It’s officially spring, and we all know what that means — time for spring cleaning! Spring cleaning is a tradition ingrained in societies worldwide, with roots tracing back to ancient times. Viewed as a fresh start and a transition from the winter season to the vibrant growth of spring, spring cleaning and purging allows people to create a clutter-free, cleaner living environment. An added bonus to this tradition is the sense of mental clarity and freshness.

Just as clutter and messiness can trigger anxious feelings and even depression, clearing your space helps clear your mind, and gives you a mental boost in the process. Experts say that cleaning and organizing is likely to have benefits beyond tidier homes, with improved mental health topping the list. As you’re cleaning, you’re focused on the task at hand, giving your brain a chance to stay present, engaged and aware.

Here’s how to make the most of your spring cleaning checklist:

  1. Make a plan and stick to it.
    Where will you start? Go room by room and create a plan. When you’re organizing and cleaning your home, prioritizing and setting aside time to actually perform the tasks are imperative parts of the process. These things take time, and if you don’t actually dedicate the time it takes (even 30 minutes to clear out your car or tidy up your laundry room!), you aren’t allowing yourself to succeed in checking that task off your list.
  2. Give yourself a goal and start small.
    Tackling one area, say a junk closet or a drawer, and moving slowly through your space will help you to finish something and appreciate what you accomplished, rather than do an entire day of decluttering and getting burnt out.
  3. Let go.
    Letting go of excess is an essential step in actually decluttering your home. And it really does feel good to get rid of things that are no longer useful or just take up space. Organizing and making space for your things is one part; ridding yourself of others will bring you more mental clarity than you think. And the majority of people who get rid of stuff don’t regret it or wish for it back — they simply enjoy the freedom of letting go.
  4. Get out the labelmaker.
    Getting organized and staying organized are two different things. Storing seasonal items and things you don’t use daily can be helpful — but if you don’t remember where you put them, the satisfaction of being organized will be short-lived.
  5. Don’t forget the little things.
    Once a year, give your baseboards, door frames, and walls a good thorough cleaning. Dust light fixtures and tops of picture frames, and check the batteries in your detectors.
The time and effort required to clean up and organize may be difficult at first, but a chronically cluttered home environment can be emotionally exhausting, whereas a clean, tidy home can bring with it a sense of calm and peace. And with that peace can come a much-welcomed mental boost!

Spring Cleaning: Why We Do It and How It Helps