Spring has sprung

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Where this tradition started, and how to go about doing it best.

The origins of the term "spring clean" appear to be a little fuzzy. Some believe that the origins of the term date back to the Iranian Norouz, the Persian new year, which falls on the first day of spring. The practice of 'khooneh tekouni' literally means 'shaking the house'. This is carried out just before the new year, which also heralds the start of spring. However, another possibility of where the term originally came from can be traced to the ancient Jews who would thoroughly cleanse their homes in anticipation of the Passover.

There are strict prohibitions regarding eating and drinking anything that has been leavened or fermented with yeast during the seven day observance of the Passover memorial or remembrance. According to Wikipedia, this is known in Hebrew as chametz. Because it is expressly forbidden to have even small remnants of chametz in the home, ancient Jews would conduct a thorough spring cleaning of the home, followed by a traditional hunt for chametz crumbs by candlelight on the evening before the holiday started.

Regardless of when or where the tradition started, spring cleaning is practised around the world and is a great way of not only ridding the home of dirt and grime that may have accumulated in during the winter months, but is also the ideal time to toss out the old and bring in the new. However it is not only the interior of a home that should undergo a clean. Spring is the ideal time to get you home ready for the wetter months of summer. Roofs should be checked for leaks and repaired before the rainy season begins. Gutters should be cleared of dry leaves.

Check the windows and if necessary replace window putty if it has become old and cracked. This has two advantages: it will prevent leaks and will help insulate the home, keeping it cooler on hot summer days.

Inspect the pool fence and replace broken sections. Check that any locks on the gates are in working order and secure. It is also advisable to check jungle gyms and the like for wear and tear and repair or replace any damaged structures.

Tidy up the garden, removing any dead foliage. Most lawns take a knock during the cold dry months of winter and spring is the ideal time to fertilise and replant grass that has died during the dryer season.

There is nothing quite like a good clear out and spring is the ideal time to take a long, hard look at your living environment and de-clutter. We are all hoarders to some extent and spring is the ideal time for clearing out your closets of old clothes and packing away winter woolies. Vacuuming and washing the shelving in your cupboards will help keep dust to a minimum and will also alert you to any pests lurking in the darker regions of your home.

Warmer weather also attracts other unwanted visitors and it is a good idea to clear out your food cupboards and, if you live near the coast or high-humidity areas, put out cockroach traps around the kitchen to help prevent an infestation.

Clean and inspect ceiling fans and air conditioners. If necessary, have the air conditioning units serviced before the hot balmy summer days.

Getting your house in order during the slightly cooler months of spring will go a long way to ensuring that you can kick back and relax when it really matters - while the summer sun is at its hottest.

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