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Spring Cleaning: Where Does It Come From?

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Spring Cleaning: Where Does It Come From?

I recently confessed in my blog that part of me wants to flee in the night with a backpack full of my favorite things, abandoning life as I know it for a small concrete room without furnishings. No, it’s not my family that’s driving me away, and surprisingly, it is not even the cats.

Pollen is the home wrecker in question.

My annual obsession with cleanliness might be a natural consequence of my body’s adverse reaction to everything that blooms, leaving me to wonder if the ominous yellow top coat of death might be the foundation of that tradition we call spring cleaning.

As it turns out, it wasn’t the pollen. Walk with me, Wild One, while I tell you a story… Okay, so that’s a little dramatic but seriously, my (admittedly casual) exploration of the history of spring cleaning returned some fascinating trivia, which I’ve included here for those who are so inclined.

From TLC, I learned that to avoid accidentally offending God, “Jews scoured their homes before Passover to ensure they didn’t miss any (leavened) bread. Since passover comes around (in) April, many people consider this custom as the origin of spring cleaning.”

Meanwhile, in Iran, “Rouz, is called khaneh takani (‘shaking the house’), and the custom lives up to its name. Iranians traditionally buy new clothes to wear during khaneh takani. Every bit of a home is scoured and cleaned; nothing is spared… Once the house is shaken, the new year — and spring — can arrive.”

“The Chinese sweep their floors and clean their homes to (get) rid of bad luck and misfortune that may have accumulated during the previous year. Once the house is a clean slate, the Chinese welcome good fortune by observing a prohibition against sweeping for the few days following the new year in order to prevent sweeping away any good fortune that came with the turn of the year.”

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Read more: Feng Shui & Organizing, Home, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, Self-Help, Spirit, , , , , , ,

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Christy Diane Farr

Christy Diane Farr is a catalyst. If that sounds like something you want more of in your life, visit 'The Greenhouse' at and join the Wildflower Evolution on Facebook.


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6:12AM PDT on Mar 26, 2014

Please do not reference TLC's article. They have incorrect information, and I find it offensive that they did not take the time to proofread and research correctly.

2:36PM PDT on Nov 3, 2012

Today most women do spring cleaning alone and in a much larger house than in previous generations. My mother had the help of two daughters. We were trained early in the work of spring cleaning. And as we had a supremely uncluttered house, it was a lot easier than what women are doing today if they spring clean a house. We moved around a lot. We were a military family so we did not collect the decorations and knickknacks that people have today.

11:43AM PDT on Apr 17, 2012

Thank you

5:40PM PDT on Apr 11, 2012


1:17AM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

I like the idea of Spring cleaning - the reality is I started to deep clean the kitchen yesterday, and have achieved 3 cupboards and half of the top of the cupboards. Taking everything out is fine - putting everything back not so much fun!

6:00AM PDT on Apr 8, 2012


7:51PM PDT on Apr 7, 2012

I actually love the ritual of in depth cleaning. It focuses attention and gets my happy juice flowing.It also gives me the chance to rearange things, put somethings away and set out different items, and I get to re-think what I need to have easy access to, and what I really only use once in awhile.I usually just start cleaning where it seems the most needed and go from one hot spot to another so I can get a feel for what I'm trying to pull together.I don't usually get it done before the outside projects start calling so I end up serial multi-tasking all season long, but I'm amazed at how some part of me knows just when to fit in an unrelated task, that turns out just the thing I need to have ready in a few weeks.Like sometimes I'll just start pulling a bunch of dusty old stuff out of a shed, and that night a good drenching rain comes and rinses it off. I just find cleaning to be very soul satisfying work because you see the results right away.

11:38AM PDT on Apr 5, 2012

Despite living mile from the sea my house has a tidal memory. I clean the kitchen worktops every day, but every time the tide comes in it leaves a pile of junk on the worktops again !!

8:29AM PDT on Apr 5, 2012

thanks for this article

4:56AM PDT on Apr 5, 2012

The only room that I spring clean is my sunporch which is closed up all winter. The rest of the house, I clean when it's dirty!!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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