With daily temperatures in the 60’s, it’s safe to say that Spring ha sprung! In 2021, the spring equinox occurs on Saturday, March 20. This event marks the astronomical first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
This event marks the start of spring in the northern half of the globe. After this date, the Northern Hemisphere begins to be tilted more toward the Sun, resulting in increasing daylight hours and warming temperatures. (In the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the opposite: the March equinox marks the start of autumn, as the Southern Hemisphere begins to be tilted away from the Sun.)¹
I don’t know if you’re like us, but with Spring comes Spring cleaning. My neighbors know it’s getting real when a dumpster suddenly appears in our driveway to be honest, when we moved to Oklahoma City, over a decade ago, we brought the better part of two previous homes — to an even smaller home.
All that to say — we’ve had a few really productive days of finding treasures and sending a few things to Goodwill…and the dumpster. I love the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” so I actually looked up the reference and it’s attributed to an Israeli-British chef, restaurateur, and food writer Yotam Ottolenghi.²
Did you know Spring cleaning has a long history?
Spring cleaning ties back to the history of keeping winter houses warm and lit with fires and kerosene. These methods filled houses with soot and grime that was an inevitability as people stayed shut in against the cold winter, but that eventually (needless to say) had to be cleaned. Warm weather and longer days meant being able to stop generating all that soot and that windows could be opened to air out the house as residents scrubbed all that literal darkness away.
These days, the practice of spring cleaning is so ingrained in our heritage that even if we don’t follow the practice because of a long winter of burning coal, we feel that pull to throw open our windows and remove all the long-settled dust and dirt from our home environments. As we welcome warmer days and the golden rays of sun that tease buds from barren branches, we want a new start, too. Spring cleaning gives it to us.
Why is Spring Cleaning Important?
Spring cleaning is a chance to reset everything in your home. It’s a chance to catch up on all the cleaning tasks you’ve been meaning to get to or to do the ones that niggle at you. Instead of laying awake wondering when you last cleaned your mattress, for instance, spring cleaning is the nudge you need to get it done and get the idea out of your head.
Spring cleaning is also a good opportunity to make sure that certain maintenance chores that only need to be done once or a few times a year get checked off the list. When these types of tasks are tied to spring cleaning, it’s more likely you remember to do them.
When Should You Start Spring Cleaning?
Subjectively, you should start spring cleaning when you sense that new-start spring freshness start to come in on the warm afternoon breezes. Objectively, you should start spring cleaning when you can clear out a solid day or two in your schedule to devote to the task. Tapping into the feeling of newness that ushers in the season grounds you in the uplifting spirit of rebirth that will help you clean with purpose and momentum.³
Spring is a good time to simplify your life!
Spring and Spring cleaning can also be a good time to begin the process of simplifying your life. Clutter can come in forms in our lives. After all, we’re hunter-gatherer’s at heart, so the hunting and gathering comes naturally to us. The ‘getting rid of’ and de-cluttering however, does not.
In reading for this week, I found an amazing article in Psychology Today that unpacks five really practical ways, to unclutter and simplify your life. The author of the article had actually spent the better part of two-years living on a sailboat.⁴
Here's why simplifying your life is important — everything in your life takes up space.
Whether it's mental space, physical space, or calendar space, you only have so much room. Everything you own, everything you do, and everyone you spend time with costs you something. And when you have an abundance of stuff, it costs you a lot.
Simplifying your life will give you more time, space, and energy. The more space you have, the freer you'll be to truly enjoy everything. Here are five ways to simplify your life.
1. Declutter your house.
Your environment affects how you feel physically and psychologically. Whether you waste time looking for misplaced items, or you grow overwhelmed every time you open your closet, having too much stuff wastes your resources. A clean, organized space helps you feel more productive and energetic than when you're living among heaps of clothes, stacks of papers, and piles of dishes.
2. Get rid of bad mental habits.
Bad mental habits carry a lot of psychological weight. Feeling sorry for yourself, dwelling on the past, and giving away your power are just a few of the unhealthy habits that will drain your mental strength. Clear the mental clutter and unnecessary chatter. Make space for healthier thinking habits — like gratitude, self-compassion, and realistic self-talk.
3. Cut out toxic people.
Whether you have a friend who finds a problem for every solution or a cousin who calls every day to complain about how unfair the world is, negative people can take up a lot of space in your life. While you shouldn't cut people out of your life just because they're going through hard times, setting healthy boundaries is important.
4. Take charge of your money.
It doesn't matter how much money you have. If you're not taking control of your financial situation, money will occupy too much space in your life. Commit to taking charge of your money. Create a budget and establish clear goals, and your financial decisions will become much simpler.
5. Gain control of your time.
You can never earn more time. It's your most valuable resource. Yet, it's easy to waste time complaining, mindlessly scrolling through social media, or waiting for things to happen. Don't go through life being busy and passing time. Stop doing things that are wasting your precious minutes. Schedule time to do the things that matter most.
Lastly, start subtracting.
Life is complicated sometimes, and simplifying things can feel somewhat overwhelming. But you don't have to change everything at once. Start with subtracting one thing from your life every day. Get rid of some clutter, clear some mental space, carve an hour into your calendar— and make some room somewhere so you can feel lighter and freer.
The less you own, the less you have, and the less time you invest into things you don't want to do, the simpler life becomes. And there's a lot to be said for fully enjoying life's simplest pleasures to their fullest.
So, this week, let’s take a little inventory on the people, places and things in our lives. Do we own them — or do they own us? Let’s let simplicity rule in every area of our lives. A good first step would be to carve out some time for just you — to breathe, to be, at peace. That’s a healthy first step!
Remember, at Conizo we want to be with you through every season of life…even the season of Spring cleaning. We believe that through both the seasons and generations of life — wisdom and hope can intersect to make your life — well-lived! So, what are you waiting for…let’s get cleaning.⁵
Thanks for stopping by…Live Life Well!
The Old Farmer’s Almanac, First Day of Spring 2021; The Spring Equinox, https://www.almanac.com/content/first-day-spring-vernal-equinox
Yotam Ottolenghi, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yotam_Ottolenghi
Apartment Therapy, Spring Cleaning Guide, https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/spring-cleaning-guide-36721603
Psychology Today, 5 Ways To Simplify Your Life, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201807/5-ways-simplify-your-life
Conizo Health and Wellness, www.Conizo.com