Sloughing Off Winter

Maybe it’s the sunshine we got this morning, or maybe I’ve just had too much coffee, but I feel like it’s time to start spring cleaning despite the fact that our temperatures are only in the low 20s and there’s a dusting of snow on the ground. I won’t be throwing open the windows or anything, but the thought of clean laundry and shiny wood floors suddenly excites me far more than it should. I’ve recently noticed the layer of dust on the printer, the general stuffiness of the house, the discombobulation under the kitchen sink. The atrophy that occurs after months of insideness. The piles of junk begging to be organized or put into bags and dropped off in a bin at the back of the thrift store.

Everywhere there is evidence of neglect.

In the office, a box containing Christmas wrapping, a chair I’ve been meaning to re-cover, the buckets I used to condition the aquarium water for fish now long dead.

In the kitchen, a waffle maker that hasn’t been used in weeks still on the countertop, an empty space on the wall that should hold the 2017 calendar I never got around to buying, a Tupperware cupboard in complete disarray.

In the living room, the air conditioning cover that blew off in high winds weeks ago, the snow pants that haven’t been necessary since January, the basket of Christmas cards I forgot to recycle.

And there’s more, so much more! When people ask me how I can write as much as I do when I work full time . . . this is how! I let other things go.

But the robins and red-winged blackbirds and sandhill cranes are back. The buds are swelling on the bare trees. The rivers are swollen with rain. They’re telling me that it’s time to clean up my act — clean up my house — and get ready for a new season.

To Sew or Not to Sew?

I’m debating this year whether I should make a new dress for Easter. I have this great border fabric I bought probably two or maybe even three years ago with a gift certificate from a friend that would be perfect, but I keep holding off because I don’t want to make the wrong pattern choice and then regret cutting it up.

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I’m also not wild about my current shape, another reason to hold off (though, that reason can last for years when you don’t do anything about it). I don’t know. I’m ambivalent at the moment. One thing I am sure of is that at the end of the month I’m hosting a fabric swap at my house for a bunch of ladies who sew. Hoping to get rid of stuff that’s been hanging around with no purpose and maybe get a few new pieces with possibilities.

Partly in anticipation of the fabric swap and partly due to a sudden inability to take the mess anymore, I’ve been cleaning up my sewing area. I was shamed into mending half a dozen pairs of pants my husband had asked me to fix over the course of the past, oh, let’s say five years. It took all of half an hour. After that I realized that there wasn’t too much more to put away. So I did.

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As I was searching for extra buttons to fix Zach’s pants, I realized my button organization (or lack thereof) was untenable. So I found some jars and organized them by color. I put up an extra thread rack that had been lying around for months (I don’t even remember where it came from) and organized all my thread by color.

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It feels good to be so orderly, to look at colors other than white and gray. And now that I can see what I have, I realize I have a few big projects — recovering a chair, recovering an old comforter, recovering a cushion — to attend to. Perhaps I’ll find that they, like the pants needing mending, will be fairly simple and painless.