Spring is a wonderful time for new beginnings and creating change within the home and ourselves. Our home is like a sanctuary, away from the bustle and daily stresses of life. We can discover a beautiful world of freedom and fresh breath when we clear out those things we no longer need. There is no better time than now to start.
During the winter months, our energy is often more sluggish and sleepy. Not quite hibernating like bears, but less daylight can trigger an increase in melatonin, which lowers energy levels. As the days become longer, we get energized by the spring sun and our melatonin production subsides. This is a great time to start afresh and get to those chores that are not part of our daily routine. This could include a deep cleaning of closets, decluttering of drawers, scrubbing all surfaces and allowing fresh air and energy to drift throughout the house.
The practice of spring-cleaning is a tradition that has been used throughout the world. 3000 years ago in Persian culture, they had a ritual called Khaneh Tekani. This literally means ‘shaking the house’. It was thought that by removing clutter and sweeping up the dirt, good fortune would enter the home all year long. In Europe, when homes were heated by wood and lit by lanterns, soot covered every surface. In the spring, windows and doors were opened; rugs were beaten, bedding was aired in the sun, and floors and windows scrubbed clean.
Cleaning actually helps to lighten the mood and eliminate stress. Too much clutter can overwhelm the senses and weigh us down. An orderly and organized home can help you to feel at ease and relaxed. Knowing that everything has its place also adds to peace of mind. Cluttered spaces make it more challenging to think clearly. Less clutter literally provides more breathing space. A good spring-clean can support the lungs as it eliminates allergens such as pet and dust dander. Spring-cleaning is also a clear out of our emotional closets. Items that clutter our physical space can also contribute to held emotions. When we change things in our homes, we create change within ourselves, often as if a weight has been lifted. And when we feel better, we can relax and enjoy life.
Here are some simple ways to begin
Start with the easiest spaces like the living room or bedroom. Even your car! These places quickly give results, and you will feel much more inspired and energized.
Pick up and eliminate clutter in each room before cleaning. Start slowly, even 5–10 minutes a day. Choose one room at a time, or one drawer. Then, if you have time, move onto the next drawer or area.
Start the ‘one in, one out’ rule. Don’t buy anything new until you have let go of something you already have. This is a thoughtful way to be more conscious of what comes into your home.
Have a few decluttering boxes ready. One box for donating, another for keeping stuff, and a rubbish bag for items to toss. Hold items in your hands and ask if you need it, why you have it, and what you could use instead? These questions are helpful when making a decision to keep or let go. Another important question is, does this bring me joy?
Try the 10, 10, 10 system. Find 10 things to throw away, 10 to donate, and 10 to put back in their special place.
Keep your garage clear of excess clutter. At the end of winter, place any salt, snow shovels, and winter gear in an out-of-the-way spot. Bring your rakes, garden spades, pots, and potting soil to the front.
Clear your closets and donate clothes you never wear. Place any essentials in the front of your closet. Put away winter boots, gloves, hats and scarves. Label containers so you can easily find seasonal items when needed.
Go through the bathroom cabinets and get rid of out-dated make-up, shampoos and conditioners. Toss old razors, toothbrushes or soaps. Get rid of old shower liners and worn bath mats.
Have a good clean and declutter of the kitchen. Throw away any outdated products, herbs or spices. There is nothing better than cooking in a lovely sparkling kitchen with everything in its place. Meal preparation is much quicker and easier, too.
Move paintings and decorations to different places. This freshens up a room quickly. When things stay in the same spot for a long time, we cease to notice them. Moving items around refreshes the space and brings new insights and interest.
Saying thanks to items you are letting go of can make the process easier as it brings closure. This is very helpful if there is an emotional attachment to something, even though it does need to go.
Finally, bring some beautiful spring flowers into your home. Sit back and enjoy the freshness of new beginnings, and the uplifting energy of your lovely, sparkly home.