At long last, spring is upon us! With the stay-at-home order being in place for some time now, I try my best to distract myself from the looming threat of cabin-fever with projects around the house that are of benefit to us, not only in our present social state but long term. The first effort that comes to mind is spring cleaning!
With warmer weather comes the opportunity to venture outside into the garden for some much-needed clean up as well as activities indoors that require warmer indoor air to complete, like cleaning carpets, windows and walls.
LET THE FRESH AIR IN
Being able to open our windows to allow that warmer air in is welcomed as a special treat as it also fills our home with fresh, clean air replacing the more stale interior air that has builds up over our cold, cold winters. Following scientific reports from proven, reputable sources, we can comfortably enjoy this practice without fear of exposure to anything harmful.
When the thermostat hits around 10C (50F), the windows are opened in each room and the dusting commences, allowing any released dust particles to flow away, outward and upward. This task is made even more enjoyable when done in time to my 70’s singer-songwriter Spotify playlist.
As a child, I would watch my mom sail around our house with her dust rag, humming to James Taylor and Joni Mitchell tunes on the radio. Recapturing those peaceful, childhood moments now, helps to calm my often frayed nerves in these trying times. It’s a lovely, momentary escape while at the same time, staying productive and active.
CLEARING AWAY that WINTER HAZE
Windows, with their dusty sills and hazy panes, are next. Clearing our views on the physical can also help to clear up our emotional and psychological views too. With so much information being thrown at us right now, our minds can naturally become fogged and unfocused. Seeing the gentle sway of tree branches in the sunshine with their newly forming leaf buds gives me a fresh perspective. The sparkling clarity of a clean windowpane is an attribute that my mind tends to mimic in the process.
With health and well-being in mind, I tend to choose products to accomplish these tasks that are gentle on both our planet and ourselves, while creating a clean, healthy environment. With a little research and careful reading of product labels, it is possible to do both.
Next, come the carpets and area rugs. If a clothesline or porch railing is available, this is the perfect place to air out area rugs and runners, outdoors in the sun, after being vacuumed. When brought in at the end of the day, they will smell fresh as a warm spring day. One of my favourite childhood sensory memories is the smell of my bedsheets after my mom had pulled them from the clothesline in our backyard.
Now for the walls. This project is a little more time and energy consuming, but boy is it good exercise! One room at a time as my Spotify playlist rotates. As we have re-designed each room of our home, we have chosen a wall paint that allows for easy cleaning, making this type of exercise beneficial without being backbreaking. I’m no spring chicken! Haha
Finally, our houseplants get a nice bath, in the sun-filled kitchen sink. While removing any bits of built-up dust or grime, I clip of small pieces to propagate into new plants. These are put directly into upcycled, glass candle jars filled with fresh water and into the greenhouse they go. Be sure to visit our Houseplant Education Series page for more information on care and propagation techniques for many familiar houseplants.
SUNSHINE on MY SHOULDER MAKES ME HAPPY
Now that our interior is clean and fresh again, it’s time to move my attention outdoors. My music soundtrack is moved from Ms. Google Mini to my ear buds and I venture out into the sunlight.
Lots of autumn leaves are revealed from their months-long resting places under the winter snow. These are not thrown away. Some are composted and some are used as mulch to keep the weeds at bay. (I love re-purposing things!) Perennials and berry bushes are pruned, weeds are removed and soil is turned. Again, great exercise!
Lawns are mowed and edged, hanging baskets are filled with seedlings that were started earlier in the year, and the terrace is swept. (I ignore the urge to wash everything down with the garden hose in an effort to conserve water and avoid a huge water bill.
My final outdoor task is to bring out all my garden decor from storage. Sun sculptures and a water feature are put back into place. The vegetable patch obelisk and owl statue once again watch over our crops and then….my favourite part. Re-hanging my beautiful Saturn themed wind chime. The sound just fills my ears and heart with a meditative peace.
Of course, I don’t do these things all at one time or even all in one week. I seem to have plenty of time on my hands right now, so I can pace myself. Lol
I do, though, find these projects and activities to be pleasant, productive distractions from one of the scariest and concerning times in recent memory.
I feel it’s important to incorporate activities like these into our lives right now and take advantage of the warmer weather to give ourselves a break from the worry and the constant barrage of information we are presented with on a daily basis.
What ever activity you choose as a productive distraction, may it bring you peace, a continued sense of purpose and a source of motivation to move you forward toward better times.
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