The Dust Bunnies Were Growling at Me

Spring cleaning commences!

Well, it starts, usually, with the innocent wiping down of cabinets, inside and out, the job that typically takes the longest because I despise it so much. It’s just not really fun. Washing dishes is soothing. Folding laundry can be relaxing. Wiping cabinets is about as inspirational as picking hair clogs out of bathtub drains. Fortunately I can usually get start-of-summer and spring cleaning knocked out in a weekend.

This time it started in the bedroom–and at least two days before I began the cleaning. My 12-year-old boy suggested moving the furniture to a newer setup and though I’d dismissed it, I didn’t really. Later in the week I found myself surveying the room, doing the chin rubbing thing. Was I really about to do this to myself? Imagine the size of the dust bunnies under there.

I had to. It’s a little known fact that Alaska can be quite dusty, and those things are alive down there. But getting under the bed is impossible as I have a wooden bed frame that connects to the head- and footboard and if you drop anything down behind it, good luck getting it back. At the very least I had to heave up the box spring and mattress and have at the dust below. I ended up taking the whole thing apart, storing, purchasing a metal bed frame and setting up on the other side of the room. I wanted something different.

“I guess so,” wee man said as his eyes later roamed over the disaster that was my sleeping chamber. Hey, he has been spared the frequent moves I experienced in life–moves I didn’t love but am still so used to that whenever I feel like that time should be about now, I re-arrange furniture.

This bottom shelf was filled to the brim with DVDs. Now it houses games brought from Turtle’s closet, which in turn gives him more space in his room.

Since then he’s been inspired and I am proud to say that despite his hoarding ways–he is extremely sentimental, but at least he doesn’t buy things just to be able to pile them up in corners–he has selected a boatload of DVDs, books, games and toys to part with. This is a big deal for him as every time I’ve ever tried to do the one-in-one-out plan, he wouldn’t part with anything. He is very happy with his decision and tells me there’s more to come.

This was during our discussion regarding how serious we are to be with future buying habits: being extremely discriminating about what we spend our hard-earned money upon, how much use we truly can anticipate getting out of it, and what will happen when we decide the item no longer enriches our lives. Will it end up in a plastic graveyard? Is it likely to be difficult to clean and something few would want because of that?

Ridding oneself of a lot of material possessions really is relieving and, for me at least, helps me think more clearly because there’s less clutter in my house. It also enables me to re-arrange things more efficiently, or to be closer to certain centers. For example, the games are now in the living room armoire, closer to where we as a family tend to spend together time: we can play more and plug in less.

Walls and floor behind this behemoth are now super clean

It’s been over a week since I started this process, but I guess sorting takes longer than I’d realized. Well, to be honest, I’m not trying to rush it this time. It’s hard work and I’m taking breaks. This goes along with the slow-down mode I’m still trying to adopt, though I really feel it this time. In my mind I’m telling myself to slow down, but I also actually want it now. Not that it takes me three hours to wipe a cabinet, but if I don’t finish the kitchen in one day I won’t fuss about it. It is what it is. Productivity is necessary, but there’s something to be said for release from the “I must finish this list today” mentality.

Speaking of the kitchen. I’m not anticipating being relieved of many items from here, though I may surprise myself. The cabinets take a long time because they have to fan dry and so I sort through and re-arrange the stuff that goes in it. I also have pulled out the Kühlschrank (I love this word) to get behind it and wow! There was so much dust I thought I might be able to knit together a sweater or two.

“There wasn’t nearly this much under the bed,” I muttered to myself. Walking out to the carpeted area again I found a dust bunny the size of a small dog, and that thing didn’t want to let me by. What have these things been eating all winter? Is that where all the snow went?

Back behind the fridge were many more and every time I went there to obliterate they knew what was coming and began a low growling that ended only when I squeezed out the sponge.

Some of my listening material for when I clean

Funny, the kitchen is my favorite room but I avoid it like the plague when it comes to bi-annual cleaning. Well, inevitably I get there, and now I’m here. Things are sort of spread out all over my house but I can see it all coming together as I load things into the car to get rid of or put other stuff into its new place. And it sure as heck has taken me longer than a weekend, but it’s a trade off I’m willing to accept because I can do other things–more important things.

Last night my boy came home really exhausted (we’d both had very poor sleep night before) and he went for a nap on mama’s bed. On mama’s newly moved, fluffy, yummy, wonderful bed that has so many warm fuzzies about it, but not just because it’s clean and dressed in new clothes (Egyptian cotton!). I stretched out next to him, reading, occasionally rubbing his hair as he slept, thinking about how napping on top of the covers with another blanket tossed over yourself is the resting version of comfort food. It’s different to the usual sleeping arrangement, you sort of feel the shift from the way things are usually done and it’s rather comforting, especially when the lights are dim and you have someone vested in your well being keeping watch over you.

I sang to him a little bit, low, to match the soothing of the light:

I love the way that my baby boy smiles

For that I’d walk over 100 miles

I could go out in the fields and then bring

All of the sunshine right back in for him

(A song I’d been singing to him since he was a very tiny baby, to the tune of “My Favorite Things”)

Who cares about a clean house at moments like this?


2 thoughts on “The Dust Bunnies Were Growling at Me

  1. My kitchen cabinets are now calling to me…A beautiful post – not so much the cleaning, but I loved your description re napping on the bed. And you’re right: it is so different to nap – weirdly so. In Sweden we don’t have dust bunnies. We have dust rats, and they are nasty little things that cling to electrical cables and come together under sofas and beds. I kill them regularly, and yet they always come back…

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