How Do You Do Spring Cleaning?

Right now I am in the thick of cleaning out cupboards, closets, and looking at what’s been pushed to the back of those shelves. I am weeding out clothes I haven’t worn in more than a year, and asking myself, do I really need all those sets of sheets or can I donate them somewhere? I am looking at the windowsills and the table top surfaces seeing the things that are of sentimental value — things I won’t get rid of — and differentiating them from the things that are clutter and can be passed along, tossed, or donated.

Spring cleaning isn’t limited to physical stuff.

This is also the season for taking stock of how I am treating myself and making some re-adjustments. Am I eating as healthily as I could? Am I talking to myself in a good way or in a mean way? Am I remembering to do all the things that I know will keep me focused and as balanced as it’s possible to be in this human body on this planet? There are usually quite a few ways I can find to clean up my body and my soul.

Sometimes I hang on to things for so long, that I don’t see them anymore.

Does that happen to you, too?

Things that have been sitting on my desk forever, that I pick up and dust off when I’m doing a cleaning, but never really look at and wonder, what the heck am I holding on to that for. And ways I’ve been dealing with things, or thoughts that I have about what I “should” be doing, that are old, outdated, and no longer serving me.

I don’t think I’m a hoarder, but I do like my stuff, and this is the season to look at all that stuff and decide: stay? or go? serving me? or holding me back?

Do you do an annual spring cleaning of your home, your studio, your office?

Do you do a metaphorical spring cleaning where you are taking care of the clutter in your own mind and body?

I’m not quite reliable enough to say I do it once a year, but ‘every now and then’ I give a different aspect of my life a spring clean. I’m definitely not a minimalist. I think there is real value in recording and archiving our lives through books, objects, and photographs (I’m not a memoirist by accident) and I take great pleasure in beautiful things, but I do enjoy clearing out anything that has started to feel more like a burden than a pleasure.

Marianne Elliott is an author, human rights advocate, and yogini whose life is an experiment in cultivating courage, compassion, and clarity.

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I’m not a big spring cleaner in my house or studio, but I do find spring a great time for change and moving forward with plans. The lighter days and warmer (hopefully) weather give me so much more energy to do things. I always find January – March a dark period and come April it’s like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders and I can suddenly move forward with things I have been working on. I do find, though, spring fever can get the better of me and I run around half starting things, but not finishing them, so I usually have deadlines set for myself to keep me on track.

Claire Brewster is an artist who makes intricate and detailed paper cuts.

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I am more of a when-the-mood-strikes me kind of organizer. I probably give my studio a deep cleaning 2-3 times a year.

{A literal and metaphorical spring cleaning} are definitely connected. Most of the time the mood to de-clutter, unload, clean, and purge comes during periods when I am wanting to simplify. Some part of my life feels like it is getting too complicated, and a great way to channel the ensuing confusion or frustration is to get my studio in order.
Christine Mason Miller is a writer, artist, and explorer.

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As the calendar was changing from 2011 to 2012, I took a 30-day digital sabbatical. The experience of getting offline for 30 days was such a valuable one that I’ve now put a few offline weeks into my calendar, during the year (so if you can’t take a long offline break, start with one day, or a weekend). It’s a great opportunity to notice where I’m living life on default, and the experience never fails to reconnect me with myself if I’m feeling disconnected, or spark some new idea — these breaks create a lot of beautiful space. One of the biggest things that I learned from my 30-day break is that a lot of the things that I thought I wanted when I was busy were not the same as what I knew I wanted once I got some quiet. Since we’re all on the journey of connecting to our personal truth, I can recommend a digital break of some length as an essential practice that nourishes that, whether it’s part of a spring break or otherwise!
Kate Swoboda is a life coach, speaker, and writer.

Please share with us how you do your spring cleaning. What are the things you purge, and what are the things you keep?

8 thoughts on “How Do You Do Spring Cleaning?

  1. I’ve been feeling the need to do spring cleaning more this year than in years past, since I’m preparing for an interstate move in two months. There’s something about the thought of carting all this junk to Wisconsin that lights a fire under your bum. Lately, I’ve been trying to use up all the unusual grains / beans / cans that I’ve accumulated over the past couple of years. And then on to an epic closet purge (I still have stuff from college). Even if it does feel overwhelming before you start, it’s so worth it once you’re done…Interesting post!

  2. How timely that you’re writing about this right now! I’ve been saying/doing this very thing for years and years, and I finally put the idea into class form. I’m teaching folks how to do both the inner work and physical work at the same time; gotta deal with the emotions that inevitably pop up when you try to donate granny’s skirt for the 30th time, you know? Now that it’s getting to be properly spring here in Ontario, I’m starting the process myself, starting with cleaning up my eating. To the farmer’s market!

  3. My husband and I just started a project to each get rid of one thing a day for the next year. Of course we’re not limited to that number, but we’re hoping that letting go of at least one thing a day will make constantly evaluating our physical environment for things we don’t need into a habit. I feel so much lighter with less stuff dragging me down — I do think things can affect our energy levels, for better or for worse. (Stuff left over from a hobby you never really started and are no longer interested in? That just makes you feel bad you bought it and never used it!) I do feel the urge to clean out and let go more as spring blooms, but I want to make it something I do regularly.

    I’ve never really considered spring cleaning for the non-physical, though! I like it. I’ve never really liked the idea of a New Year’s resolution, but mental spring cleaning is something I could get behind.

  4. 2 things help me when it comes to spring cleaning and also to letting go of possessions that feel weighty and unnecessary. First, Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson is a wonderful book (treatise, almost!) on keeping house. She has an awesome, but quite daunting spring cleaning list that I’m trying to get up the energy to tackle by the end of April. In terms of “stuff,” I’ve been reading Adam Baker’s blog: which it totally inspiring. His motto: “Sell Your Crap, Pay Off Your Debt, Do What You Love.” So far I’ve made almost $1000 by selling “my crap” and I just started. It feels so good to know that I am keeping only what matters. It makes me look at everything in my house differently.

  5. I definitely go through cycles of cleaning – sort of like detoxing. Rinse out and start afresh. Whenever I need it – both physical stuff, digital stuff and emotionally. I think it’s only right to cleanse all parts of your life regularly.

  6. I am currently doing a “distillation” of my home and my lifestyle to what’s truly essential. By that I mean I have been scrutinizing everything I own including what I buy from the grocery. Am I really using it? Do I really need it? Does it contribute in any way to my growth and long-term happiness? I used to be such an impulse buyer that I had an excess of stuff that made me feel happy for a day or two and then I forget about them or they turn into clutter. But now that I am also gaining a clearer understanding of the life I want and the person I want to be, it is much easier to decide to let go of the objects that I used to mask my inner lack of clear purpose. It’s feels such a relief to let go of so many things, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

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