With the first chinks of sun, we face the world without multiple layers, thermal knickers, snow-boots and a beanie. It’s Spring!
The seasons have a huge effect on us (you probably need to be British to fully understand this). Winter makes us want to hibernate and eat our bodyweight in carbs. But Springtime dusts us right down and inspires that yearly ritual – the Spring Clean.
“I hate housework. You make the beds, you wash the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again”.
It just feels good. Emerging from the long, dark, dusty months – straightening up, clearing the way and starting fresh. It’s an almost primal understanding that we’re not just scraping the 3 months of grime from the shelves – but we’re dusting off our hopes, our dreams, our goals.
People have done it for centuries. Religious festivals like Passover or Palm Sunday are often preceded by a fervent cleaning ritual. Of the house and quite possibly, the soul! And it made practical sense. Historically, when we heated our houses with coal during winters, a spring clean was an essential to clear all the smoke and soot and dust from the corners.
Our surroundings have an enormous impact on how we feel. Clutter, mess and stuff everywhere makes people feel down, depressed and out of control. Clean, light, clutter free spaces makes people feel good, free and able to manage.
Perhaps not surprisingly, untidy, messy spaces have a disproportionately bad effect on women, who show higher levels of cortisol – the stress hormone.
“My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance”.
Psychologists say we experience improved mood, decreased stress and heightened creativity.
They even report that clients who tackle the cleaning and the clutter eat better, lose weight and actively look after their health.
What’s not to love then, about the spring clean?
The de-clutter has another great result. It’s the world’s plea for less stuff. Waking up after winter, we may well look around and think, where did all this stuff come from?!
And why are we accumulating so much stuff we then spend energy trying to get rid of?
The annual Spring Clean should be a big ‘stuff’ intervention. A time when we are necessarily faced with our out of control addiction to old magazines, rubber bands, multiple hairsprays, cushions – whatever is filling the room. ‘Why all the stuff?’, Spring asks us.
And we have no answer. Guilty as charged.
“I am never five minutes into stripping the clutter from my life before I start running into the clutter that is my life”.
There are those of us who will screech up at the nearest Ikea to buy more stuff so we can store the stuff we already have, and don’t know what to do with. But some of us will choose to genuinely de-clutter.
Spring is the surely to be the season of re-cycling, donating to charity, e-baying and re-purposing.
Spring is the season to ask “do I need it?’, ‘can I afford it?’ and ‘where the heck am I going to put it?’. Less is very definitely more.
Enjoy the spring clean. It’s a tonic for mind, body, soul and just maybe the planet.
“When it comes to housework, the one thing no book .. can ever tell you is how to begin. Or maybe I mean why”.