.
Like washing a car, you start at the top with the suds, the scrubbing and rinsing as you work your way down.
And where did all these shoes come from, when was the last time you wore this pair that look right out of the disco era? Stuff, too much stuff and the dirt and dust around it makes spring cleaning harder than it sounds. Too small a living area makes spring cleaning and keeping everything ship shape harder.
Unless you learn to get rid of stuff before the retail therapy of buy buy buy more. With spring cleaning, any approach to a regular task or duty, you gotta have a system. Take a little time to plan your work, work your plan.
Wrappers, garbage, plates and napkins from the last snack gets escorted to the garbage can.
Picking up after yourself carries over into the way we approach our state parks and hiking trails. Carry in, carry out, don’t leave a footprint.
Respect, trying to avoid making someone else have more work because you don’t pull your own weight. Someone has to instill that in you and as a young grasshopper you need to see it modeled by your elders and mentors.
The total wash down of walls, windows, all the room’s surfaces won’t last long if whoever lives in the Maine house doesn’t play by the rules.
Who spilled the grape juice on the rug, broke the glass or left the cookie crumbs on the coffee table? There’s the culprit making this all out assault spring cleaning operation feel fruitless and why bother. If the folks who live in the house just use the place like a quick pit stop to eat, run, head in and out the door on the fly.
Lack of time means there is slack in the way the facility is run.
More of a dumping ground then a place to enjoy the living space around you. Kids today often want to be anywhere but home and are looking or expecting constant entertainment.
Spring cleaning the house, not the most fun recreational activity.
When you would rather be out on the rec trails, fishing a Maine lake or tramping the woods. The entryway and kitchen are the battle field that gets the most traffic to address and check off your spring clean up to do list. Some in the audience were born to clean. Live for the orderly, cleanly way to a fault. But better to be a little over the top than living like a pig in squalor.
The winter sanded driveway and mud season of spring thaw in Maine don’t make keeping your house sparkling clean and fresh easy.
So spring cleaning is easier if whoever shares the household is considerate and taught their role in making less dirt and grime in the day to day. Spring cleaning starts room by room.
Growing up, we all pitched in and had farm chores outdoors. Had to run a tighter inside living pattern. But what if you never were taught those short cuts to having less to de-clutter and spring clean?
Painting outdoor weather window sills and doors, raking away old leaves and picking up sticks, limbs, twigs from around the lawn.
That outdoor “spring cleaning” and getting lawnmowers ready to roll is the most rewarding to me. Spring cleaning by power washing the exterior, power brooming the edges of the lawn near roadways.
It’s too early now the first day of spring in Maine for much of the outdoor work but still will feel so rewarding to finally tackle.
The kitchen appliances, those get a lot of use over all four seasons. Peering in and taking out whatever the refrigerator and freezer hide is part of spring cleaning. A bigger part if you only do this deep cleaning once a year instead of weekly.
De-greasing cabinet doors, adding lemon oil to give them a fresh look. Do you take everything out of each cabinet and clean the surfaces inside? Spring cleaning is more than dusting, running a vacuum through the rooms right?
Cleaning mop boards and around hot water radiation coverings.
And if you have hot air heat, removing the register duct to shop vacuum all the debris that collects where you can’t see. Cat, dog, pet hair and dander. Spring cleaning more than polishing the household surfaces and tackling the air you breathe inside the Maine home.
There is a real estate expression “If I can smell it, I can’t sell it”.
Some real estate buyers more sensitive to smoke, odors in a home than others. And if the price is low enough, anything will sell. But some buyers refuse to tackle the blue light specially bargain priced “dirty but nice” home listings.
When I list a home, to improve chances of a quick sale for more money, it is time to make the home the best it has ever looked. Open house, under inspection time for those home showings so everyone can move along.
With laminate and hardwood, tile flooring, less rugs to shampoo these days in the spring cleaning too. Remember the old long shag carpets of the late 1960’s / early 1970’s? All kinds of things can hide in that matted shag that can look and smell like a wet dog without shampooing and using that toy rake to train the strands.
Shampooing rugs if there are any is not such a priority if everyone in the Maine home does not door dash to their bedrooms to eat.
Spills to clean up and steam clean out happen less if the family eats their meals in the kitchen with the easy clean up flooring and sitting at a table. Not sprawled on a bed or one leg hanging off the edge of the couch watching the boob tube.
Spring cleaning, the bathroom needs the same kind of attention and detail as the kitchen.
If the length and number of showers in a household are high, that bathroom is going to need more than a deep cleaning.
Water damage where someone never was taught to make sure the shower curtain is closed and sealed is on the list to fix. Rusted lighting fixtures from the daily steam sauna treatment of all the surfaces is another task. If no ventilation or window opened to escort the moisture out of the bathroom, mold, repainting will be on the spring cleaning list to tackle in the bathroom.
Home offices, more of us are telecommuting to work with online remote jobs so spring cleaning has a new clipboard room to check off the list.
The laundry room has more than the dryer lint trap to clean out too. What’s behind, under those washer, dryers will surprise you. More than socks with no mates.
Just because you know what to do for a spring cleaning household operation does not mean we all do it right?
But the effort to tidy up and organize after a Maine winter is a strong one when spring has sprung.
A lot of it is pride and respect for something you worked hard to buy and pay off slowly. The house remodeling projects are expensive and when excessive wear and tear happens, money that was hard earned is being wasted. Our cars, SUV’s, pick ups take a winter beating too.
Spring cleaning is not limited to our castle.
Cars sand blasted and coated with road salt on Maine highways. Maneuvering pots holes and frost heaves and snow chunks, drifting winter snow. The iron horse needs attention due to rough travel conditions. Time for swamping out all the gravel, high pressure washing mats or replacing them, and stem to stern cleaning of whatever you drive.
It’s easier not in the dead of winter with blowing snow and howling winds to keep the vehicles clean.
But detailing your car gets put off in a Maine winter unless you have a heated garage, shop space.
And all the ice scrapers, dry gas, extra winter clothing and outdoor rec gear in our ride in spring get removed for use the next winter snow season.
What’s on your list for spring cleaning?
Where do you begin, where does it end? Do you enjoy rolling up your sleeves or hire it out, or a little bit of both? The inside and outside of your Maine home probably needs some attention after a Maine winter.