Spring cleaning


For two people who think so much alike, sometimes The Wife and I don’t always define things the same way. Last weekend was a good example.
First thing Saturday morning I was drafted into the annual ritual of spring cleaning. For me spring cleaning is just moving around the dirt on the windows for an hour or so and then finding some sports to watch on the big TV. For The Wife spring cleaning means something totally different: open the cabinets, throw everything out – mostly my stuff — then buy new stuff.
Now before you fellow Neanderthals out there run to your better half’s aid, use caution. To do it right, spring cleaning has five steps that must be followed in order to keep you from being scolded. Spring cleaning step one: hold onto your wallet; it’s gonna get expensive. I learned that the must-have stuff we bought six month ago really wasn’t. It all had to go.
The spinner plate in the kitchen cabinet that’s stacked so heavy with stuff it won’t spin anymore is now gone. Keeping it company in the trash is the spinning storage tree. This wonderful item — as seen on TV — was supposed to keep all of our plastic storage containers organized — like that will ever happen while I, the King of Clutter, still resides in our house. Just goes to show you can’t believe everything you see on TV.
Next to join the landfill was the stair-step spice rack: a cool little item that was going to organize our life but didn’t. What it did do was enable us, or I should say me, to cram so many bottles of spices in one place that we could never find anything. That’s how we ended up with five of every known spice in the world, or at least that’s what The Wife said as she filled the first giveaway bag.

Spring cleaning step two: have as many giveaway bags ready as throwaway bags. We used 10 bags just for the kitchen. Five giveaway bags went to the church. Another five throwaway bags we … well … threw away. No telling how many we’ll need for the basement.

With all the kitchen cabinets emptied, it was time to place what was left back into the cabinets – right? Nope. Spring cleaning step three: once cabinets are emptied, it’s a must that they are thoroughly wiped out with a lavender mist cleaner. No lavender mist cleaner? Go directly to step number five below.

Three hours later with our cabinets smelling fresh and clean and bags full of stuff to throw away and give away all packed up, we stepped back and marveled at all the empty space we had. Actually The Wife did the marveling. I was too busy toting all the bags outside.

Spring cleaning step four: empty cabinet space goes against the laws of nature. Voids must be filled as soon as possible or the world will end as we know it.

Spring cleaning step five: to keep the world from ending, we went shopping for all new must-have stuff to fill the empty cabinet space. This is where you buy the lavender spray used in step three above if you had none.

Also on our must-have stuff list? Two life-sized clay pigeons – The Wife called them doves, one pitcher and six glasses with lemons decorating the outside, lemon place mats, a new spice rack, new spices – just one of each — and the cutest little plastic storage containers you ever did see.

When we left the store, The Wife said over her shoulder, “I’ll come back next week with my credit card and without my husband.” Our cabinets will soon be full again and the universe back in balance.

Later that night, I added a sixth step to our spring cleaning. We went out for a nice dinner at the new restaurant around the corner and had an adult beverage. This step was by far my favorite.

Next weekend, The Wife said she had to de-clutter the master bedroom. I don’t know what that means. It doesn’t sound good for the person in our house nicknamed King of Clutter.

[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, has been a firefighter for more than two decades and a columnist for The Citizen since 2001. His email is saferick@bellsouth.net.]