Every spring people start to talk about spring cleaning, not only to discuss how much they hate it, but also their plans for when they will do it. With such contrary discussions you may start to wonder what the importance of this tradition is, if any. After learning more about the history of spring cleaning, and how it is done today, I can tell you why this is still an important tradition in our households.
Before most homes were heated by gas or electricity they used to be heated with other methods, such as burning coal, wood and kerosene lamps to give light and some heat. These heating methods not only warmed the home (at least somewhat), but also left behind a layer of soot, dirt and grease on everything in the home. All winter the family stayed close together in a couple of heated rooms, which progressively got dirtier and dirtier, and smellier and smellier, from the heating method and the room full of people. Therefore, when the weather finally started getting warmer, and they could go outside and enjoy it, and also begin using more of the house again, they wanted to get everything cleaned up.
That is how the tradition of spring cleaning began. The house really had gotten filthy, dirty and smelly over the winter and the spring was the first opportunity they had to get everything clean and back in order. These days most of us don’t use these older heating methods for our home and at the end of winter our houses are no dirtier than they were back in the fall. However, to replace these old problems involving dirty ways of heating our homes we have a new problem — stuff. Checkout what’s important to clean in spring for more info.
The same technology that helped us get our modern methods of heating and cooling our homes also caused industrialization, and the easier accumulation of objects and things coming into our homes, that are now manufactured by machines. Now, by the end of the winter, especially after the holidays, our houses are not dirty from soot and grime, but instead have become even more jam-packed with stuff and junk and clutter. Therefore, today spring cleaning isn’t really about scrubbing grease off carpeting anymore, but instead about plowing through all the things we’ve accumulated throughout the year and winnowing everything down to a more manageable amount.
You’ve probably seen the television shows about hoarders? Well, thankfully most of us know how to get rid of stuff better than these individuals, but most likely each of us still has too much of it in our homes. The reason we shouldn’t have so much stuff in our homes includes that it is more difficult to keep everything clean with all the clutter around, that we can trip and fall over it, and that we can’t enjoy all of it anyway because there is just not enough time in the day to really use and appreciate everything we own.
So, the importance of the tradition of spring cleaning today may be different then it was in the past, but it is no less important. Today, each spring we make sure to rid our houses of junk and stuff we don’t want or use, and thoroughly clean and polish everything we prize enough to keep and use. This helps us appreciate what we have, and actually enjoy our homes. Put in that light spring cleaning is no less important today than it was in the past, even though it serves a different purpose now.