Jackie Hope: Spring cleaning: One project inevitably leads to another
Show of hands, people. Who has been busy with spring cleaning? Spring cleaning is overrated. And did you know it can become habit-forming?
Spring cleaning starts harmlessly enough. You think you see your Labradoodle hiding in the close. Instead it turns out to be a dust bunny. So you get out your Dustbuster — dust bunny buster? — and industriously snork it up.
After your dust-up with the dust bunny, you notice the collection bag on your Buster is swollen to the approximate size and shape of a goose down comforter. Which reminds you that you need to air out and fluff up your comforters. Because, hey, everybody needs an airy, fluffy comforter after a long and cold winter.
Household hint: You can use those captured dust bunnies to fill out the flattened corners of your duvet. You know those corners. The little diabolical pockets you can never quite get your goose down pushed down into.
Dust bunnies work well for filling out the corners of pillowcases, too. So does dog hair. Cat hair, not so much. Too much static. And then in the morning, your hair will look like either an anime villain or Alfalfa from “The Little Rascals.” Depending on whether you are a Millennial or a Centennial.
Your closet, without its complement of dust bunnies as a cover, is a mess.
You thought your dog was sleeping in there, so you tossed all your clothes onto the floor for his bed. When the dog in the closet turned out to be a dust bunny, you had to face a hard truth. All of your sweatpants were in a whomping heap on the floor. It was time to either clean up the floor and do a laundry, or wear your significant other’s Homer Simpson jammie bottoms to the gym.
Yeah, I’d opt for Homer, too. Heck, you can go out to Anytime Fitness at 3 a.m., and nobody’d even notice old Homer. And then stop at Big Box Store afterward to do a little grocery shopping, because everybody wears jammies out there. Even at high noon, people are stylin’ their jammies at Big Box.
But, bazinga! Good news! When you take the comforter off your bed for airing, you discover the lump of dirty socks in the lower left-hand corner of the bed is really your dog. And the lump of razor-sharp ninja throwing stars in the right-hand corner of the bed is your cat. Super-bazinga! Even better news! Cats are pretty much self-cleaning, so you don’t have to air her out. Dogs need a lot of airing, however.
Airing the comforter forces you to think about airing curtains and draperies. And that inevitably leads to — gasp! — the Dreaded Window Washing. Now, a sensible person would just wait for it to rain, and run outside with a squeegee and slick down the window glass. Then chamois off the window sills, and call it good.
But when the spring cleaning frenzy is upon you, you get uncontrollable cravings to take on the dreaded window washing.
An especially serious bout of spring cleaning frenzy can cause you to grab a ladder, go outside, take off the storm windows and hose down the screens. Beware: if you find yourself thinking about caulking the casement window cracks, it is time for talk therapy. Or caulk therapy. And if you are tempted to caulk the basement window cracks, it is time for an intervention.
Spring cleaning frenzy inevitably leads to an even bigger craving. Fall cleaning.
Airing comforters in April, polishing away at windows in May, and laundering all your jammies in June, will lead to shampooing your Aubussons and shining your ottomans in autumn. Come fall, you’ll be jonesing for an extra hit of Pledge in the morning. And by afternoon, you’ll be under the kitchen sink, feeling around for the Fantastik.
But be warned: spring and fall cleaning are entry-level activities that lead to even harder stuff. Before long, you’ll be vacuuming the carpets every week. And you’ll be looking forward to it, too. You won’t be able to help yourself. You’ll be hooked on Hoovers.
So stop, now, before it is too late. Put down that feather duster. Hang up the Dustbuster. The dust bunny you save just might turn out to be a shih tzu.
Hope writes about community and cultural eents for The Dickinson Press.