I just visited my family, and it was one of the least stressful and more inviting visits I've ever had. It wasn't until I sat upstairs with my sister and brother-in-law while our kids played that I realized why: they don't have ⅕ of the “stuff” they used to have in every room. Because of their decluttering and rearranging efforts, we had a space to simply sit and talk, our only screens the ones in our hands.
Even better than my own experience, I noticed that they were happier. Their living area wasn't stuffed to the ceiling with random items, they weren't enclosing themselves within walls of discarded projects or losing remote controls underneath piles of bills. Entertainment was now in it's own room, and their 4 year old’s toys are limited, with a proper place to put everything away. The preschool mind loves order, and finally he could see all of his options for play. Their minds could handle each task at hand with grace. They bickered less and listened better. It truly was like walking into an entirely different home. I had the kind of conversation with my brother that hasn't been possible since we all vacationed together years ago, away from our homes and meeting on neutral grounds.
These kind of stories illustrate why our culture is obsessed with the concept of spring cleaning. The known connection between clearing your possessions and clearing your mind is well documented; so much so that even while in the midst of a clearing groove, I always remember to take ten minutes when I start to feel overwhelmed. It isn’t just dust that’s moving around my space; it’s memories of every object I touched and long harbored emotions around just the concept of cleaning itself.
Spring feels like a natural time to spruce up; you have goals leftover from New Year’s. More birds start to chirp outside your windows in the morning. Those last winter coats are put into the back of the closet if you live where they have seasons and your comfy sweaters return to storage if you live in milder weather. Your thoughts start to drift towards your garden and before you know it, we’re in the midst of the Spring holidays.
Like many of our modern traditions, we can trace the idea of spring cleaning back to religion and traditions. Here are a few ideas for the origin of spring cleaning that we’ve come to know and love:
Spring cleaning as a concept likely originated from the Persian new year, Nowruz. Iranians “shake the house” the day before spring begins in preparation for their new year, called “khooneh tekouni.” As with most holidays, it is believed this was first celebrated to mark the sowing of seeds, almost always around March 21. Although celebrated as a secular holiday today, there are still deep religious roots to some.
The time before Passover is often a deep cleaning time for those of the Jewish faith. Passover observances include not eating any leavened food and to clear their home of any crumbs or remnants; there is even a traditional candlelight search for the crumbs, or chametz, the night before the holiday.
In preparation for spring in the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the week of Great Lent begins on Clean Monday and lasts for 40 days prior to Easter Sunday. The entire church and altar areas are part of a deep cleanse. Although the timing of these rituals align with the Western Church’s Easter celebrations, Great Lent often begins weeks before the Western Lent.
Don’t wait until you need to stage your home to start your spring cleaning. Use our Search With Style© functionality on the website or use the app to find motivation!
And now if you’ll excuse me, I feel the urge for a purge!