As the weather patterns start to change and many of our fruit bearing trees start to bloom, the windows in our homes gain significance. Then we start noticing the shape they are in after a season of storms, wildfires and assorted pollen episodes. This time of year our instincts to nest, freshen up, clean up and clear out anything and everything becomes very strong, especially for women.
According to a study in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior and detailed by Huffington Post, “the behaviors involved are more often ones of organizing and sorting rather than cleaning and disinfecting; and that it includes the sorting of people as well as things, as seen in a tendency to retreat to the comfort of home and the company of familiar people. And WHY do we do all this? Because that’s what our ancestors did.”
Spring cleaning harkens back to the days when homes were heated by fireplaces, and efforts were made to prevent heat from escaping. The coming of spring and warm weather was an opportunity to air the house and clean it of soot and all the grime accumulated over the winter months. Today it’s different and fewer people are doing it. With economic circumstances changing and social demands engaging us, what spring cleaning looks like is changing.
Echo Research, on behalf of ACI, asked 1777 American adults whether they or someone in their household spring cleans every year. In the online survey, 72 percent said spring cleaning is an annual ritual. Eight percent say they spring clean every few years or less often, while five percent said every other year. Twelve percent say they never spring clean.
The American Cleaning Institute notes that among those who do spring clean at one time or another (1,586 respondents), 76 percent target the bedroom, followed by the kitchen (73%), bathroom (69%) family room or den (61%) and the dining room (45%). Spring cleaning offers many households that opportunity to finally clean something that’s been neglected for way too long.
Luckily the weather turns warmer and the days seem longer so we are motivated, more active and willing to tackle the bigger jobs that are associated with spring cleaning, like Windows, Blinds/Curtains, and Clothing, Closets, Drawers, Ceiling fans and carpets.
There is obvious benefit to taking the time to get months of built up dust and grime out of fabrics and off surfaces, but what about the getting organized part, what are the benefits of that? We had a guest write into Life with Moxie Radio last week asking just that. Email: “You keep talking about spending all this time and energy organizing things- I don’t have time to do the regular things, why would I spend time doing this?”
At life with Moxie we are clear in our understanding that to be able to be in charge of your life experience, you have to actually be in charge. In charge of your space, your time and your calendar.
Lets step back and see the proverbial forest instead of the trees. Why are we doing all things organizing?
- Less stress. This! There is nothing more stressful than being in a constant state of frustration because you can find, don’t know where it went, didn’t get it fixed and now you need it… staying ahead of the eight ball means you know exactly where everything is.
- Improved health. The stress experienced when things start to get out of control, does not promote good health. There are numerous studies that demonstrate a link between sustained high levels of stress and a variety of health problems.
- Relax more. Less time searching or racing to go buy something you need and can’t find means more downtime possibilities.
- Save money. I heard a statistic once that people spend 10-15% of their income repurchasing things they cant find- phone charger anyone?
- Spend time with my family. Getting clean and clear professionally and personally means more time to spend with the family because you’re not wasting time rushing around playing catch up.
- Be ready for a curveball. Life will throw a kink into the works that interrupts your plans in a major way. Being prepared ahead of time lessens the impact. There is nothing that will break you down faster than a curveball (water heater goes out) when you are already behind on things like laundry and dishes.
- The overwhelming seems manageable. Think in terms of your calendar and goals here. It is a great feeling to have every project defined, and every action step that stands between you and “done” clearly identified. When this is done, looking at a daunting to-do list and feeling completely on top of it and capable of doing what needs to be done is energizing (refer again to less stress).
- Fewer little jobs. If there are four people in your house and you miss a day or two of laundry, you’re behind. That means some day this week, someone has to spend an inordinate amount of time digging out from Mt. Clothing. However, just turning over a single load per day makes all the difference. Little things like making sure the kids put their lunch boxes in the kitchen and gym clothes in the laundry each day after school improves your family’s ability to easily function.
- Be a better example for your kids. I spend most of my time behind my computer working. I am very productive and it sends a message to the kids. What’s the message? Adults work all the time and the job is more important than family. We all want our kids to become productive, contributing adults and to enjoy life- time spent not working.
There are several really great books to support you in your spring cleaning goals, Organize Your Way: Simple Strategies for Every Personality is a new favorite here at Life with Moxie as so many of us have started done someone’s suggested path only to find it didn’t accommodate for how we function. Organize your way has you take a personality test first, then gives you a plan that fits how you go about things- mine was enlightening and spot on- and, it made it fun.
A huge best seller that has taken the U.S. by peaceful sock-ridding storm- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing is simple and universal. Her “tidy manifesto like a kind of Zen nanny”- NYT, has gotten many a household on the path to peaceful living in a world of material excess.
And there’s the approach for those of you who may identify more with advice from someone else who is also equally not organized. How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind: Dealing with Your House’s Dirty Little Secrets Dana blogs at A Slob Comes Clean, chronicling her successes and failures with her self-described “deslobification process.” A funny, real, where the rubber-hits-the-road approach that may be exactly what you need.
If you have the need and the means, professional help can make a huge difference. Bring in a company like MaidPro of SW Florida to do the hard core dirty work of serious spring cleaning like grout, power washing the house, windows, scrub the stove and fridge interiors. For help on the organizing side, call on a professional organizer like Marla Ottenstein at this link. Taking the pressure off of having to do it alone and unguided is worth a fortune and the results will have you standing in awe of your new space.
Spring cleaning, like with many large projects can seem daunting, but it need not be. Start small… more importantly start. The energy you will gain in the doing will provide fuel for process.
Have ideas you’d like to add? Need more suggestions? Let me know!
Julie Koester is CEO of Life with Moxie, a Lifestyle Revolution Company www.lifewithmoxie.com and www.moxiecreed.com and Host of Life with Moxie Radio, Saturday’s at 1pm on 98.9 WGUF in Southwest Florida. You can reach her at Julie@lifewithmoxie.com
Passionate Living by Design, That’s Life with Moxie
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Bath tub- Elle Décor
Living room- Cuttab.com