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The Sassy Sandpiper: Spring Cleaning (NOT)

Wilson | Sassy Sandpiper | Columnist

By M.R. WILSON, TB Reporter

My housecleaning is brought on only by “the zone of disgust.”

The closest I get to Spring Cleaning is Reordering the Chaos.

I grew up in a tidy home but don’t remember Mom or Granny obsessing over spotless floors or dust-free bookcases, or the grand ritual known as Spring Cleaning.

My housecleaning—in any season—arises from finally reaching a threshold similar to what is known as “the zone of disgust.” This is a biological term referencing the fact that cattle don’t step in their cow pies and the great apes, after taking a morning dump in their leaf nests, abandon them for the day’s play. A new nest is built each night.

Now you know.

Not that my place doesn’t need attention and freshening up. The floors and woodwork are scary. When the cat-fur dust bunnies grow to the size of tumbleweeds, I will sweep or “Swiffer” and mop, or just scoop them up and toss outside for bird and squirrel nesting material. So far nothing has sprouted indoors, on the floors anyway. In the sink, yes. I was astonished to find a flyaway popcorn kernel with roots. No lie. Under the dish-draining thingie.

Often I think my glasses are dirty or it’s foggy or brushfire-smoky outside, or worse:  my vision is failing. Silly me. The windows need cleaning. It’s easier to close the blinds and cave dwell.

The de-cluttering gurus amuse me. “Toss anything that doesn’t bring you joy.” Really? Joy? By my standards, joy far exceeds the state of exuberance one might achieve upon pairing up cute little unicorn anklets and ditching the classic, white, calf-length crew socks with the elastic shot so they droop over and bunch up in your shoes.

Oh, I know. It’s liberating to clear out. That’s what the outbuilding/storage shed affectionately known as Molly’s Attic is for.

So there.

As far as cleanliness goes, no one has ever become ill from eating food prepared in my kitchen. Nor has anyone caught a staph infection after using my bathroom facilities. It’s more important to wash the pesticides off the non-organic produce than it is to clean the shower curtain every week. Or every Spring.

It’s all a matter of priorities, I suppose.

I remember a mother-in-law upon whose immaculate floors open-heart surgery might have been performed. Many of my generation have lost that art—or neurosis—depending upon how cynical one is.

A super-clean, ultra-neat dwelling is admirable. I just don’t have the energy or enthusiasm to create one.

A certain degree of mess enhances creativity and a little dirt is actually healthy.

So say the folks in the opposite camp from the de-clutterers and devout Spring Cleaners.

(Note: None of this diminishes the absolute panic I feel when someone is coming over, especially if that someone happens to be one of the Greatest Generation who manages to keep her home absolutely lovely, no matter what. It’s a gift. If I ever received such a present, it was lost in the rubble.)

Columns | The Sassy Sandpiper | Spring Cleaning | TB Reporter

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The Sassy Sandpiper: Spring Cleaning (NOT)
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The Sassy Sandpiper: Spring Cleaning (NOT)
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My housecleaning is brought on only by "the zone of disgust."
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Tampa Bay Reporter


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