Friday, April 23, 2010


I can’t let April come and go without passing along a few ideas to use when spring cleaning and re-organizing your linen cupboard:

· Before returning your linens to the cupboard after cleaning, line the shelves with scented drawer liners or tuck in a sachet.

· Label shelves in your linen cupboard to identify what goes where; such as “queen bed”; “twin beds”; “main bath towels”; “guest towels”.

· Alternatively, try to keep linens in or close to the room they are used in. Keep towels in the vanities of the bathroom they belong to. Dedicate a kitchen cupboard for placemats and napkins. Keep the sheets for each bed in a flat container under the bed.

Now, let's enjoy reading a few “spring cleaning” rules that our grandmothers might have followed (excerpted from Beeton’s Philosophy of Housekeeping). I just pulled the highlights to remind us of how our lives have changed from those of our grandmothers.

“In olden days, all fires save the kitchen were left off on the twenty-fifth of March, and the house-cleaning began as soon after as possible. Now, in these degenerate days, it is not until May that many among us began to turn the house out of windows. The first fine week after May 1st is a good rule, but a fine hot April will sometimes tempt us to begin before the sun gains much power. At the end of March all the blankets that can be spared should be washed and hung out in the brisk wind to dry, then thoroughly aired by a good fire for twelve hours, and stored in a dry place.

To "begin with the top floor and go down" is not a bad rule. Before the sweeps arrival all carpets must come up, and go away or out to be beaten ; all ornaments must be removed, pictures taken down, and looking-glasses covered. All furniture should be covered with sheets or with dusting-sheets.

Those articles which are French-polished should be washed with weak vinegar and water, and the following polish used to them:-- 3 oz. of common beeswax, 1 oz. of white wax, 1 oz. of curd soap, 1 pint of turpentine, 1 pint of boiled  soft water ; mix these, adding the water when cold, shake well, and keep for 48 hours. Apply with the flannel, and polish first with a duster, and then with a silk handkerchief.

The bedrooms require a few words. The bedding should be taken out of doors, if possible, and well beaten and brushed, the bedstead taken to pieces, whether of wood or of iron, and well washed with hot water and soap. When quite dry the bedding should be replaced.”

Aren't you glad for the 21st century!