Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cleaning in a Lenten Light: Ore et Labora

It is an old custom for Spring Cleaning to occur in the days before Holy Week or even on Maundy Thursday (remembering Christ washing the disciples' feet) which I have tried to follow these past few years.

Last year I shared a few reasons why this tradition makes sense:
1. Spring is here and we can finally open windows to air things out.
2. Cleaning is a task that you can spend in prayer and quiet to prepare for the somber days ahead.
4. For those of you who hate cleaning, the hard work pales in light of Christ's suffering.
5. The house is ready for guest and celebration on Sunday.
6. A fitting metaphor for the work of the cross and the resurrection: all things are made new.

But I've realized I need much more than a few days to do this properly, especially with all of the services and traditions that surround the last few days of Lent and the preparations for Easter. So after hearing about "40 bags in 40 days" for Lent around the blogosphere, I've decided to stretch out our spring cleaning and de-cluttering through all of Lent. Hopefully having smaller areas each day will make the task more manageable with young ones helping (or unhelping!).

I hope that in spending the time to go through closets, drawers, toys and more, we'll be able to give away the things we do not need as part of the traditional "alms-giving" of Lent. But it is always funny how children who haven't played with a toy in months will suddenly cling to the toy to be given away as a prized possession. And aren't we the same way with our sins? So often at Lent when I give up something like coffee, sweets, meat, or the internet, I don't think it's going to actually be that hard but come day three or four (okay, day one), my cravings make me realize how much I've become attached. The same thing happens with our possessions: the more we have, the more difficult it can become to be faithful stewards, to be thankful for them as gifts, and to be able to let them go if asked.

"Detachment from things gives us the freedom we need to follow Christ.  Goods are only the means."  Francis Fernandez, In Conversation with God, Volume 2, Lent and Easter, 16.1 (H/T Wildflowers and Marbles)

I hope to include the children in the daily purging, so that I have their consensus before we give things away, and hopefully so they will learn more about the proper relation of the Christian to material goods.

"Material goods are good since they come from God.  They have been put by God at man's disposal since creation began, for his growth and development in society.  We are administrators of these goods for a time, for only a short term.  Everything should lead us to love God - Creator and Father -  and the things He has made and given us.  Francis Fernandez, In Conversation with God, Volume 2, Lent and Easter, 16.1  (H/T Wildflowers and Marbles)

So check back in, I'm not sure if I'll be humble enough to include pictures, but I'll try to update each week. Let me know if you're going to try too!

*Here are the clean windows in the living room with curtains in the dryer!

Here is my list of the 40 areas I'd like to work on:

Pray and Work. Pray and Work. Pray and Work.
1.       Dining Room & Living Room- Pictures & Blinds, Curtains
2.       Downstairs Book cases
3.       Dining Room & Living Room-walls and windows,
4.       Dining room and living room floors
5.       Kitchen-oven, refrigerator,
6.       Kitchen-microwave, dishwasher
7.       Kitchen-spices
8.       Kitchen-pantry
9.       Kitchen-cabinets
10.   Kitchen-drawers
11.   Hall Closet/Landing- coats, hats and gloves,
12.   Hall Closet/Landing- the cubby
13.   Basement-laundry area
14.   Basement-storage
15.   basement- work bench
16.   kids room-Grace’s clothes
17.   kids room-Mather’s clothes
18.   Kids rooms toys
19.   Kids books
20.   Baby room-clothes
21.   Baby toys 0-3
22.   All kids rooms-walls, blinds, floor-dust, wash, vacuum
23.   Bathroom-clean
24.   Bathroom-storage, cabinets, etc.
25.   Our bedroom-clean
26.   Our bedroom de-clutter-bureaus
27.   Our bedroom under bed and closets
28.   Linens and Towels
29.   Attic Landing
30.   School Room-go through shelves
31.   Attic Storage-clothes,
32.   Attic Storage-holiday
33.   Attic storage-my school stuff
34.   Attic storage-books
35.   Attic storage-preschool supplies
36.   Attic storage-baby clothes
37.   Attic storage-maternity clothes
38.   Attic storage-kids toy holding area
39.   Shed -gardening
40.   Music-cds, playlists
  Feel free to stop by to help!!


MomCO3 said...

Whoa! That's ambitious. I look forward to living vicariously in your clean house-- so please post photos!
A blessed Lent to you-- thanks for your post on your struggles with the service. We ask all the same questions, and God answers us very similarly.

The Hagedorn Family said...

Wow, do you do any school in these 40 days? You are one amazing woman Amy!

Amy said...

Thanks Annie!

Christina, you don't even have to do the 40 bags b/c you are always so on top of things. We've only lived in this house a year and half now and I feel there is a mountain load of work! One good thing when it comes time to cleaning is that our actual house is much smaller than our old house but there is the third floor and the basement which create another whole monster!!

And hey doesn't learning about how to maintain a home count as school!!!???


Related Posts with Thumbnails