After months of winter (especially in places where winter seems to linger much too long), the early days of spring are like a giant sigh of relief. Things that have been gone return. Things that have been stopped start again. As with the early days of the year, there's a sense of possibility and newness in the air.
If you take part in the ritual of doing a deep spring cleaning, you know the sense of satisfaction (if also the sense of exhaustion!) that comes with clearing old seasons out of your house in preparation for new, warmer, brighter ones. This year, go beyond the dusting, mopping, and window washing and take this changing time of year as a chance to restart, refresh, renew, and reconsider. Here are five ideas to get you started.
- Take on a project you've been meaning to do, or started but never finished. After weeks of intending to do some reorganizing of my pantry cabinets--weeks during which (I admit it!) the containers I planned to use for that reorganizing sat in the middle of my kitchen table--I finally tackled that project today. Neater, more functional pantry? Check. Cleared-off kitchen table? Check. Sense of accomplishment and relief? Double check.
- Recommit yourself to your new year's goals and resolutions. By April, many of us have long since fallen off whatever wagon we enthusiastically hopped on in early January. Rather than staying off and giving up, though, use this as a chance to recommit to the goals you set. If you need to, reshape and reconsider your resolutions if they were too broad, unrealistic, or not enticing enough to keep you interested, and enlist a friend or family member to give you a little nudge.
- Clear clutter from your schedule. Are there activities, meetings, or commitments hogging time on your calendar despite the fact that they're not particularly meaningful or interesting to you? Challenge yourself to get beyond the initial spurt of guilt you might feel by saying "no" to them, and then gently but firmly let them go.
- Make something in your life more efficient. Too often, we get so used to the ways we do things that we stick with those ways even when it turns out they're inefficient or don't work all that well. Now's the perfect time to reconsider those systems or tools that aren't doing what you need them to do. Using a spreadsheet to do budgeting when you're not especially Excel savvy and have no desire to learn the more technical aspects of the software? Look for a more user-friendly online program. Tired of keeping one calendar for home and one for work? Research multi-part calendars that let you track both areas of your life in one spot.
- Clear it out! Nothing undoes a good spring cleaning as much as clutter, so do the challenging but rewarding thing and use the new season as inspiration to reconsider what's hanging around your home and donating or disposing of what no longer serves you. Don't let the usual suspects ("But I might need it someday!" "But I paid good money for it!" "But someone gave it to me!") trick you into making space in your home for stuff you don't need, use, love, or find beautiful. Like the dust in the corners, it's time to clear it out.