This is not the domestic bugbear it used to be, when one mighty spasm of cleanliness shook the house from garret to cellar and threw its inmates into a fever of discomfort and dismay. The modern house-cleaning season is one of indolence and ease compared with what it once was, when not only the cleaning and living problem, but the man problem as well, had to be solved; when the master sighed for a spot in some vast wilderness, vaguely wondering, as he dined lunch-counter fashion and then gingerly wound his weary way through a labyrinth of furniture, boxes, and rolls of carpet to his humble couch set up behind the piano or in some other unlikely place, if marriage were a failure, while contact with the business end of a tack gave point to his thoughts. No, indeed! The spring and autumn of his discontent are made glorious summer now by the more civilized system which, beginning at the attic and working downward, cleans one room, or perhaps two at a time, as a day's work, restoring everything to order before a new attack is made.

Preparation

The task of cleaning a house in which the regular work is systematically carried on is not so very arduous, and follows the general plan of the weekly cleaning. Before the real work begins have a general overhauling and weeding out of cubbies, boxes, and trunks, scrub out drawers and reline with clean paper, and clean clothespresses, wardrobes, and closets. In the spring, there will be furs and flannels to shake, brush, and put away, and in the fall, summer clothing. Before the spring cleaning the stoves must be taken down and cleaned out, stovepipes cleaned and rubbed with boiled oil to prevent rust, and both put away in the attic. Chimneys, too, must be cleaned, and if the heating is by furnace, it should be put in order and all its parts swept free from soot, covering the registers during the operation. This is better done in the spring so the summer winds cannot scatter the dust and soot through the house. The supply of coal and wood for the ensuing year should be put into the cellar, and then the preliminaries are over. The fall cleaning must be delayed until the canning and pickling are all done, and the "busy, curious, thirsty fly" is pretty well extinct. Now is the best time for painting, whitewashing, papering, and other decorating and repairing. If done in the spring, its freshness is bound to be more or less spoiled by insects during the summer, be as careful as one may.