When the weather starts to warm up and I can turn off the heat and open windows in my home and office I feel this sense of cleansing come over me. This airing out of my space inspires me to want to completely clean out everything which overflows into other areas of my life. The very definition of Spring Cleaning comes from this feeling many of us get, this urge to clean-out the old of Winter and welcome in the new and fresh for Summer! I believe cleaning and organizing your personal, physical space is the first step to cleaning and organizing your mental and emotional space.
When I have a big project or paper I need to tackle at work or at home I always feel this need to make sure everything is neat, clean and organized before I start. When there is a lot of clutter around me I am more likely to become distracted and frustrated while trying to work. I constantly have home projects or work projects that involve getting more organized so I can be more efficient in my life. Kitchen, bathroom, closets, desk drawers and even my car gets the once over when Spring rolls around. Tidying Up, with Marie Kondo will take your organizational skills to a whole other level and I must say, watching an episode of Hoarders is also very motivational for me to start cleaning my house.
Cleaning out pantries and the refrigerator and throwing out old expired food, washing refrigerator shelves and drawers, pulling dishes out and cleaning inside cabinets, cleaning out closets and drawers and giving away any items we no longer use…this process can be very therapeutic. Having the things we do use on the regular in a certain place so we always know where to find them and making sure we always return them to that place is a great habit to start if you don’t follow this rule already. As we clean out and freshen up our personal spaces it is good to think about donating items, books we have read that a friend may benefit from or clothes, shoes and dishes. I personally find the cleaning and organizational process very fun because I find things I forgot I had.
I must admit that I am currently cleaning out my closet and found an old VCR with a box of VHS tapes of movies that I loved when I was a teenager (Goonies, The Lost Boys, Practical Magic). Do I really need to save this stuff? Well I plugged it all up and yes the VCR still works and The Lost Boys is still one of my favorites! I watched it while I wore a feathered Mardi Gras mask I had from the St. Louis Mardi Gras I went to like three years ago….see cleaning is a fun and therapy all rolled into one! My daughter walked in on my me watching a movie in my mask and instantly walked back out of the room without saying a word. As we grow older and live a full life we collect things over the years just like we collect mental baggage with memories of love and loss and fun and adventure. It is good to acknowledge and be thankful for everyone and everything that has touched our lives and made us who we are. So as you clean-up and clean-out make sure you give thanks.
I have kept a box with pictures, post-cards and letters that are special to me so that I can share them with my daughter and generations after me. Unfortunately, I did not have a close relationship with my grandparents because they all passed when I was very young. Not having many pictures or memories of the generations before me has made me make more of an effort to leave something behind. I wish I knew more about my grandparents and what it was like for them growing up. When Phil and I go on vacations I love to find something special to take home from each trip and add to my memento box and all the items have a story. Someday I hope to share each story with my grandchildren. My little box of mementos is fun but I usually try to collect items that are not just mementos but items that have a dual use, coffee mugs that I love, and canvas art from pictures I have taken, wind chimes and a potted cactus from a seaside farmers market are all things I have saved and displayed in my home. Items like these not only add to your decor but they are unique to you and I feel that is what makes a house a home.
Having a clean organized home and office, surrounded by things you love is one of the best ways to stay connected to your past in a healthy way but also motivate you in the future. When you are cleaning and reorganizing think about that next fun trip, finding something unique to bring home and add to your art on the wall (or my favorite two weathered rocking chairs I bought at a beach side flea market for $20). Think about the stories and memories you will have to share with generations to come. Clean out the old, the unused and the negative and keep what makes you feel renewed and inspired. Allow the Spring cleaning process to clear out your life physically and mentally.
With wishes of love, happiness, health and organization for all…