In Australia we welcome Spring on the first day of September, so this past week I invested my days working through our home to give it a good and thorough Spring clean.
I have a regular rhythm of daily cleaning, plus there's another regular rhythm which brings me great satisfaction, and that is to deep clean a specific room every month. But the spring clean is a bit different, for it is when I make a plan for every room, roll up my sleeves, put on my prettiest apron, and prepare to scrub and wash and redecorate with simple loving touches for a solid week. Some lovely music, or a nice audio book in the background adds to the 'romance' of a spring clean!
Giving my full attention to the home this week has kept me from sharing the next chapter of our Emilie Barnes book study, but we, as homemakers, must always stay close to our priorities and not stray or be distracted by the things which can wait - which assures me you understand. :-)
There were so many little things that were accomplished, things a visitor or my husband would never notice, and I do think they more than anything else brought me the greater sense of delight.
Things like taking all forty-five indoor plants outside for a good shower and soak to remove the dust of these winter months...
...or descaling the electric kettle with vinegar and water; then there was the cleaning out of kitchen drawers and laying beautiful liners inside, and the windows and screens scrubbed before hanging a handmade curtain across the window (a long-overdue plan which exceeded my hopes).
Having those 'handmaidens' to help every day really made the work easier. We are incredibly blessed in this day and age to have appliances such as vacuum cleaners, steam mops, washing machines...and I have heard people say "back in the old days they worked hard without those things so we should too", but growing up in a home where Nana had to boil the water in a large copper and carry it bucket by bucket to the outdoor bathtub so we could bathe, let me assure you she would have jumped at the chance to have the 'handmaidens' which grace my home today.
Praise God, when the mattress went to its new home, I couldn't wait to pull apart the office/living/dining room! Next week the old cream air-conditioner will be removed and a brand new one will be installed. Ever since the 2019 floods we've not been able to stop this old air conditioner from growing mould rapidly between the professional cleaning twice a year, so when hubby's tax return arrived in our bank account we chose not to pay it off the mortgage but to purchase a new air conditioner. The one we're getting cleans itself every forty hours, and is way more energy efficient too.
A couple of months ago I bought some non-adhesive wipe-clean rolls of drawer/shelf liner and I think they have been my second best decor investment this year (sewing the kitchen curtains took first place).
The rolls are 10 feet x 12 inches, and I bought four because I had plenty of use for them, beginning in the sewing room. The built in shelving is very old and would take more work than we have time for to sand them down and paint, but just lining each shelf has made a world of difference.
I also used this to line my kitchen drawers - it's amazing how quickly 40 feet of liner can be used up, but I have another roll with a simple red and white vine design which I'll use for the white bookcase in the kitchen which holds my bulk food containers.
The walk in pantry is incredible now, so beautifully displayed, full and labelled in such a way that my husband can easily read the jars and tubs. His eyesight has declined quickly over the past few years, so the hand painted italic writing previously on all my jars was difficult for him to read easily in such a small space as a walk in pantry, but once removed and then replaced by printed labels, he's having no trouble at all. I bought a Dymo LetraTag from Amazon and it's brilliant for this job.
There's still a number of cosmetic jobs to be done, a bag of unnecessary items to be dropped at the op-shop, and an inevitable mess to clean after the air conditioner installation next week, but right now I'm very content with the fruit of my labours this past week - both inside and out (I gave the back porch a jolly good clean too).
I did not rush, I went at my own pace and took regular breaks to have a snack and drink, and also to rest my knee (which is still giving me trouble). Apart from a short visit to Blossom's on Monday morning, and a quick grocery shop after lunch yesterday, I've not gone anywhere in the past week...and that's the key to achieving tasks at home and being totally at peace with them, working at a slower pace and appreciating the joy of caring for your sanctuary. When you remove the 'going here and there' from your life, you don't fall behind or feel rushed (usually)...your day is remarkably lovely, quite satisfying, and a real source of contentment.
Naturally there are days when we must venture out, or attend to unplanned urgencies, but generally, the choice to be pottering at home and tending your nest, blesses you and your loved ones. I also find it gives me so much time to talk with God, pray for those in need, sing as I tend the garden, and listen to books on audio while I bake, cook, pickle and ferment.
I also find there's more time to consider what meals to prepare for myself when hubby is at work. I make sure he always has a healthy and tasty lunch, but its also important to take the time to nourish my own body each day. Whether it's a brown rice and vegetable nourish bowl, a whole-wheat egg and greens sandwich with a smoothie, or pesto and salad on toast...taking the time for self care is vitally important.
I hope you're taking time to tend your nest and delight in the work of your hands; tending to your health by making time to create simple nourishing meals; and most importantly tending to your heart by spending time in the Word and in prayer with our God.
Next week I have some recipes for you, plus a new pattern release. Here's a peek...
Bless your precious hearts, and may the new month which will soon be upon us, inspire you to wipe the slate clean, forgive past hurts, refresh your thoughts, and bring you JOY.