Fall Cleaning

A number of years ago I began to crochet a blanket. This was a tedious, extended task that lasted for years and was all due to the fact that I was desiring a fall-colored blanket that was large, thick, and comfortable. In my mind, I pictured this blanket being essential on chilly autumn mornings when I sat outside nursing my coffee.

But that never happened. The blanket was made and sure it was used during the winter months when it was chilly, but I was never able to sit outside and wrap myself in that blanket. All of those crisp, autumnal mornings were during the work week or, if they were during the weekend, they were accompanied by rain or a busy schedule that prevented me from doing something slow and peaceful.

Until today. As I sit here on my porch, wrapped in my red blanket, I can’t help but feel giddy over the prospect of this day. It’s the day I have a final due that isn’t done, a day I have other plans that aren’t writing that final, a day where I could very well be actively working on the final this very minute. But instead, I’m on our porch with a steaming cup of coffee, I’m wearing a light long-sleeved shirt for the first time this autumn and I’m wrapped in my red blanket.

Summer held on to the very last, staying hot and muggy two days into fall, but then it lost the fight and it became chilly and breezy, the sun slanted at a different angle, less daylight each day, and the leaves beginning to truly begin their change.

We have a solid month of activities ahead of us. I’ve noticed since I was a teenager that Octobers were always very busy and that has continued, even becoming more hectic, into adulthood. Our next weekend “off” isn’t until Halloween weekend and we have so very much to accomplish.

With the packed schedule and various people intending to visit, we realized our home was in dire need of cleaning. This, of course, can’t be entirely accomplished in one weekend. For two people, we live in a very large home. Three floors, three bedrooms, and we don’t have enough stuff to fill the spaces but we still manage to have a lot of clutter.

Over the year we’ve accumulated more bits and pieces of stuff stacked on top of other bits and pieces, overlooked and ignored as we run around accomplishing our tasks for our busy lives, but yesterday those bits and pieces became the stars.

I think I like fall cleaning.

Not the act of course. Not the sweat and the grime. I hate that it sucks up an entire day and you’re left feeling disgusting. Why shower when you’re going to just get dirty? Stay dirty until everything is clean then reward yourself.

My allergies go insane with the dust in the air, my eyes burn, everything is out-of-order but it must, must get done. And so it did, for the main part. The floors were cleaned, the furniture dusted, the entire kitchen was emptied out and the walls scrubbed to find that lingering scent of cat urine we kept sniffing (only to discover where they had marked a place some time ago).

But what I like about fall cleaning is the aftermath. Things are thrown away that aren’t needed, we spot stuff that has been overlooked for so long, and everything is organized. I have a moment to look at the tidiness of everything and realize what it is that I actually like about our poorly designed kitchen. I have a moment to focus on organizing the proclaimed “tea corner” to ensure everything we need for the best cup of tea is provided. Honey, various teas, but not to forget the various teapots for a quick spot.

And now everything seems a little blank, a little empty, as we move onto the next phase. While we decorate for holidays at the start of that holiday’s month, we’ll be busy all of October 1 and 2. So what else are we to do but decorate early? This isn’t a problem for me, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are my favorite holidays all in a tidy row. So now we wait for the hours to pass for the warmer afternoon sunshine where we’ll gather our boxes of Halloween pumpkins and ghosts then put them on display, the stars of October coming out to play.

To find the appreciation for what we have, to get rid of what isn’t necessary, to feel the clean floor under bare feet–yes, that is the joy of fall cleaning. The result is perfection.

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