Spring cleaning can’t be avoided

It’s the perfect time for spring cleaning now that we are confined to our isolated abodes.

Even though winter has been increasingly reluctant to release us from its icy grip, and the arrival of spring seems to be a distant fallacy of wishful thinking these days, a wholesome bit of spring cleaning can be right up there on our list of “things to do when you’re literally stuck at home.”

Notice, I didn’t say “fun things to do when you’re literally stuck at home.” Because even if you like cleaning (and have other serious character flaws), spring cleaning can often lead to purging, and that can lead – at least at our house – to two words that are uttered in utter dread: “crawl” and “space.”

Our house is a little four-level split, which means that the only so-called basement storage we have is a dark, dusty, cramped (and aptly named) crawl space that takes a great deal of courage and physical dexterity to actually crawl into.

Still, given no choice, we have managed to pack the cave with Christmas decorations consisting of 47 large Rubbermaid tubs, the Rotten Kids’ old toys and school stuff, extinct board games, cardboard boxes full of forgotten keepsakes, various and sundry rainy-day items that have nowhere else to go, and much, much more.

Trouble is, during this time of isolated consternation, the Better Half has developed what they used to call a “bee in her bonnet” about cleaning and purging. And that can mean only one thing around here: a reluctant and treacherous journey into the heart of darkness.

And guess who the brave and valiant caver (noun: person who climbs into caves) usually is at our house? Not me – are you kidding?

It’s the Better Half. I almost always manage to convince her that she has younger knees and a stronger back, and I remind her that she is much smaller and much better looking than me, so she is obviously the best choice for entering the dreaded crawl space and dragging stuff out of there.

Oh, I’ve done my best to make it easier for her to go spelunking (noun: the exploration of caves) by getting a couple of wheeled furniture dollies so she can sit and scoot along in there. And I’ve hung a trouble light so she can more or less see through the thick dust.

So every day for a week, there’s been a lot of banging and grunting going on in there. And to be honest, it’s a bit distracting on account of my office is right next to the crawl space, and I can hardly hear my YouTube videos sometimes.

And now the family room is getting quite full of tubs and boxes of vaguely familiar knicks and knacks of possible purge that I am supposed to dig through and put into separate containers of keep, donate or turf.

This is not going well. First, this seems to be a whole lot of work, so I’m not as enthusiastically active as I might be. Second, I regularly find interesting things to look at and play with, which takes up the time I’m supposed to be purging.

And third, I can’t decide what to do with the stuff. That’s the whole reason the stuff is in the crawl space in the first place.

So a lot of the flotsam and jetsam is no doubt going back into seclusion in the basement.

But at least I don’t have to be the one to drag it back in there. My sore knees seem to be flaring up again.

Oh, and I’m pretty sure there’s a new Doc Martin episode I have to watch.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker.

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