"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."
The days are getting longer, and our biological clocks are ticking. What to do? What can I spruce up? This has been an innate prompting since the days of antiquity during the fever of an upcoming spring.
It's spring-cleaning time. Here's a few tips that will help keep your house in tip-top shape. These areas are the ones we have a tendency to miss throughout the year.
Wipe Walls and Ceilings: Use a vacuum to remove dust. Tackle stubborn surface grime, especially prevalent in kitchens, with a solvent-free degreaser (test it first in an inconspicuous area to ensure it won’t mar the surface).
Reseal Grout Lines: The cement-based material between wall, floor, and counter top tiles is extremely porous and stains easily. Protect it with a penetrating grout sealer; it’s best to apply it with a small foam brush.
Vacuum and Shampoo Rugs: Synthetic carpets and rugs with waterproof backings can be deep-cleaned with a rotary shampoo machine and a hot-water extraction machine. Rugs without backings, including Orientals, require professional cleaning.
Dust Books and Shelves: Take everything off the shelves. Brush shelves and books with a feather duster. Use the dust-brush or crevice tool on a vacuum to reach into tight spots. Wipe the spines of leather-bound books with a clean, soft cloth.
Clean Upholstered Furnishings: Take cushions outside and gently beat them by hand to remove dust. If there are stains, check the pieces for care labels. Use a vacuum’s upholstery and crevice tools to clean under seat cushions.
Polish Metal Door and Window Hardware: Liquid polishes and polish-impregnated cloths work well for medium-tarnished surfaces; pastes and creams are for heavier work. If tarnish doesn’t come off, try a stronger product.
Dust Your Home Thoroughly: This includes hard-to-reach places, such as the tops of ceiling fans and window casings. Always work from the top of a room down, vacuuming the dust that settles on the floor. Avoid using dusting sprays.
Wax Wooden Furniture: Wipe surfaces with a soft cloth dampened with water and mild dish washing liquid. Apply paste wax, such as Butcher’s wax, a few feet at a time with a cotton rag folded into a square pad. Let wax dry; buff with a clean cloth.
Ensure Fire Safety: Change batteries in smoke detectors (this should be done twice a year), and make sure units are free of dust. Teach everyone in your household how to use a fire extinguisher, and review escape plans.
Wash Window Screens: Using warm water and a mild dish washing liquid, scrub each screen with a brush; rinse thoroughly.
Clean Window Treatments: Many draperies and curtains are machine washable; check labels. Dry-clean fab- ric shades. Wipe wooden blinds with a damp cloth; warm water mixed with a mild dish washing liquid is safe for metal and vinyl blinds.
Wax Non-Wood Floors: Vinyl and linoleum floors that have lost their shine should be waxed with a polish designed for these surfaces. Most stone and tile floors can be treated with either a paste or a liquid wax designed for the material.
But let's not forget we need to do the same thing with our spiritual houses. We need to take stock, clean up, and give them a good strong scrubbing. All of us grow stale sometimes and need a spiritual freshening up. Remember as Christians, Who is living in our spiritual houses. The Bible says, "What know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost..." I Corinthians 6:19.
- Evaluate. What needs to be done in order to clean up our spiritual homes? Only you know the areas that need worked on in your own individual life. What needs to be improved? Evaluate everything you do and say and think. Is it pleasing to the Lord?
- Get rid of junk. Are there things in your life that are just junk and cluttering up your life? Are there things getting in your way of serving Christ to your greatest potential? Are things like worry, anger, gossip, and bad habits cluttering up your life? If it's something you should keep in your life it will pass the following guidelines of Philippians 4:8.
- Gather cleaning tools. When you clean your house you gather together your cleaning tools, such as scrub brushes, mops, and brooms. All you need to clean your spiritual house is one thing - the Word of God. It is your all-purpose cleaning tool and contains everything you'll need.
- Gather cleaners. Cleaning our homes usually takes all kinds of cleaners--window cleaners, waxes, floor cleaners, bleaches, and disinfectants. When it comes to cleaning our spiritual house, all we need is one all-purpose cleaning agent - the forgiveness of God. It is guaranteed to cleanse all grime and dirt, which embodies itself as sin buildup.
- Get to work! If we gathered all of our cleaning tools and supplies to clean our homes, and even if we had evaluated what work needed to be done and did nothing it would not help us. We have to use the supplies and actually do some work! The same is true with our spiritual homes. God gives us His Word and His precious forgiveness but we have to use them to keep our lives clean.
- Determine to keep it clean. Usually when we finish cleaning our own homes, we look around and say that we'll never let the clutter pile up that high again and we determine not to let it. We should do the same for our spiritual house. Determine not to let it get dirty again. The only way to accomplish this is to keep it up daily by feasting on God's Word and being sensitive to the Holy Spirit to work in our lives.
It's a beautiful day, now get to work!