As I prepared to embark on a fly-out backpacking trip, I decided to do a little “spring” cleaning. It’s late for spring cleaning, being already summer, and a particularly hot one at that. But I’ve got air conditioning, and, frankly, I have trouble staying warm when it runs. What better way to combat that than with a little hard scrubbing of the shower? 

Also, I try to rotate the mattress every 6 months. January and July are the months, so it was time, and I decided to launder the liner as well, which I don’t do every sheet change. Well. I also don’t change the sheets all that often. At any rate, everything’s getting laundered. 

My main motivation to clean was that I wanted to come home to a relatively clean house instead of coming home to a mess. Somehow, that’s more motivating for me than keeping the house clean on a day to day basis. Cleaning has never been a habit of mine. 

When I was growing up, we had a cleaning lady come in because my mom couldn’t do everything. But we were supposed to have the house picked up by the time that lady arrived, so that she could do the big stuff, like mopping and scrubbing the bathrooms. If we didn’t have it picked up adequately, she’d take our money and leave. 

Or maybe my mom would give it to her for her trouble in coming out to a house she couldn’t clean. I know my mom would feel bad about not keeping the house up, but never bad enough to do it. I remember hearing that she was never a particularly neat person herself, even before her diagnosis with MS. That she was a bit of a slob as a teen. But aren’t most teens slobs? 

I know I was. 

It took me a long time to figure out a better habit. To bend myself towards putting things away when I finished with them, throwing things away when I was done with them, and periodically doing a thorough cleaning. I like it when I get things clean, and when my stuff has a place where it belong. 

Maybe, someday, I’ll have a more regular cleaning habit. Perhaps when I have a place that I own, I’ll feel differently than I do about the places that I’ve rented. But I have no idea when I’ll have the opportunity to purchase land, let alone a house. 

That’s a question for future Jeanne. Present Jeanne is getting ready to spend some time bathing in the wilderness, breathing in the mountain air and feasting my eyes upon the wonders big and small that are to be found out there. 

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