Spring has officially been here for 2 weeks. I’m not sure about you, but where I live, it’s still snowing and cold. But, it looks like the nice, spring weather is just around the corner (and hopefully for you, it has already arrived!). So many wonderful things happen in spring. Not only is my wedding anniversary in the springtime (2 years next month!), but it is also the time of year that The Bliss List was born, it’s a time for new beginnings and it gives us the chance to take stock of where we are in our lives.
One of my favourite parts of spring is the spring cleaning. I know, it sounds strange to be excited about cleaning, but it brings back such good memories for me. When we were little, my grandparents used to “hire” my sister and me to help them spring clean their house. We would vacuum the carpets, wash the walls, dust the picture frames and help them get into the small spaces they couldn’t reach. It was a full day event that always included a delicious lunch and lots of laughter (and maybe the occasional prank or two).
These days, my spring cleaning looks a little different. I still like to do the typical chores like washing the windows, dusting the baseboards and steam-cleaning the floors but now it’s not just my house that needs some TLC – so do my mind and body. Today, I am sharing with you some ways to overhaul your usual spring cleaning regime to focus not only on what you can see, but going deep and working from the inside out.
There are lots of great resources out there for the usual spring cleaning (I like this one for a thorough list of cleaning tasks!), but what I want to focus on are the tasks that are more than just getting at those dust bunnies on the surface.
Do a closet clean-out
While it may not be warm enough yet to put those winter sweaters in storage, it’s a great chance to evaluate what you have and what can go. As you go through the items in your closet, ask yourself: Have I worn this in the last year? Does it still fit? Is it in good condition? Can I replace a worn article with something fresher? Don’t keep clothing that is too small as “motivation”; this only serves to disappoint you! Having fewer clothes hanging in your closet actually gives you more options of what to wear because you can see everything much more easily.
Sort out your fridge, freezer and pantry
Getting rid of anything that is expired seems fairly obvious, but there is more to consider. Are there food items that you no longer like? Have you eliminated added sugar but still have a box of unopened cookies hanging around? Sorting out your fridge and pantry is a great opportunity to evaluate the foods you are eating and decide what kinds of food you want to nourish your body with.
File loose papers
My husband works from home, so there is usually paperwork everywhere. Creating an efficient and tidy filing system has been a huge relief for us. There are lots of great organizational systems out there – even just an accordion folder with different sections for house bills, credit card statements, work papers, etc. will do the trick. Physical clutter equals mental clutter so getting rid of the loose papers will have a profound effect on the feel of your home.
Less is more
The minimalist movement has taken the world by storm and, while I think some people can take it a little too far, there is value in much of what it means. Take a look around your home. Do you have things that are collecting dust, serving no purpose other than to occupy space? I want to surround my home with objects that are meaningful or serve a purpose. The cake stand that belonged to my grandma may only get used once a year, but it’s special, so I keep it. If there are items in your home that don’t serve a purpose, or don’t feel special, consider getting rid of them to make room for things that do.
Bring the outside in
It’s so exciting when you start to see green on the trees and sprouting in your garden, so why wait? Bring some life into your home. Not only do plants help to purify the air, but they also give you something to tend to regularly. If your new to taking care of plants, start with something easy like succulents before moving on to more advanced plants.
Spring cleaning your body doesn’t mean what you might be thinking. It is not about getting your body ready for bikini season, shedding off your “winter weight” or starting an intense workout regime. It’s about getting in tune with your body, being kind to yourself and waking it up after a long winter of staying indoors.
Finally the weather is warm enough to stretch your legs and go for a walk. The vitamin D and fresh oxygen will feel great after months of beeping cooped up indoors. If you live near some hiking trails, even better!
Visit a naturopath
Adding a naturopath to my healthcare team has been the best experience. There is definitely a time for your general practitioner, but visiting a naturopath puts you in the driver’s seat of your health. Why wait until your sick to take your health into your own hands when you can be proactive and get yourself in top shape now?
