Carpenter’s Corner: Spring cleaning (redux)

Editor's note: This column was first published in April 2018.


Spring time 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 1 reminding her that the garage, my closet, attic, my shop and other areas I never knew existed need my immediate attention through 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 use-less 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 use-less 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 use-less 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 or 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’m 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 use-less items.

Just as our offices collect un-wanted stuff; our minds can be filled with un-opened and often un-needed 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 death 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 ear plugs which I believe will work nicely to eliminate any unwanted disturbances.

Carpenter’s Corner: Spring cleaning (redux)


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