Spring has sprung, time for a little house cleaning


Fran Ostendorf, EditorFinally we are seeing prolonged signs of spring … consistently warm temperatures, flowering trees everywhere, longer days. People are out in their yards cleaning up and planting. Community gardens are coming to life. I love being able to talk about these in the present tense, not just as winter dreams.

It also helps me think about spring cleaning inside and outside the house. Some believe that the origins of spring cleaning lie within the process of ridding the house of hametz at Pesach, since it falls at the beginning of spring. I have to admit I do pay particular attention to the kitchen at that time of the year. It has always seemed like the right time to be thorough.

We are not the only culture that practices a form of spring cleaning. The Chinese clean before New Year, sweeping floors and homes to rid them of bad luck. And it just so happens that the Chinese New Year, as you may remember, is in late winter.

Regardless, I can’t think about seriously cleaning the house until the windows can be opened and the fresh air let in. I’m talking about a deep clean – reorganizing the closets, getting into corners where debris collects and sorting through those piles of papers I’ve been meaning to read all winter. The dust bunnies under and behind the furniture have to go. And so does the buildup of salt and sand tracked in during our long, cold winter.

This all seems more in alignment with those who argue that this is a simple case of biology. In winter, days are shorter, and we are sleepier. So we just don’t have the energy to thoroughly clean. Give us a little more light, and we awaken. Oftentimes, we can’t believe what we’ve let go during the long winter!

Getting rid of all the stuff is liberating. Yes, I’m talking about de-cluttering. Not just the piles of stuff I’ve been meaning to read. But the papers I need to file and the receipts I just might need for some reason. And the clothes I haven’t worn in a year – or two? I’ve always been told to get rid of them. But doing that isn’t easy. Now is the time. I’m ready to load up the bags and donate.

People I know who have done all this say that it’s a wonderful feeling afterward… totally worth it. I’m really looking forward to that.

So when will I have time to do all this? Not really sure. There are three more papers to put out before spring ends. I’m planning to start a new tradition of summer cleaning.

And now seems like a good time to remind you, our loyal reader, that we take a publishing break at the end of spring. So you have three issues to get us all your news and information on upcoming events. And don’t forget simchas, too. Our last paper before the break comes out on June 19, with a deadline for submitting news of June 10. We return to print Aug. 7. The deadline to submit news for that issue is July 22.

We do love to hear from you. And I’ll be in the office during the month of July, and maybe I’ll have a cleaner closet or two here.