Yesterday was – finally – the beginning of spring ! It feels so good to finally wake up at 7ish with the sun already there, with the sky blue. Cliché, but true. It has been the case for a few days/weeks now, but the fact that it is now officially spring means summer dresses are out of the closet again now ! Goodbye grey sky and rain boots, hello sun and iced coffees.
But spring is also more than just a change in the weather – and in your mood. It is also the occasion to do some spring cleaning. I personally am one of those annoying person looking for every pretext to be able to clean, re-organize or decorate a room. I just love it. I feel like physically cleaning things helps be to also clear my head when I have a lot to do or problems I cannot seem to resolve.
If science says it…
Actually, it has been scientifically proven that cleaning was a mood booster and a great start for new resolutions. According to a study published in Time, the Indiana University department of Physical Activity, led by associate professor Nicole Keith, discovered that there is a correlation between clean houses and healthy people. In other words, cleaning is good for your heart and your soul, and it boosts your mental health. You can read a little bit more about that on this Huffington post article.
Forming new habits
In addition to the obvious sanitary benefits (living in a healthier environment, reducing allergies, mold…), cleaning and reorganizing your space – whether you are into fengshui or not – provides you with a new environment which in turn can help your trigger new (healthier) habits. Moving the television away from the dinner table will encourage you to have a real conversation with your family members ; bringing books on your nightstand can help you build the habit of reading each night or every morning ; hiding your biscuits in boxes and displaying your fruits in a basket will probably makes your snack choices easier and healthier.
The 1 one minute rule
As a person a little obsessed with cleaning, it is only logical that I also like rules and making lists. When I read Gretchen Rubin’s book “The Happiness project” (and I also strongly suggest that you listen to her podcast “Happier”), I automatically liked her idea of the one minute rule. This rule is pretty explicit : every little task that takes one minute or less to do should not be postponed. It is not 100% about cleaning, but it can easily be applied to it. This means that you can take the trash out, start the washing machine, pick up this paper on the floor, clean your brushes, rince your vegetables… instead of saying “nah, I’ll do it later, I’m too beat now” (come on, I know you do). Not only will this save you time, but you will feel happier and more satisfied with yourself after having done this.
The 15 minute routine
Now the 15 minute routine is pretty simple too. Every night, before going to bed, you just have to clean a little bit your home. This does not mean getting the vacuum cleaner and scrubbing your toilets, no. Just wash your dishes instead of letting them soak in the sink overnight (it will be harder to scrub your plates in the morning, and it is definitely not the most enjoyable things to do after your morning coffee) ; pick up your papers and books ; fold any clothes that are on the floor ; leave clear counters and tables… You could also do this in the morning, or after getting home, but I feel like doing this before bed ensure me that I will wake up to an organized home, and that this will make me feel good to start my day.
Spring cleaning is something a bit particular – it is supposed to be the annual BIG cleaning of the house. It can be frightening, especially for those who have a big home. But do not feel overwhelmed : just try it, bit by bit, one day = one room, and see how you feel afterwards. I’m currently living in a 40m square flat, so there is not much to get rid of. My main two possessions are clothes, and books. But I like to empty my closet every now and then, and tackle each piece of clothing individually to see whether I want to keep it, give it, sell it, or throw it.
So just empty everything on your bed or on your sofa, make 4 piles, and be honest : free yourself of sentimental belongings that are no longer worth it (come on, you wore that T shirt when you were 12, and it has a hole it in…) or that bring you anything else than joy. You’ll feel accomplished and in control afterwards, I promise !