“Oh! ;at’s a good idea, Grandmother,”
Lucie said, “because then dinner will be
ready when we ;nish and we’re too tired to
cook,” she ;nished, nodding her head wisely.
“Yes, that is exactly right, Lucie,”
Grandmother said. “I think we should
start with the bedrooms ;rst. ;ere are
so many things in there that get tucked
away. What do you two think?” she asked.
Momma nodded, enjoying the exchange between Lucie and Grandmother.
Lucie nodded too. “What will we do in
the bedrooms, Grandmother?”
“Well, we do one room at a time, or it
will get very messy, very quickly! First,
we pull everything out of the closets
and the drawers and all the hiding plac-
es. It is easiest to put everything on the
bed where we can reach it. ;en we go
through all the items we pulled out. Any-
thing that is too small for you, ;omas,
and Anna we can contribute to the
church charity bins. Anything that needs
mending we put in a basket and we can
mend a;er spring cleaning. Anything
that is no longer needed or you children
no longer play with can be given away as
well,” Grandmother explained.
“;en we vacuum out each drawer
and put new drawer liners in before we
replace the clothing. Each closet gets
dusted and spritzed with a homemade air
freshener to make it smell nice and clean.
;e walls get a good scrubbing and so do
the baseboards. All the furniture is ;rst
washed and then oiled with my orange
and beeswax furniture polish. ;e mattresses are vacuumed, spritzed with the
air freshener, and then turned over. ;e
light ;xtures get washed and the metal
parts bu;ed so that they sparkle and
shine!” Grandmother said, smiling as
Lucie beamed at her.
“All the bedding gets washed and hung
outside on the clothesline to dry. ;at allows the sun to brighten the colors and
allows the fresh air to infuse the fabric
and make them smell cleaner than any
dryer can! We wash all the windows inside and out and also spray o; the screen
because of all the dust that gets on it over
the course of a year. When all the bedrooms are ;nished, your daddy will rent
a steam cleaner and clean the carpets for
us. ;en each bedroom will be spotless
and smell clean and fresh for a new year!”
Grandmother ;nished with a smile.
“;at’s a lot of work,” Lucie said, suddenly realizing how big the task ahead
was going to be.
“Yes, but spring cleaning helps keep
a home clutter-free, clean, and smelling
nice. Just think about how crowded the
bedrooms would get if we rarely went
through them and didn’t give old items
away. Or think how smelly the rooms
could get if we didn’t air them out, clean
thoroughly, and refresh each room with
some nice air freshener. A clean house
“What’s whitewashing?” Lucie asked.
“Whitewashing? Well, today you have paint and it is very a;ordable.
But back when I was little, we had whitewashing. You mix some lime
and water together and then add some starch or glue and it makes a
kind of sticky paint."
makes everyone happier and healthier.
;ey might not realize it, but it’s true!”
Grandmother said with a nod.
“Did you do spring cleaning when you
were little, Grandmother?” Lucie asked.
“Oh, yes, every year since I can remember. In fact, when I was little, we
did it di;erently. We would wait until
nice weather came along, which was
usually in May, where I grew up. ;en
the whole family helped to get the hard-est part done in one day. ;e men and
boys would carry every stick of furniture
outside and place it in the yard. Mother
and I would use a bucket of soapy water with rags and brushes of all di;erent
sizes to get into all the nooks and cran-nies to wash all the furniture, and then
we would dry it and rub in the same recipe for furniture polish that I will give
to you. While we did this, the men and
boys would be inside whitewashing the
walls . . .” Grandmother was talking but
cost much at all. It’s a messy thing to deal
with and you have to be careful with the
lime, but it was soooo white and clean!
;at kind of lime is like a chemical and
not like the green limes that grow on
your momma’s tree out back during the
summer,” Grandmother explained.
“Oh, okay. So then what happened
while the whitewashing was going on?”
“Well, let me think. Mother and I
would be cleaning all the furniture. It
took all day to scrub it down, rub it dry,
and then use the furniture polish to bring
out a deep, beautiful shine. I think the
sun helped to melt the beeswax and orange oil so the furniture could absorb
it, because I have never seen anything
work as well as when we took the furniture outside to clean and oil it. While we
worked away, Mother would make trips
into the kitchen to make sandwiches for
lunch and also to keep a big pot of soup
simmering along for dinner. ;e throw