Spring Cleaning the World!
Perhaps it’s the sun streaming through the windows and lighting up the cobwebs on the ceiling that does it – or the perfume of daffodils drifting in through the open door, but the urge to spring clean is not imaginary. In fact, it’s a world wide phenomenon, and what’s more, every nation has its own take on this almost uncontrollable urge! Read on to see how other countries go about their spring cleaning – you might even find yourself inspired to start your own spring cleaning tradition!
Out with the Greek rugs, in with the whitewash!
Spring in Greece coincides with Easter – which happens to be very convenient. This is because Easter, which in Greece is the equivalent in celebratory scope to our Christmas, is a time for sprucing everything up, indoors and out. One of the first tasks is to take the floor rugs outside for a good beating, and very often, a scrub in the local river, where the heavy mats are whacked clean with wooden paddles. When dry, they’re stored in moth proof trunks until winter returns. Spring is also the time for whitewashing just about everything! From fences and floors to planters and pavements, it all gets a lick of whitewash with a special long-handled mop (so much easier than scrubbing the marks off the walls!).
Making peace in Iran
Spring time in Iran coincides with Nowrus (Persian for ‘new year’). The lead-up to this huge celebration is a massive month-long clean of the house and a decluttering that would leave many of us envious. Access to nooks and crannies sees even heavy furniture being moved before being polished to a smooth shine. Drawers and cupboards are cleaned out, and just as happens here, much of what is no longer required is donated. But that’s not where the big clean stops! Iranians do a mental and spiritual clean out, too. Family relationships are repaired, aggressors are forgiven, neighbours are reconciled. And then comes the wardrobe makeover, with everyone in the family being decked out in brand spanking new clothes and shoes. Now, who wouldn’t want a spring clean like that!
The Swedes don’t muck around when it comes to spring cleaning. After months of living in semi darkness, they’re ready to attack the house with a vengeance. The practise of turning out everything for a clean and a freshen up (even clothes and soft furniture), and then ridding the house of anything your family would have to dispose of should you die, has led to the term ‘Swedish death clean’. However, you might recoil from the thought of giving away knick-knacks and sentimental bits and bobs, the Swedes claim it helps them focus on what’s really important in life, and not the little stuff.
Sounds do-able? Then, good luck!
It’s an art
Ever fancied yourself as an artist but didn’t know where to start first? The answer may lie in the Japanese tradition of spring cleaning. Referred to as ‘Oosouji’ it’s more an art form than a chore, and it’s all in the ritualistic way you approach it. This includes beginning at the doorway of each room, then working your way around, decluttering and cleaning as you go, in clockwise manner. To make ‘letting go’ easier, place a box in the middle of the room and use it to hold everything you no longer want to keep. Place another box beside it, and use it for rubbish. As you clean, meditate on the notion that all the physical scrubbing is also part of letting go stale memories and past regrets. There – doesn’t that feel better.
If you’re feeling inspired to tackle your own spring clean, why not make it fun. Choose some deliciously perfumed cleaners, turn up the music, bring in the half-time snacks, and take it one-enthusiastic-step-at-a-time!