Spring is in the air. As you pack up those sweaters and snow boots in exchange for oxfords and boat shoes, it’s the perfect time to take a look around your house and see what needs to be cleared out. Outer organisation contributes to calming inner chaos. This means that spring cleaning isn’t just good for your home, it’s also good for you.
Removing the clutter is good for your overall well-being and creates a sense of new beginnings. Engaging in physical activity and enjoying the fresh air is an effective way to kick those winter blahs. Get out your feather duster and some tunes, and get ready to feel invigorated.
Marie Kondo, in her New York Times Bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, talks about more than just vacuuming and dusting. Kondo encourages readers to become more organised and intentional in what they choose to own, teaching the benefits of decluttering and minimising. Kondo reminds readers that purging feels like good karma—giving away bags of clothing that you don't wear anymore or items you no longer need makes you feel light, while also benefiting others.
Here are five more reasons you should embrace spring cleaning.
Sharpen Your Focus
When your environment is cluttered, your ability to focus is depleted. According to one study, clutter also limits your brain’s ability to handle information. Clutter makes you distracted and unable to process information as well as you do in an uncluttered, organised, and serene environment. You probably don’t need a scientist to tell you that a clean kitchen or an organised closet just feels better.
Improve Your Happiness
But what if you hate cleaning? Start simply and allow yourself to feel the difference. Gretchen Rubin, best-selling author of Happiness at Home, suggests that one task to get you started is to make your bed each morning. Rubin explains that just making your bed positively impacts your happiness. The military has used bed-making to set the stage for their troops. The sense of pride and accomplishment at the beginning of the day encourages you to keep striving to achieve every task you encounter.
Limit Your Mess
This doesn’t mean you can’t allow a messy spot. Some people just feel better when they have a little bit of a mess. You might be one of those people who, when their room is perfectly neat, they actually feel pressure to keep it that way, which becomes a source of stress. If you recognise that you have a little bit of this trait in you, make sure you allow a spot for mess. For instance, your room might be neat, but your art supplies are organised chaos. Spring cleaning can feel great, but when outer clean creates inner chaos, then it's doing exactly the opposite of what you intended. Find your balance.
Set the Stage
Cleaning cannot make your problems disappear, but it can set the stage for addressing other parts of your life. Some people attempt to use organisation to counteract the chaos of their emotions. Don’t use cleaning and organising as your only tool to feel in control, but use it to your advantage. Cleaning can often help calm your mind during stressful times, like after an argument with your spouse. Just be sure to address the deeper issues below the surface instead of sweeping them under the rug.
Remember the Good Times
Spring cleaning can also be fabulous for having a moment of nostalgia. As you begin decluttering, you can sort through old pictures, find art your children did in preschool or maybe some ticket stubs from a concert you went to with friends. These little reminders can help boost your mood and remind you of happy memories. This doesn't mean that you want to get sucked down the rabbit hole of spending hours upon hours looking through your stuff. Set a time limit for your trip down memory lane.
6 Tips for Spring Cleaning
Spring cleaning can be a daunting task, but if you approach it with a little planning and a fun attitude, you can actually enjoy the process. Follow these tips for a delightful weekend of cleaning:
- Finish what you start. If you take it one closet at a time, you will get to experience a sense of being finished frequently, which can help keep your momentum.
- Use environmentally friendly cleaners. Keeping your home healthy means choosing cleaning products that are good for you.
- Crank up the music. Music can boost your mood and help the cleaning feel fun.
- Don’t rush. Take a reasonable about of time doing each part of your house. This can help keep your stress levels down.
- Let go of the need for a perfect home. Having unreal expectations that a clean home will make your place look like a Martha Stewart Living project is setting yourself up for disappointment.
- Use fresh eyes. Sometimes the piles of magazines or Christmas ornaments you never put away go unseen simply because you have walked by them so many times. Look at your home as though seeing it for the first time.
Finally, remember not to let perfectionism get in your way. When cleaning or decluttering begins, initially the mess gets bigger. As drawers are emptied and piles of things to keep, to sell, or to donate get bigger, you can sometimes feel overwhelmed. If this happens remember how great you will feel when you are done.
And one last word of advice from William Morris: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”