Try a new exercise class
Spring is the perfect chance for you to try something new. Whether it’s a barre class at your gym or developing an at-home yoga practice, a new exercise regime is a great way to get the body moving – just make sure you don’t over do it and consult your physician before taking on anything too strenuous.
Start a vegetable garden
Not only can gardening be a good workout (think hauling heavy bags and turning soil), but enjoying the fruits of your labour is oh so satisfying – in more ways than one! And many vegetables have an early harvest, so you don’t need to wait until July to eat up!
Consider doing a cleanse
If you choose to do a cleanse, make sure you choose the right one. I’m not talking about the cayenne pepper/lemon juice cleanse. I like the Whole 30 because it doesn’t restrict the number of calories you take in or limit the size of your portions (You can read about my experience here and here). Instead, the goal is to learn how your body responds to certain foods and eliminate those that aren’t treating your body well. Whichever cleanse program you choose, make sure you do your research and consult your physician to learn what’s best for you.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that our minds could use a good cleanout once in a while. Even the best of us can find ourselves in need of a little pick-me-up. Spring cleaning your mind is all about giving yourself a break, being kind to yourself and making room for the light of a new season full of new beginnings.
Clear out the mental clutter
I like this 15 minute activity: Set a timer for 10 minutes and write down whatever comes to your mind. It could be thoughts that pop up in your head, things you’ve been meaning to get done, important reminders – whatever it is, just write it down. After 10 minutes, read over your list. If there are any “to do” list items like pick up dry cleaning or pay the water bill, schedule it in your day planner right away! Now that those are out of the way, look at what is left. If there are any goals or hopes for your future, put them somewhere you can see them so you can focus on the future. Anything that is a worry, a fear or a negative thought – chuck it! Spring cleaning is all about “out with the old, in with the new” so get rid of those toxic thoughts and make room for happy ones!
Start a self-care regime
This one is actually a two-fer: you’ll be tending to your mind AND body! Find out what works for you. Maybe it is reading a trashy romance novel your embarrassed to admit has been on your e-reader for months, or maybe it is cooking your favourite meal and enjoying it on a quiet night to yourself. Whatever you can do to de-stress and bring calmness to your life – do that! (Side note: stay tuned for my upcoming Self-Care Series!)
Change your inner dialogue
Pay close attention to what you say to yourself. When you’re getting ready for the day, are you criticizing the way your hair looks, or are you encouraging yourself to do amazing things? You listen to your inner dialogue 24 hours a day, 7 days a week which makes it a very influential part of your life. Take stock of how you talk and think about yourself. Now, try to change it! Instead of jumping to the negative, try starting your day off by thinking about 3 things you like about yourself and 3 positive messages of encouragement. At night, repeat them to yourself and add in another! Do this each day and you just might be surprised to see how this changes your outlook.
It’s amazing how being thankful for the people and opportunities in your life has the power to change your point of view. Focus on the positive rather than what your life is lacking. Keep a journal where you can jot down simple reminders of what you’re thankful for. Some days you might have just one or two sentences and others you may be overflowing with ideas, but with all your thoughts in one place, you’ll have plenty of blessings to reflect on when inspiration is low.
Spend time with positive people
I have a friend who makes me happy just by being in her presence. She always sees the best in people and advocates for treating yourself with kindness, especially on the days where it is difficult. I love spending time with her because whenever I leave, I always feel uplifted. Don’t you want to feel good as often as possible? Some people refuse to look at life through a positive lens and, as a result, negativity follows them everywhere. Positive people, on the other hand, seem to send a message to the universe saying, “I’m ready for whatever comes my way”. This type of attitude is infectious, but so is a negative one. Reach out to some friends who are sources of positivity and light – you might be surprised to see how quickly their attitude can rub off on you.
Everyone’s spring cleaning regime is different – it’s all about doing what works for you. I hope some of these tips will be useful for you. Share your own ideas below of how you like to spring clean your home, body and mind!