Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturdays and Cleaning Rituals

Traditionally during my growing up years, Saturdays were the day for cleaning out the accumulation of a week's worth of living mess. And then polishing the house within an inch of its life in anticipation of Sunday -- our day of rest from usual chores and activities, and often having people over for a big dinner after church.

Saturdays were energetic days, as we'd get into our chores with a flurry with dust cloths, floor wax and accompanying polishers, not to mention the increasingly-skilled baking fingers of my sister, who was a whizz in the art of baking even at an early age.

Of course that was a long time ago.  When I first set up housekeeping as a young career woman, I still did things as we did them at home (which was a lovely pattern), but as life evolved into different seasons, the rituals of dusting and cleaning now often happens other times of the week.

Still, once in a while, I recall those Saturday mornings when a sunbeam would light on the huge box of Corn Flakes still on the breakfast table, as Mom would put us in charge of certain tasks -- I loved cleaning the living room so that I could rearrange the ornaments and even furniture.  It was motivating to chase out farm dirt from corners, giving everything an energetic shaking, scrubbing and shining.  Lots of work, but it felt good at the end of the day.  Smelled good too.

In light of those memories, I wanted to pass along a snippet from Alexandra Stoddard's book Living A Beautiful Life. Well worn and marked, this book has been my guide and mentor for more than two decades now, shaping my ideas and patterns for adding 'elegance, order, beauty and joy to my every day life.' Today's inspiration is on monthly rituals, Alexandra style:
"Life involves an accumulation of waste and clutter -- we must clean out the excess baggage in our lives on a rational and regular basis..... At our office, once a month, we have one day with no outside appointments and we attack our files, clean up all the clutter and create order. It's a necessary ritual that brings enormous rewards. We play music which soothes us. ...
At home I make this kind of attack on one area or another of our apartment at least once a week--a few hours of chaos and suddenly you feel exhilarated, just from throwing out. You find things you thought were lost forever. You make new discoveries. (note this part especially) A regular, serious attack on mess and unnecessary clutter, performed with a glad heart, makes you feel in control of all the parts of your life you care about."

Wishing you a lovely weekend!


  1. Oh yes, I do agree that a regular cleansing of accumulated stuff and dirt is good and necessary. Like you, I try to do my chores through the week so I no longer have marathon days like the Saturdays of old. Oh those were horrendous. ☺

  2. I needed this as I'm considering attacking the bathrooms with cleanser etc. It has to be done...

  3. Hi Brenda, so nice to meet you, I came by from visiting Christine.
    Enjoyed this post, most helpful. I too have two mentors, Emilie Barnes, and Elizabeth George, Their books have helped and inspired me through the years.
    Enjoyed my visit,.

  4. Vee, I like Saturdays to be more free now too. Rick and I like going out for coffee or breakfast sometimes, and it's nice to know laundry, shopping and cleaning were done earlier in the week.

    Lin, You'll feel good after attacking those needful places.

    Sue, how lovely to 'meet' you. I'll pop over and see you soon. I too enjoy Emilie Barnes -- have her If Teacups Could Talk book and love it. I have one book of Elizabeth George's -- something about life management that I read several times over when I needed her wisdom.

    Looking forward to getting to know you better!

    Wishing you glimpses of heaven in unexpected places......

  5. Hi Brenda, lovely post today! What a beautiful memory. We used to do a minor cleaning every friday after school and then we did our floors, on saturday afternoon.

    I always enjoyed the cheerful attitude my mother had about cleaning, she would never allow us to use the word "chores" when referring to our house work, because she said the ability to work was a gift and she didn't want any of us to think of the time we spent taking care of our house as drudgery.

    Now that I have some health issues of my own, I really can understand what she meant. There are few things more enjoyable than being able to take care of the house the way you would like to, when you want to and having the strength to do it. There are times when I can't and I miss it very much.

    I used to like to clean the living room too when I was little, I loved the smell of lemon furniture polish. We also had a huge coffee table that had some intricate carvings on it, and I enjoyed getting up underneath it with a cloth and dusting all the little grooves!

    Have a lovely weekend ahead! Delisa :)

  6. Looks like you've done some cleaning and rearranging here on your blog too. I like the new look!

  7. Your childhood home sounds much like mine - Saturdays we cleaned and polished and baked. Now I try to do most of my cleaning on Fridays and save Saturdays for doing things with my husband.
    But routine is important - and I love that book of Alexandra Stoddard's.

  8. I so agree with you. I love your post and have re-read it several times. I especially love and agree with the sense that decluttering and cleaning can make us feel in control of (have room for) the good things. I do find this too. On a practival note, I find vinegar fabulous for all sorts of household jobs, especially neat on hard water stains on the shower glass panel. Love Helen, Darcy and Bingley xx

  9. ... meant to make mention of one of my favourite uplifting reads - 'Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy' by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Love Helen x

  10. Quite enjoyed this post and going down my own memory lane of Saturday routines!


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo