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The flowers beginning to bloom and the birds reappearing with the warm weather mark the transition from winter to spring. Just as the weather and environment shift with the emergence of spring, we also see shifts in our daily schedules. We bring out our colorful clothing, roll down the windows while driving and perhaps dabble in some spring cleaning. Although spring cleaning may not be a top priority, there are countless bonuses that follow this grueling chore. 

First, what exactly qualifies as spring cleaning? Spring cleaning is usually associated with mundane chores that involve physical labor such as vacuuming, scrubbing and organizing. However, spring cleaning can extend far beyond manual labor. Personally, my definition of spring cleaning was strictly related to the traditional physical cleanse. Now, I have altered my definition to include a mental cleanse as well.

The physical cleanse of spring cleaning is fairly straightforward. The process itself can be different for every individual. Personally, I begin with the visible parts of my room. I vacuum the carpet and rugs, sort through the various things that have accumulated over the year and organize the items I am keeping. After arranging the areas that are immediately visible, I move to my closet. This itself can be a daunting task to many. There are mountains of clothes stacked on the shelves and numerous items hung in every which way. Although we like to believe there is a method to our madness, our clothing lacks arrangement and is most likely a product of convenience.  

Disorganized closets are more common than you think, so this should not be discouraging. Divide your closet into sections that you can tackle one at a time. Lay out all the clothes from this section and sort through them. This tends to be one of the hardest parts for me. I try to hang onto items of clothing, even though I will never wear them in the future. This adds to the clutter, so I would strongly recommend against this. Instead, start by getting rid of things gradually. These may be fading T-shirts, smaller clothing or outdated styles. After sorting through them, brainstorm a mental map of where you want the different categories to physically go in your closet. As you shuffle clothes around, your closet will start to become much easier to navigate.

Once my room has been situated, I set my sights on deep cleaning my bathroom. This is hands down my least favorite part, but it is quite frankly the most important. Your personal hygiene stems from keeping up with a clean bathroom. I start by clearing the vanity area and these surfaces. Invest in some spring scented products to add a freshness to the air. Next, sort through and organize all your products. Then comes the nitty gritty part – the bathroom and bathtub. Here, bleach is your best friend. Although this is my least favorite part, I am always grateful I took the time to clean it when I look back. To finish, find a soothing fragrance to mask the bleach and brighten the air.

A physical cleanse is crucial to starting off the warmer months on the right foot. Personally, a clean physical space motivates me to work through my daily tasks. Now that the physical cleanse is complete, our attention can shift to the more uncommon component: the mental cleanse.

A mental cleanse is just as important as the physical one. What constitutes a mental cleanse is unique to every individual. This is what makes it such an important part of spring cleaning. Some activities that I include to enjoy a mental cleanse include mindful minutes, yoga and journaling. Take some time to get comfortable and just breathe. Personally, this was a challenge because my mind was constantly on the move. Try to slow your thoughts and focus on your breathing. Yoga can serve as a physical and mental break. Locate points of tension and work on relieving those. Journaling is a great outlet to release emotions that you may not be ready to address with others. Focus on being honest and intentional.

In the end, spring cleaning is defined based on your interpretation. Whether you want to focus on just the physical or mental cleanse, partaking in these will allow you to begin the season on a fresh note. This spring, try incorporating both of these cleanses to start the warmer months off with a bang!

Dharani Ramaiah is sophomore at the University of Kentucky majoring in Biology and minoring in Neuroscience. During her spare time, Dharani loves working out, reading, and planning outings with her friends. In the future, she hopes to become a physician to make a difference in and beyond her community. Her instagram is @dharani_ramaiah.
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