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Neat As A Pin

Ahhh, Spring! Fling open those windows, take in a deep breath, and watch as all those little dust particles dance in the sunlight and settle on your floor. Spring is here, and maybe it is time for a little cleaning.

For most of us, Spring cleaning means an extra thorough deep clean once a year. We take time to sweep behind the refrigerator, wash the windows, and wipe down the walls. We clean out air filters, swap Winter mittens for gardening gloves, and get the yard ready for new plants and flowers. We all like the idea of decluttering and making our space, whether big or small, fresh each year.

We have our own rituals for how we like to Spring clean, but did you know the idea of Spring cleaning dates back to the 1800s? The long, cold winters would leave homes filthy with soot and ash from the much-needed fireplaces, so the women took time in the Spring to de-soot their homes. As you can imagine, it was a daunting task.

Why do we say,

"Neat as a pin"? In the early 19th century, with the development of mass production,

consumers were now guaranteed

uniformity in products. Pins,

formerly handmade, were now

manufactured perfectly straight & neat.

Fast forward to the 20th century, American housewives continued to take Spring cleaning very seriously. In the 1930s and 40s, the annual Spring clean was a family event. A simple broom couldn’t keep up with the dirt all year, so window treatments were taken down and washed, rugs were brought to the front porch and beat, cabinets were emptied and cleaned, and occasionally even wallpaper was changed out. Many took advantage of Spring to repaint walls and rearrange living room furniture. Some families hired additional help for the big event, and children knew not to get in the way. They also knew to expect leftovers for dinner since their mother had no time to prepare a home-cooked hearty meal during the annual Spring cleaning week.

Today, in the 21st century, despite all of our modern conveniences like robotic vacuums, microfiber rags, and the latest, high-end cleaning supplies, it can be overwhelming to even know where to begin. Read our helpful tips from the Wren & Willow Design team on how to clean and organize your home this Spring.

Designer's Corner

With Organization Comes Clarity A great approach to decluttering a room is by tackling one section at a time. A couple of tricks I took from an amazing book called, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo, is to put your hands on everything you own, and ask yourself if it sparks joy. If it does not, thank it for its service and get rid of it. This process allows you to get rid of those items, guilt free, you have been hanging onto for years. I will start with an entire room, like the living room, and focus on one category, like the artwork. I approach each piece with a couple of practical questions. Do I really love this piece of art? Do my bookshelves feel too cluttered? These two simple questions will help me sift through what I really enjoy and what I do not. I find that some things in my home do not bring me joy, and getting rid of those things is a big step in being organized. -Hannah Schmidt

Naturally Clean My kitchen is always a blur because of fixing snacks or a healthy meal for my two-year-old daughter. A game changer for me was making my own cleaning products. In a spray bottle, I combine a 1-to-1 ratio of water and white vinegar to make a natural all-purpose cleaner. With that, I can easily wipe down my countertops, clean sticky fingerprints from my cabinets, and even clean my windows. I also make a natural bug deterrent by mixing 4 ounces of water with 10 drops of peppermint essential oils in a tiny spray bottle. I spray it around my exterior doorways and window sills, and there isn’t a single ant or spider in sight! -Ashley Umbaugh

Joy of a Closet When my granddaughter was three years old, she asked to see my closet because she loves clothes. I remember watching her look up with a huge smile and say, “Oh, this is so beautiful!” Even to a young child, there is something glamorous and special about being in an organized closet. I am a big believer in closet organization systems. They give each article of clothing a home and can help small spaces be utilized to their fullest potential. When I walk into my closet each morning, it helps me mentally get ready for my day. I like to “file” my clothes by color and then organize by item (skirts, dresses, slacks, & jackets), but there are many ways to categorize clothes. Time Saving Tip: Most of us at the end of a long day will get home and throw our clothes in a pile on the floor. But, no matter how late it is, or how tired you are, take the extra few minutes to "file" your clothes away. Since clothes left in a pile will wrinkle, it actually ends up saving you from doing additional work. The time it takes to pull out the ironing board, or run to the dry cleaners, could be used to do something more enjoyable. Do it right the first time and you will thank me in the morning! -Laureen Skrivan

The Bonds: Our Team Members' Story

We pride ourselves on the family business nature Wren & Willow has. We started with two employees and now have grown to over twenty! The entire team feels like a family.

Sometimes we even hire members from the same family tree. You may have noticed that three of our employees have the same last name: Bond. It's not a coincidence, they are in fact all related. Shauna joined us almost two years ago as a part of our sales & marketing team, and has been a huge asset in publications and administration. We then hired her husband, Desmond, as an apprentice carpenter, and most recently, Rhodric (Shauna's brother-in-law & Desmond's older brother) has joined our team as a superintendent. Rhodric and Desmond have backgrounds in construction and both felt a calling to work with their hands since a young age. Shauna and Desmond are currently remodeling their first home and enjoy spending time outdoors with their pup, Briar, as much as possible. Rhodric and his wife, Tori, are also in the process of creating a beautiful home on property they recently bought, and are excited to raise their three girls there. Don't worry if you accidentally confuse Rhodric for Desmond, or vice versa. Apparently, it happens all the time...

To learn more about Rhodric, Shauna, & Desmond, click here.

April Showers Garden Kit

Around here, in Washington State, we get more than enough April Showers. But we can't forget what they bring, May Flowers! We want you to enjoy the beauty of Spring with this month's gardening giveaway.

This giveaway has now ended. Congratulations to Cynthia S. for winning this giveaway! Subscribe to our newsletter to be updated on future giveaways.

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