How To Make Your Spring Cleaning A Spiritual Experience (Yes, Really)

Photo: Daniel Kim Photography

Spring cleaning: It conjures thoughts of soapy buckets and piles of clothes in cluttered closets, huh? Well, spring cleaning can be practical, but it can also be spiritual. Life moves fast, and it’s worthwhile to stop the presses every once in a while. The season's rituals remind us to take stock of what we’ve got going on, both in and out of the house. As you approach spring cleaning this year, look beyond the basics and think about the process through a more holistic lens by keeping these five themes in mind:

Question your style.

What we wear is not always about fashion. It’s also about self-esteem and the phases we pass through. Spring is more than a time to rotate sweaters to the back and tank tops to the front. Each year our bodies change, and it’s important to check in with them. Change might be subtle some years. But others years there might be significant shifts, like weight gain or loss from a pregnancy, a health issue, or even age.

Hanging on to clothes that don’t fit anymore can slowly wear us down. I’ve made a habit of shelving my favorite skinny clothes each year "just in case" I fit back into them one day. But this year I took a deep breath and looked at my wardrobe through slightly more open eyes. Before I knew it, I was releasing all reminders of a different era and a different body. Old clothes can be a reminder of stages of life we’ve worked through, and it’s super cleansing to let them go.

When our home starts to feel like a mausoleum for things that don’t pay rent, it’s time to review what we own.

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Assess volume in your home.

Volume and clutter creep up on us. As an organizer, I see people overwhelmed by it every day. It might be stacks of papers from this project or that, or tiny trinkets gifted over the years that line the shelves. When our home starts to feel like a mausoleum for things that don’t pay rent, it’s time to review what we own. Spring cleaning is a time to release things that don’t fit, but it’s also a time to look at the layers of our home life that we tend to gloss over, like art on the walls or books on the shelves.

On that first spring weekend, when it’s finally warm enough to throw the windows wide open for the first time, take a walk around your home and look—and I mean really look—at every floor, wall, and surface with a critical eye. If you can no longer see the bones of your home, think about reducing volume this spring, and give your home a breather as well.

Think about the health of your space.

Just like our bodies, our homes need annual checkups. Is anything broken and in need of fixing? Is anything worn out and in need of repair? Our home—regardless of whether we rent or own—is a living, breathing thing. It’s made of wood and metal and glass and is filled with screws, bulbs, and hinges.

As you approach spring cleaning this year, set a goal to tackle the small stuff like tightening screws or repairing broken shelves. Then as needed, make a plan (and set a budget) for big-ticket items, like redoing the floors, upgrading plumbing, etc. It's never too late to fix what's broken. But the longer we wait, the harder and more expensive it often is to do the necessary repairs.

The next time you step into your home, ask yourself, do I still enjoy living here?

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Consider the look and feel of your environment.

When was the last time you bought new furniture? What about put fresh paint on the walls? Years can pass by before we make any significant updates to our homes. Most of us get bored with our surroundings but never take the time to do something about it. This spring, allow yourself to think about one "change project"—something that would give your home a rejuvenating makeover. Start small by changing the color of your bathroom walls or investing in a fresh set of linens for your bed. Or go big with a plan to boldly update an entire room. Whatever you choose, just know that change is good. We love how we feel when we buy a new outfit for spring, right? Well, your home feels the same way, so take it shopping this spring and give it a restorative boost.

Analyze your relationship with your home.

I've lived in my home for 20 years, so this is one I think about all the time. How do you feel about your home? Do you like it, or are you just living there because that's the way it’s always been? Moving homes is not something we take lightly. Moving from one home to another is usually prompted by a life change, like a new job, downsizing, or a baby coming. But sometimes it’s time to relocate just because: because your neighborhood has changed, or you’ve outgrown your space. The next time you step into your home, ask yourself, do I still enjoy living here? Is it perhaps time for a change?

I personally have been longing for a change for many years. I was raised in the country in a big home, so small space urban living doesn't necessarily fulfill me. The idea of moving is exciting for me, and it costs us nothing to dream. Ask yourself, what would moving to another home, or perhaps even another city or town, look like? If your spark ignites, it might just be worth fanning that flame.

Struggling to hone your personal style? We've got you covered with the 5 home personalities and what each one says about you.

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