Spring Cleaning Is For More Than Your Home

Over the past couple of days, I have been decluttering and cleaning my childhood bedroom. I have been avoiding this space for a while since I’m usually not here for all that long (thanks, quarantine), but spring cleaning has helped put me more in a spring mood, especially given my limited time outside. I’ve also been thinking about all the things that I need to “spring clean” that aren’t limited to my physical space. I’m writing this partly as suggestions for my fellow spring cleaning-aficionados, and as motivation for myself. There are some parts of our lives that desperately need a good clean, and we need to stop sweeping under the rug.

As I’ve been unearthing old things from my high school years, I’ve noticed that a lot of things I’ve held onto are things that I feel guilty of letting go because I did not use them as much as I wanted to. This includes (but is not limited to): two pairs of dance shoes, scrapbook materials,  and tons of makeup.  It’s not the stuff that’s holding me back, it’s letting go of the past. Realistically, I’m never going to do theatre again or wearing crazy makeup looks, and I need to accept that my interests have changed. I want to forgive myself for all my projects that will remain unfinished and instead, look at them as an opportunity to hone in on the activities I know deep down I want to focus on. Especially when I remember that donating things that can be reused means that these objects will be appreciated much more than they are sitting in my closet.

Moving away from physical items, another area benefiting from a spring cleaning is my digital space. Making sure all my data and work is backed up and saved brings me peace of mind, as does keeping track of all my passwords in one location and making sure that I have enough space available on my hard drive. While I don’t often think about the state of my digital space, disorganization can lead to losing an essay you’ve been working on for weeks or losing photos you’ve taken to document your life. I’ve been balancing this more demanding work with some fun reorganization, such as revamping all my Spotify playlists and changing up my screen wallpapers for something new and exciting to look at.

The last category I want to spring clean is definitely the hardest, but also the most important. I need to clean out all the habits in my life that are harming more than helping. I’ve been doing this for a couple of months in therapy, trying to “rewire” my brain so that my thought patterns don’t become so dismal and I don’t fall into ruts as often. I need to clean out my phone of all the time-sucking games and social media apps that fill my day with anxiety. I want to get rid of habits like these so I have room for the things that really fulfill me, such as playing guitar, or exercising, or even just getting my work done ahead of time so I can relax. I think of it less as getting rid of things, and more of just ensuring that my daily habits reflect who I want to become as a person.

While the process of spring cleaning can be fun at times, the best part is the result. Extending my spring clean to other aspects of life has been really helpful for me to make space for the things that matter to me; physically and mentally. You have a fresh, clean space that you can enjoy, and fill it with things that bring you joy. It can be a perfect sign to start all the projects you’ve been waiting to get started on. If all of this seems overwhelming, don’t be afraid to start small! I’ve started all this over the course of a month, and I’m not even close to finishing. Just keep in mind that fresh new starting point and keep going.