And That’s PIZZAZZ

By Kathleen Mailliard Solmssen








I need to get into the bulldozer zone.  I have to find that “roll up my sleeves” vibe.  Rubber gloves: check.  Trash bags: check.  Broom: check.  On my mark, get set: GO!!!


EVERY YEAR, without exception, Spring Cleaning has been Pure Torture.  Granted it’s a necessary cleansing, but it is Pure Torture all the same.  Why is this such a terrible task?  Why can’t I peacefully purge a small portion of my over consumptions?  Perhaps I’ve woven too many emotions and memories into all of my “stuff”. I prefer to call it “collecting” but truth to tell and I’m not going to lie here, I fear that I am one shopping bag short of having a hoarder mentality.  I’m embarrassed to say that if this house was a ship, it would be sinking. I hate to think of how many times I’d rush back through the flames to grab one more thing if our house was going up in flames.  It’s not about wearing or using my possessions: it’s about owning them.  It’s all a burden.  It makes me old and stagnant… yet I keep everything in a strangle hold.


I can’t imagine being a bird in flight or a twirling ballerina while attached to tons of “stuff”.  When getting into a yearly clean up mentality, my procrastination excuses run the dammit-gambit: “someday, this will come back in style”… “I might need this when I entertain”… “ this is so cute, it doesn’t take up too much space, I’m keeping it”.” OK here’s’ the deal, if I don’t use it this year, I’ll throw it out next year”.  Clutter, clutter, and more clutter… it’s so all annoying… it’s sort of a love/hate situation… a fight to the finish.


You see, there is a story on each hanger, a fond memory behind every frame and a fight to the finish with every chipped dish & cracked glass in the hutch.  While boxing up and tossing out, “love it & let it go” is a pretty good mantra to repeat and repeat and repeat during this “I just can’t let it go tug of war”.


In most faiths and many countries, Spring Cleaning has Biblical and International History.  In recent times, before the introduction of hand vacuums and rug robots, windows were opened each Spring so that the dust could blow outdoors.  Today, it’s gone way, way beyond clearing the air. 


So why do I feel an irresistible urge to go shopping?


On the other hand, Spring Planting is a pure delight.  No need to get psyched up for digging in the dirt.  Flats of baby plants, packets of seeds, a tiny spade and I’m good to go.  Be it a window shelf or an acre of turf, soil is so satisfying.  There aren’t any emotional “good byes”: no “keep/save” decisions to be made…simply purchase/ plant and wait for nature to burst forth out of the ground.


Spring Planting has such positive, nearly child like possibilities.  Having friends who enjoy my green thumb mini harvests is so American Gothic Saturday Evening Post.  This year, maybe I’ll ramp up my Spring Cleaning and Planting and try Cleaning and Planting on the inside.  Cleaning out negative thoughts, judgmental opinions & impossible desires and planting gratefulness in my heart, openness in my mind and clarity in my soul.  Now that’s what I call a very, very tough… but worthwhile process. Maybe I’ll start with the house & garden.


“You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.” 
― Eckhart Tolle.

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