How to Spring Clean Your Home and Your Mind
By: Nicole Pyles
Spring is finally here! That means that flowers are in bloom, birds are chirping, April showers are on the way, and most of all, we've begun our spring cleaning. Whether your process involves getting rid of unnecessary junk, putting away winter clothes, or refreshing the dust off our cabinets, don’t forget to dust off and declutter your mind. Today, in honor of all those dust brushes and polishes coming out of hiding, we have three big ways you can spring clean your home and your mind.
1) Schedule a day (or two) just for you – and a day (or two) for your housecleaning.
When was the last time you had alone time? For people with busy schedules and families to care for, this may be more of a dream than a possibility. So, if you can't take time for yourself, at least schedule an afternoon off, or give yourself extra time in the morning, or stay up later than everyone else. No matter what, though, be sure you do block out that time. Let your family know your plan to get some necessary “you” time. Even recruit people willing to help give you that time. The benefits from alone time range from giving your brain a chance to reboot to getting in touch with your own voice. The list goes on.
Now, as for spring cleaning your home, consider devoting a day to your house too. Go room by room, one day at a time. In fact, there is a spring cleaning checklist at Oprah.com which provides tips that will help you break down which room need which task. This check list offers up tips to do this in an entire day, so if the idea of devoting an entire day to cleaning makes you feel like you've eaten a lemon, considering breaking up this schedule by doing one room a day or one room per weekend.
2) Embrace forgiveness – and give away unused items.
Forgiveness is easier said than done, of course, particularly for severe wounds you are still in the process of healing. However, there is a reason why forgiveness is so powerful. It not only benefits the person you are giving, but it also benefits you. Holding onto a grudge can have severe damage to your body and mind. In a study done by Hope College in Michigan, participants who practiced “unforgiveness” were more negative, angry, and sad. As opposed to those who practiced forgiveness, they had more empathy as a result.
So, this spring, if you find you are harboring a grudge against someone, consider the practice of forgiveness. Your mind and body will thank you. Not to mention, sometimes the toughest person to forgive is ourselves, so as you practice the art of forgiving others, don't forget to include yourself.
As for giving away your unused items, as you are busy cleaning out closets, you’ll probably see all those items you don’t use anymore and likely won’t again. If you are interested in donating to other charities, consider this great list created by Moving.com that includes various places you can donate old furniture and old clothes. In addition, if you can't think of anything in particular you'd like to donate, call your local shelters and ask what they need. Based on what they tell you, look around your home and see what items you can donate to those in need.
3) Get rid of external (and internal) negativity – and don't forget to spring clean your backyard (and front yard).
It can be easy to get into a negative mindset. In fact, all you need to do is read the news. So, as you are spring cleaning your mind, make sure you take time to disconnect from external sources. While it's important to stay informed, it can often times lead to information overload. Begin by removing social media apps off your smart devices and read only a restricted amount of news. Now, as for internal negativity, keep close track of what you say to yourself. Start by taking on this approach - if you wouldn't say something to a friend, you shouldn’t be saying it to yourself. This may be something that requires more work than a simply brain activity, but it's an important step forward to being more compassionate and positive about yourself.
Now, don't forget as you finish up spring cleaning, that your backyard and front yard need some attention. As you survey the damage from snow, ice, and rain make sure to tidy up debris and leaves. Don’t forget to make sure your lawn mower is fixed up and clean as well. Of course, this just scratches the surface, so check out this great check list which also includes some ideas for what you can add to your outdoor space you might be missing. Even if you don't have a large backyard, if all you have is an apartment balcony consider refreshing your balcony furniture and add a boost of new planters. Don't even have a balcony? Consider adding an indoor garden.
Spring is a time of renewal and refreshing. It’s easy to assume that spring cleaning is just for what’s on the outside, but don’t forget about the inside too. Spring cleaning your mind and your home can encourage a positive change in your life. Happy spring!