A Guide To Spring Cleaning

From Marie Kondo

With each return of springtime, my energy is renewed. I look forward to being outdoors with my daughters, reading and writing by my window, and walking along the shore. I imagine this reawakening starting from within me and radiating outward, beginning in my home and extending into the activities that I love. I approach spring-cleaning as an expression of gratitude to the belongings that had made my winter comfortable and the initiation of a new beginning in myself. 

While tidying is the selection of which belongings we wish to keep, cleaning is the maintenance of our home for daily use. Spring-cleaning is a more involved treatment than we normally get the chance to perform when we are busy throughout the year. It’s a reset for our homes and minds. We may have used our bedrooms and living rooms extensively during the winter months as we burrowed under the covers and the return of more daylight provides the perfect opportunity to pay attention to the spaces that have served us so well. Additionally, it’s a time when we can make practical adjustments: taking out spring clothes and shoes and exchanging them for heavy sweaters, boots, and overcoats, and folding away heavy comforters and duvet covers for lighter covers and cooler sheets.

Another example of the difference I imagine between year-round cleaning versus spring-cleaning is the level of detail focused on the same practice and same space. For example, while we might vacuum our floors weekly, during spring cleaning, we might move furniture to get the areas under sofas and desks, and attach the corner piece to get the edges around the room and corners of walls. We can carve out a time to be thorough with each aspect of the room. The same can be applied to dusting. During the year, we might just be able to dust general surfaces of furniture. But, during spring-cleaning, we can extend that same practice to mind light fixtures, window ledges, the top of the refrigerator and microwave, and the areas behind television and computer.  Again, I envision spring-cleaning as a catalyst to help me restart my home and, thus, my sense of openness to the possibilities that spring entails! Cleaning is not the ends, only the means to reflect on your home and what you want for it.

Lastly, I would also prioritize aesthetic or practical updates to the home while you are cleaning.  Little things like a creaky door, stained stone countertops, fingerprints and scratches on the wall, and chips on furniture can contribute to a larger sense of frustration when you use and look at these elements of your home on a daily basis. Take the time to oil doors, wipe away marks, and touch up what has been on the back of your mind.  Once you address these various items on your to-do list, you will appreciate your environment even more and feel more at peace.

For me, the home is one of the only places we have complete influence over our space. At work, at school, in public, we are subject to other people’s aesthetic and structure.  This is why dedicating time to express gratitude to your home is so important – you are reclaiming your voice and becoming more attuned to what sparks joy for you.

For more from Marie Kondo, read her tips on decluttering, or her advice on how to get your life in order