Spring cleaning is a tradition similar to New Year’s Resolutions: we attempt to clear away the accumulations of dust, debris, and miscellaneous belongings that we no longer need or use in much the same way that we attempt to leave behind our undesirable habits. You might even be able to work toward your resolutions with your cleaning–go ahead and get rid of that Valentine’s Day candy you hid in your cupboard and dust off the unused treadmill that has been doubling as a storage shelf. Or perhaps you’ll want the chocolate but not the cumbersome exercise equipment.
In Asian and Middle Eastern cultures (following different calendars from the Gregorian calendar used in the West) spring cleaning technically takes place before the New Year, and cleaning is a ritual rooted in spiritual practice and traditions, a “tangible representation of changes happening within” as stated by Shanna Freeman in “Top 5 World Spring Cleaning Traditions” (How Stuff Works). This is a deliberate process of elimination of bad luck to prepare (and repair) your space for the acceptance of good luck.
Marie Kondo, author of best selling titles including The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy views spring cleaning less as a process of eliminating what she doesn’t like and more as “an expression of gratitude to the belongings that had made my winter comfortable and the initiation of a new beginning of myself.” Her article in The New Potato points out that ‘spring cleaning’ is not merely the tidying that is our routine throughout the year–it’s often a thorough re-assessment of wardrobe and exchange of seasonal clothing and linens.
If your resolutions included increased awareness of health and the environment (or even if they didn’t), this could be an appropriate time of year to assess how you clean and what you clean with–could you (and/or other people or pets living in your house) benefit from a decrease in toxins? Lynn Allison, writing for Newsmax Health provides her favorite alternatives to commercial cleaning products, and her list includes sunlight which is inhospitable to dust mites and bacteria . She recommends planning your spring cleaning days around the weather in order to take advantage of the sunlight (be cautious with items that could fade easily). Ingredients such as liquid soap, vinegar, and sodium percarbonate can be combined to clean appliances and other surfaces.
What is your favorite spring cleaning ritual or approach to cleaning and clearing your space?