Mops and Mindfulness: Spring Cleaning Essentials
Now that March has begun and the year (seemingly) is rapidly progressing, it is the perfect time to start spring cleaning! I like to view spring cleaning as an intention-setting practice at the beginning of a new year. The first two months serve as an introduction to the year and are sort of an adjustment period as you settle into a new or adjusted routine. By March, we typically feel accustomed to the year, have a good idea of our goals and dreams, and are developing our individual themes for the year.
March is a good time to implement this knowledge and manifest it throughout your home and lifestyle as you de-clutter—mentally and physically—and clear away unwanted remnants of 2020. My spring cleaning principles for 2021 are simplicity and intention. Accomplishing cleaning tasks with these in mind creates a more organized, personalized space and mindset for the coming seasons inspired by your own mindfulness. Engaging in mindfulness while spring cleaning results in a more effective, holistic outcome that benefits both your heart and home.
Spring cleaning in itself seems like a daunting, laborious task—and it can be. However, implementing different aspects of mindfulness will make it more worthwhile and beneficial in a way that will make you feel peaceful and accomplished by the time you’re finished.
Be meticulous in what you are keeping and ruthless in what you are getting rid of. By utilizing mindfulness while sorting through our belongings, we will be left with only things that have value. You can implement simplicity throughout your life without fully committing to minimalism or slow living if you wish to.
Use mindfulness to evaluate your connection and feelings as you consider your belongings; recognize patterns of what purpose and value your items have. Are they nostalgic possessions, gifts, frivolous purchases you’ve grown out of, or do you not have any connection to them at all?
In addition to the typical considerations of whether or not an item is still useful and necessary, reflect on why you might want to keep something and if that resonates enough for you to feel confident in your decision to keep it. Most of the time, when we waver on whether or not to get rid of something, it’s likely because we no longer need it, but have underlying emotions to work through that prevent us from easily letting it go.
Mindful spring cleaning requires being aware of our inner monologue as we pick up different items and consider them. If you are considering getting rid of something and find yourself hesitating, take a moment to consciously engage with your thought process. What connotation does this item have? If there is something in your past that you have not moved on or healed from, take note of this. Jot down a few notes in your journal so that you can set aside time later to do the internal spring cleaning of intentionally sorting through these thoughts and feelings.
In this way, you can ultimately consciously choose how you want to think, feel and do with respect to this going forward. Based on your reflections, what behaviors, emotions, cycles, and habits should you get rid of and which ones do you want to increase, cherish, create? Go further than just thinking about these things—make a list or journal about your experience spring cleaning and using this as an opportunity to take action and carry out these revelations and goals throughout your year.
Another measure to weigh what to keep is how you use something. What items or apps bring you joy and satisfy you in comparison to what is a distraction or only serves as a form of instant gratification or temporary happiness. You don’t have to delete Facebook completely if it occasionally distracts you or provides instant gratification, but you might consider setting an intention to limit your time or interaction with it. You may want to consider limiting your use of something such as this to a certain period of time in your day, to help you stick to your intended limitation. Having too many superficial belongings or temporary sources of happiness can be harmful over time because they prevent investing in things that bring you true joy, such as a worthwhile hobby, activity, or interactions.
There is also a lot of potential for mindfulness in movement involved with the physicality of spring cleaning. As you reach, squat, stretch and lean repetitively while cleaning, let your body feel the areas that are being stretched and becoming sore. Let the effort of your cleaning be felt and relish in how hard work is embodied by your muscles. I like to also take this opportunity to feel the under-worked areas of my body that I can later focus on strengthening through yoga and exercise.
Sometimes when you think about all of the areas and tasks you have to completely clean, it can be too overwhelming. I like to compartmentalize and organize a plan to determine what I want to focus on and in what order.
Areas to apply mindful cleaning to:
Delete apps and photos that you no longer use and organize what is left. You can organize your apps alphabetically, in folders by category, or look for inspiration on Google or Pinterest.
Entertainment and technology
Take note of how you watch news and television and decide if you are spending an ideal amount of time with these, or if you want to adjust your habits. You can also view or limit your screen time in your iPhone settings or via an app if you have another smart phone.
Create an organization or filing system that works for you to separate bills, personal documents, invitations, tax documents, etc. Most of the time, once we throw away most of our unimportant papers, what is left is important and often needs to be referenced or reviewed. Consolidating your papers into one organized, designated place in your home will make them easier to find in the future. I also like to consider what can be retained electronically by scanning and filing in a folder in my computer versus a physical one in my desk.
Other Spring Cleaning Tips
Tackle one area at a time. Dedicate your attention to one room or task at a time until it is finished. If you feel daunted at the thought of doing all of your spring cleaning in one day, use your calendar or planner and write down a room to complete each day or divide your tasks up realistically throughout a couple of weeks.
Consider using ethical cleaning products. You can find a list of eco-friendly cleaning products here. I also have clean essential oil blends and organic cleaning tips on JMB Living’s Helpful Pinterest board. If you have pets, just be sure to make sure the essential oils you use are not potentially harmful to your animal.
Have a candle ready and wash your sheets! After finishing your spring cleaning, dedicate your evening to relaxing and relishing in feeling accomplished after all the work you did. Take a nice shower or draw a hot bath and then return to your bedroom with your favorite candle lit and slide into your fresh sheets after you are newly clean. You will sleep well from being worn-out from working hard and also by doing so in a peaceful, clean setting.