Spring cleaning – Inside and outside

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Springtime is a wonderful season to observe as it unfurls before our eyes. Leafless, deciduous trees that have been asleep for months magically bud, swell and burst open to unfurl new growth that quickly spreads out to soak up the sun. Bees are always busy, but at springtime they seem to be in hyper drive and all the more motivated to collect nectar from every flowering plant, shrub, bush and tree they can find. 

Springtime is a wonderful season to observe as it unfurls before our eyes. Leafless, deciduous trees that have been asleep for months magically bud, swell and burst open to unfurl new growth that quickly spreads out to soak up the sun. Bees are always busy, but at springtime they seem to be in hyper drive and all the more motivated to collect nectar from every flowering plant, shrub, bush and tree they can find. 

It seems that what’s happening to the bees outside this time of year eventually begins to affect my wife inside the house as well. It is as if her internal alarm goes off every April 1st, reminding her that the garage, my closet, the attic, my shop and other areas I never knew existed need my immediate attention for a good thorough cleaning. 

It is not long before I hear the garage door open and her wading through a sea of clutter, eventually discovering the door to my office. Suddenly, at that moment, spring cleaning gets extremely personal and I find myself being compelled to sort through stacks of papers, books, un-opened mail and boxes filled with things I sorted through last year. For the record, it is not that I am a sloth or even a slob, it is just that I am challenged when it comes to getting rid of un-used and what she calls useless items.

I realize that my mind is limited, being a man, but I happen to know something that my wife is completely oblivious to: when you throw out any item that seems useless it is usually less than two weeks before you find yourself on a pilgrimage to the hardware store to purchase another just like it. If I was smart, I would be better off taking my useless stuff to the Salvation Army where I could buy it back two weeks later for a fraction of what the hardware store charges.

I don’t like the idea of surrender and having to admit defeat, but it does feel good to do just a very small amount of spring cleaning. One major drawback to spring cleaning is that I am easily distracted. If for instance, while in the process of sorting through things, I find something I misplaced, it usually takes me down to my shop where I continue my sorting for a completely different item. It is not until I finish with my new task that I remember what it was I was doing back up in my office and on and on it goes until I hear my wife calling me to dinner.

One major mistake, if not the biggest mistake, any spring cleaner can make is to have someone else do the cleaning and organization. When it is finished, you might think that your decision was a huge triumph with every surface cleaned off, floor swept and totes chock full of odds and ends. Joy is bubbling out of you, that is, until you try and find something you need. Now the content of all those so called “organized” boxes gets dumped back out onto the floor and work bench. 

So, as the bees buzz and my wife’s alarm continues to remind me to stay out of her sight, I am reminded that there is something more important than cleaning spaces in my house. No, instead spring time is a great time to find a hammock or chaise lounge and take a break from all the hustle and bustle of life. This season reminds me to look inside at my own stuff and do some much needed soul searching. It’s a great time to reflect on my priorities to see if I need to get rid of any useless items.

Just as our offices collect unwanted stuff, our minds can be filled with unopened and often unneeded thoughts. Spring allows us time to reduce the clutter by taking a walk with our loved ones, going to see a movie or just going out to have sushi. Taking time for ourselves is a great way to reduce stress, bolster relationships and spend time with our Creator.

Spring allows us time to take a step back and just take in a deep cleansing breath. It is the season for new life and needed changes in the way we eat, exercise and especially the time given to prayer and Bible reading. If we seek first the kingdom of God, then all these other things will be provided for us. 

So that settles it, I am on my way to find my hammock and to start some overdue heart inspection. As I walk through my shop I grab a pair of earplugs, which I believe will work nicely to eliminate any unwanted disturbances. 

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