March 26, 2011

Spring Cleaning - Karen Toews

Mom was a housekeeper extraordinaire. Keeping a small farm house holding a family of seven clean and organized must have been no small feat - my sister and I contributed with our Saturday's chores but it was Mom's efficiency and energy that kept things on course. Included in this regime was a thorough going-over of the house in the spring and fall. I am very grateful for her example and work ethic, but have come to terms with my standard of what's acceptable for my house.

Spring arrived this week and unlike many other years, I was house-cleaning. Sort of. I was wiping down cupboards, dusting off furniture and unpacking boxes that have been stored in an old barn for nine months. Everything was in fine condition, other than some rub marks on the leather sofa and the evidence of hungry rodents' shredded newspaper bits and fluff balls of fabric. Nothing too bad, except I have some serious mending to do on a couple Teddy bears that happen to be the grandkids' favorites.

In spite of diligent purging when I packed up all those boxes, I still have stuff that does not merit a home in our new house. It's the paper goods that trip me up. Pictures, sheets torn out of magazines, articles, books - how can they all feel like such 'close friends' when I haven't looked at many of them for months, if not years. I'm trying to be: ruthless, to anticipate what I really will use and want in the future, and allow myself freedom to make decisions to toss or not that may bring regret later.

Pretty much everything is in its place, the house is (mostly) clean - there is certainly a satisfaction to this spring cleaning thing.

I've been thinking about my other living space - the inner one where God dwells. A place where thoughts, attitudes, doubts, fear, sin - and joys, victories, yearnings, hope - wiggle into nooks and crevices. I need to review the contents of my heart for cleaning out or for polishing - regularly, not just once or twice a year.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."I John 1:9 (KJV)


  1. I hear your concern!
    I have a library that has grown over the years with more unread books than I can possibly read in what's left of my life. But thinking of thinning it creates mild panic.
    I can easily be critical of those much maligned materialists who acquire goods to satisfy their longings. Yet, to be honest, I do the same for sentimental reasons and too easily claim spiritual reasons (my books are, of course, spiritual) for doing it.
    Whatever we use as security blanket is a way of trying to fill space that only Christ can fill.

  2. Karen, I can totally relate to the paper products 'problem'... I don't have a problem sorting through anything else (clothes, kitchen or household items), but that paper stuff.

    Enjoyed your posting.... good thoughts about cleaning keeping both our outer and inner homes in order!

  3. it is very easy to let life's clutter - be it actual stuff or the spiritual/emotional - take over. TV and other time wasters are another source of clutter ...

  4. Unfortunately I didn't inherit Mom's acute sense of keeping the house clean and in order, other than the surface~ but oh how good it feels when it actually gets tended to periodically! and that goes for the inner 'house' as well - thanks for your thoughts, Karen - love the picture of Mom!!

  5. Where's the "like" button for the post?

    Dee :)

  6. Mom, get rid of the papers. I must have inherited my "save all papers" from you. I've kept daytimers and calendars from when Celine was a baby and finally decided after never looking at them again I do not need to keep them anymore.

    I find that the state of my physical surroundings really affects my emotional well being. And the lighter my space feels the freer I feel emotionally and spiritually. Must be why I love the outdoors so much - so much space. Like an expansive breath of fresh air for my soul.


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