When the sun starts to peek through the clouds, the daffodils start to bloom, and we swap out coats for sweaters, our minds wake from hibernation and that means it is time to shift into spring cleaning action. Scientists know that we humans are genetically programmed to slow down in the winter; we have less energy, we want to sleep more, and the shorter days with less light help us to “forget” the stuff that we’ve left piling up with dust and grime. Spring brings us the sunshine and longer days we need as humans to wake up and assess our surroundings, and gives us the energy to clean and de-clutter. We see the earth beginning a new phase and we want to take part.
Many psychologists agree that the urge to spring clean is physically, mentally and emotionally healthy. When we follow through with this genetic urge to clean our surroundings, we make our lives more joyful; by finding value in where we live and purpose for the things we possess, we take fresh joy in our lives. Our living space becomes our oasis from the hectic world around us!
Yet for many of us the thought of tackling overstuffed closets or cleaning out junk drawers is overwhelming. We want a joyful, calm lifestyle, but where do we start? How do we start? Here are some great ideas for how to spring into action and follow through on your next spring clean.
The key to creating joy and the calm lifestyle you crave is in planning your spring clean. Planning and preparation will ensure you have achievable goals, the tools you need to accomplish those goals — and you can even entice an energized team of family and friends to help you carry out your plan.
Spring Cleaning Goals
As Stephen Covey, the author of the top-selling 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, reminds us: “begin with the end in mind.” Ask yourself, “What do I want each room in my home to look like when I am done? How much clutter do I want to release from my life? How do I want to feel when I look at my space when I am finished?” Move from room-to-room, space-to-space, opening closets and drawers and ask yourself each of these and other goal-oriented questions. Jot down your answers for each room, but since your spring clean may take a few days or a couple weekends; it is a good idea to write down your goals on a separate piece of paper for each space as a reminder.
Get creative and have fun with this process. Your goal labels can be colorful, have inspirational quotes or pictures — anything that will remind and motivate you to accomplish the goal for the space.
Spring Cleaning Tools
Once you have your goals in place for each space, make a list of what supplies you will need to accomplish those goals. You will need cleaning supplies, boxes and bags, and markers. You may want to make a quick checklist for each space. Completing checklists with a big, beautiful check mark is highly motivating!
What other tools do you need to accomplish your goals? How about music? Or some scented candles to set a mood and inspire your heart? How about treats? Just say yes to some yummy fruit and cheese, or delightful cookies. Your spring clean is a time for celebration and renewal, so reward yourself!
Team Spring Clean:
You may be a team of one or a team of many. If you live alone you may want to enlist friends and family to come over for a Spring Clean Party or you may want to accomplish your goals yourself. If you are a couple or family, use the rule that in order to accomplish goals, everyone must participate. Bring your team together at the goal setting phase. Make sure everyone is onboard and in agreement with what needs to be cleaned, what needs to go, and how each member wants to feel at the end. This will eliminate arguments, hurt feelings and chaos, and ensure the calm lifestyle you are working towards. Assign roles for each member, such as cleaner, de-clutterer, and designer. Working together towards a common goal is what brings families together and ensures the end result is worth the effort.
Now you are ready to spring forward to a calm lifestyle. Here are some great tips for each of your spaces. In each space you will need to decide on whether to Keep, Toss, or Donateeach item.
Need, Value and Joy
In each space, handle and look at every item. As you do, ask yourself, “Is this item needed, does this item bring value to my life, does this item bring me joy, will this item support my calm lifestyle?” If your answers are a firm yes, Keep. You may keep them where they are, move them to a better location, or store them in a clearly labeled box.
If you answer no to an item, ask yourself “Will this item be needed, bring value, or joy to someone else?” If your answer is no, Toss. These items are generally broken, irreparable, or have no value. You can use clearly labeled boxes or trash bags to dispose of these items.
However, if the answer is yes, the item should be given to a person you have in mind, or donated to a group like Pickup Please. It is often a challenge for us to let go of items we no longer need or want, but knowing the item will bring value or joy to someone else makes it easier.
Donating allows us to let go with pride, knowing our items are in good hands and doing good work in our community. Donating your items will not only enrich the lives of others in your community, the sense of giving will touch your heart and give you the joyful and calm lifestyle you seek.
The crucial last step of your spring clean is one that allows you to bring sunshine into the lives of America’s veterans. Plus, it’s the simplest of your spring clean steps!
Just schedule a free donation pickup online by choosing a date that works for your schedule. In most cases, we can come to your residence and collect your designated items in as little as 24 hours. Put your labeled, unwanted items outside in boxes or bags, and we will come to retrieve them rain or shine. You do not even need to be home! We will provide you with a tax receipt, and your donated items will generate funds for the Vietnam Veterans of America, both locally and nationally. It’s a win-win for everyone involved, as America’s veterans are helped and your spring is in bloom!