By Lauren Olson, March 30 2020 —
As I started this article I was upset about the freezing cold weather. But as things have played out — a global pandemic and economic crash has become much more pressing. I wanted to acknowledge our current city’s state before proceeding because I feel that a solid spring cleaning has now become incredibly important to us all.
Despite the horribly frozen last couple of days, it is spring — technically anyway. And, even though we live in a city that has several rounds of false springs and hope for consistent warmer weather pretty much comes here to die, there is still that spring fever itch. When I think about spring I think about many things — baby green grasses poking through the brown ground, yellow buttercups flowering on the hills, puddles everywhere, sloppy wet feet and, of course, spring cleaning!
This last month I spent a few weeks rampantly cleaning my new apartment and completely repainting it. With repainting comes a few major points: the first thing is that it takes a lot of cleaning to make the painting go smoothly (hence all my emphatic cleaning) and secondly, it’s a lot of work, and therefore offers a lot of time to listen to music and podcasts and ponder life.
To me, cleaning is not just about making sure a space is sanitary. It’s even more so an energetic act of love and self care. Mess and clutter in a physical space is, I believe, a direct projection of a mess and cluttered internal condition. I was thinking about that while I prepped each room to paint it. While I was so tempted to skip cleaning the baseboards or the frames around the doors, it just felt energetically un-sound to leave the dust there. Like the dust wasn’t even my dust, and getting rid of it felt like wiping away old, crusty energy and leaving a beautiful blank slate.
I’ve always been a clean person but not a tidy one. Big difference *wink*. I was never dirty, let’s put it that way, but I kept a cluttered room and car and I thought I liked it that way (it was part of my charm, I thought). As I’ve gotten older that’s changed dramatically and I like my house and my vehicle to be clean, clutter free and I am meticulous about it (without being OCD). Going to bed with dishes in the sink, goodness no! No matter how tired I am before bed, I will always clean the kitchen because the sheer pleasure of waking up and making coffee in a clean space is inexplicably delightful and I will not deny myself that.
I think spring is as symbolic a time as any to do a good clean and the reason is that winter is long, things tend to get a little stale in a space and spring is full of fresh hope and, often, new beginnings and motivations. Everyone is keen to shed the winter bod, get outside and get some sun on that pasty skin, and make all the summer plans. The same feeling of a desire to cleanse inevitably translates into your home space.
This isn’t a step-by-step on how to spring clean, but rather a motivation because as I cleaned and painted my apartment the last few weeks I felt a huge shift. As I wiped down the baseboards, window sills, behind all the furniture and on top of those hard to reach places I felt like I was doing a loving act of self care for myself. I was giving myself a healthy space. As simple as that sounds, it is profound and unmatched. It’s like cleaning out your closet and getting rid of clothes you haven’t worn in months. It feels amazing and like a weight off your shoulders. Even though I know we all do this, we’ll hold onto an item thinking “just in case I’ll wear it”… you never will. It’s hard to part with things not because we think we’ll wear it again, but because we’ve put some emotional meaning onto it, and letting go of that is hard. Being willing to part with those emotional attachments is where freedom lies, where space opens up and where those energetic shifts can happen.
Let yourself do a good spring clean this year. Especially right now, in light of current health affairs and you’re stuck in your home anyways, make use of the time to do something so healing and loving. Go through your stuff and get rid of things you haven’t looked at in the last year (6 months if it’s clothes). Books you keep as trophies, donate them. Old photos that make your heart tighten a little, pitch them. Memorabilia from your glory days, whatever they were, throw it all out. Minimalism is a thing for a reason. Having clutter and stuff is, both physically and spiritually, a weight. These are difficult and scary times for all of us and doing a good spring cleanse will lighten the spirit and it’ll also use up a good chunk of your time spent social distancing. You can Instagram it too, if that makes you feel better. Happy cleaning!