The tradition of spring cleaning appears to have been carried down for many generations. One tradition was from the Jewish custom of cleaning for Passover, a solemn celebration of the exodus from Egypt. It is also tradition to eat unleavened bread as the slaves did in Egypt as a reminder of what they overcame. To even have bread crumbs in the home is considered an affront; hence it is a time to clear out all the dirt and crumbs!
Another culture who traditionally does spring cleaning is the Chinese. Both the Chinese and Iranians clean their homes thoroughly before the New Year’s celebration which arrives slightly after the western new year. This tradition includes sweeping and cleaning out to clear all the bad luck that has accumulated during the year to start anew. That way they can welcome new good fortune in the Spring with a clean start. Makes sense to me!
During the winter our bodies hibernate a bit biologically. With less sunlight, we secrete more melatonin which makes us sleepier. When it is dark and cold, don’t you just want to curl up on the sofa and veg out? Then as the weather begins to change in the Spring, and sunshine increases we produce less melatonin. We literally wake up to emerge from our caves. Alas, we notice all the dirt and dust that we have let accumulate over the winter months. Time to clean and spruce up our homes and garages for that newly found energy and the summer months!
Spring cleaning is also just a practical tradition and sound practice! Years ago, many people burned coal or wood for fuel and the dust and soot from that built up so it was necessary to clean that in the Spring. Even though we might not have coal dust any more, deep cleaning also rids our homes of dander, dust mites and dust. It’s an opportunity to put away the winter clothes and get rid of clothing and winter items that don’t work or fit any longer. And it’s an appropriate time to energize the home with fresh air by opening the windows, and to make any updates to your home, like painting and touch ups both inside and out.
Spring can also be inspirational personally. Mother nature brings us beautiful flowers, greens the grass, and clears the air with spring showers. It’s a time to revitalize your life with new projects and goals. You may also feel like eating lighter meals, going for hikes and bike rides, and just enjoying the sunshine and warmer temperatures (be sure to take hats and sunscreen). As with Feng shui principles, clearing out the old makes way for the new! It is energizing and positive!
So how does one make the best of spring cleaning if you choose to carry on that tradition? Plan for it. Break your goals into manageable tasks and time frames. For example, working on one room at a time is a promising idea. Or break down tasks to parts of the room, like lamps or baseboards. Or if you have a multi-level home work from the top down or bottom up. Perhaps tackle one or two rooms per week. Or if you have, say multiple bathrooms, do all of them in one weekend. Closets are likely the biggest chore so allow time for them. If you can take everything out of a cupboard or closet, sort them, and then put back what you are keeping in an organized manner.
Also, make sure you have the necessary tools, containers and cleaning products on hand. I urge you to go green! Even common household items like white vinegar and soda will do the trick. If you need ideas or recipes, contact me or google them. Have some boxes and trash bags as well for sorting. Use one for items you want to donate, another for trash, and another if you want to have a garage sale. It’s a wonderful time to declutter. As time passes our hobbies change, our children grow up, and we get tired of things. Sentimental things are the toughest to deal with. Take a photo of the item; save only a few of your favorite papers and pictures your children made in school. There are many organizations where you can donate special items. Think outside the norm like donating toys to a daycare at a church or shelter. Watch for recycling events, prescription drug take backs and shred-a-thons for paper in your area.
To make the work more fun and lively, it can help to put on some lively music or a book on tape. Tasks can be done quicker and be more manageable if you can work with a family member or friend. Someone else can keep you on task and tell you that you really don’t need to keep the talking fish anymore! Be sure to take breaks and drink lots of water. Plan on soaking in ta relaxing bath afterwards as you may find some muscles that you forgot over the winter! Always reward yourself for accomplishing your goals possibly by working in the morning and planning something fun later in the day. You know your body and your most productive work time, so use that for the best results. Remember it’s your house, and it doesn’t have to be perfect! If you need extra help, hire a professional organizer (like me!)