Of Woods and Words: Spring Cleaning

"...I was seized with a surprisingly punctual bit of spring cleaning fever"

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I’m not one for spring cleaning. Rather than correlating my scrubbing, mopping and dusting with the spring equinox, my deep cleaning is almost always a knee-jerk reaction to company coming over.

I doubt Better Homes and Gardens or Good Housekeeping will be calling any time soon to get my cleaning and organization tips. It’s a shame really. I have all sorts of handy tricks for utilizing a small living space, which I’m sure all modern housekeepers could benefit from learning.

These tricks include, but are not limited to, stuffing stacks of magazines under armchairs, balancing items at precarious positions in cupboards and closets and slamming the door shut before the items can topple over, and/or throwing everything else you’re not sure what to do with on top of the spare bed.

I don’t mind living in slightly unorganized hodgepodge. The cabin is never allowed to become downright disgustingly filthy, although Andy and I do play a game of chicken when it comes to cleaning the bathroom. We vacuum on a regular basis, although not as much as we could. After all, I once heard that you have a greater immune system if you live in a dusty house.

Still, if I just gave you a brief tour of the cabin, I might be able to fool you into thinking I’m not a ginormous slob. But under absolutely no conditions will I let you peek inside our shed.

We built the shed two summers back because the cabin wasn’t big enough to hold all of Andy’s camping gear. The shed quickly became the catch-all for anything we don’t want in the cabin. It’s where gardening equipment and snow shovels live in the off-season and it’s where we keep our recycling.

When you open the shed door, you’re sure to be greeted by heaps of plastic containers, bins overflowing with glass bottles and jars, an avalanche of mail-order catalogs, and a mountain of cardboard. Despite going to town at least once a week, we only make it to the recycling center two or three times a year. We don’t even think of taking in our recycling until getting through the shed’s doorway and past the recyclables requires a leap and pirouette.

I could blame the shed for keeping the recyclables out of sight and out of mind, but even when we lived in the 12 by 20 shack, we still let recyclables build up to dizzying heights before we did anything with them. I’ve seen enough cars headed down the Trail with plastic bottles stacked to the ceiling to know we’re not alone in making all-too-infrequent trips to the recycling center. While we all want to do the right, eco-conscious thing, somehow actually taking in the recycling gets pushed into tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow’s to-do list.

But the other day I was seized with a surprisingly punctual bit of spring cleaning fever. Suddenly the recyclables simply had to go. I spent the next half hour cursing junk mail as I sorted all the paper we’d accumulated in a mere four months.

I felt fairly sheepish as we pulled up in front of the recycling center with our pick-up truck bed bursting with heaps of recyclables reeking of procrastination. But then I looked over at the truck next to ours.

Not only was the bed of this full-sized truck filled with recycling, there was also a trailer hitched on piled high with cardboard. By the time Andy and I were throwing our empty bins into our truck, the guys next to us were just halfway through unloading their winter’s worth of recycling. As we drove off, I realized that when it comes to recyclables, we’re all a bit of a mess.

Airdate: April 3, 2012

Photo courtesy of inf3ktion on Flickr.

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