Spring Cleaning Your Life


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  133 comments   :  25,769 Views

Just a few short days ago we ushered in one of my favorite seasons of the year. Spring to me is like a rebirth of sorts. For many, me included, this is the one time of year I rummage through the rooms, closets and garage to find items no longer needed and freshen up those still in use. I take the blankets off the bed, flip the mattresses and do a thorough cleaning of each room from top to bottom. It's a cathartic ritual to clear myself of the material clutter that keeps me from appreciating the simplicity in my life.

It is also a time I like to take inventory of where I am in my life's journey. How am I managing with my eating, exercise, stress management, sleep, etc. It is a journey in letting go of things that are no longer necessary-guilt and perfection being two big ones I can think of off-hand, while working to clean up those they have been tucked away for a while--self-esteem and positivity.

This year ranks as one of the most stressful years of my life, but what I am discovering is that I am a much stronger person than I ever gave myself credit. I am learning to dig deep within me to de-clutter all the negativity and to find the positive side of life. It isn't always easy, however with the support and encouragement from my great friends, I am literally getting through each day one minute at a time.

Five weeks ago I lost my mother-in-law to liver cancer and my world was turned upside down. Giving myself permission to grieve is not a sign of weakness, but one of release, much like a spring shower. Just like we have to sweep the cobwebs out of the corners of our home, same is true with those in our life. Learning to release those things that keep us suppressed allows us to move forward.

Letting go of all the clutter in my life allows me to focus on the important things. The trivial things are just that---trivial. But when I put the focus on those things that have meaning in my life, it helps me move in the direction that was meant to be.

So I hope you will take some time to clean and de-clutter not only your home, but your life as well. Your life does not have to be immaculate or spotless in order to make progress. You just have to accept that there are many things in life we can control and many that we can't.


Does this time of year usher in the need to re-evaluate your life? Do you take time to clean up the clutter in your life, not only physically but mentally as well?

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  • 133
    I'm finding that I'm taking care of health issues that I have procrastinated on in the past year. Essentially, I hope this will de-clutter my life and make me a healthier person and hopefully the rest will follow. Plus, housework seems to get my mind off problems that are bothering me. - 1/10/2015   4:34:19 PM
  • 132
    In business you take an audit or inventory. Time of year is also a good time to take a personal audit or inventory. It can be freeing. - 2/7/2013   9:25:55 PM
    a really great book on this topic is Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston. it's light on the feng shui and heavier on clearing clutter. i highly recommend it! - 4/11/2010   10:31:16 PM
  • ASHLI95
    Great blog!! Spring cleaning can occur on some many levels!! It is a time to evaluate where you are w/new years resolutions and goals you set for yourself as well as a time to clean the house and tons of yardwork!! If you can't keep yourself up, you can't keep everything else going smooth! - 4/9/2010   8:37:08 PM
  • 129
    This time of year affects me in much the same way. It seems like I "see" the clutter more or sense it more if it's not visible. The blog was good and during a period when I was going through "empty nest syndrom" I found out how important decluttering can be. I had no idea until that time how much emotional baggage we carry around just by ignoring the clutter. :) - 4/2/2010   7:43:09 PM
  • 128
    YES! This time of year definitely gets me in the mood to clean and de-clutter!! I even wrote a blog about it as well! LOL

    Best wishes and so sorry for your loss - I pray your memories will sustain you and your husband. - 4/2/2010   9:06:19 AM
  • 127
    I like the FSS=flat surface syndrome from Smilindi's comment. There are so many great ideas here. I started de-cluttering last weekend. So far it has been a slow process. I will give up however. - 4/2/2010   7:07:21 AM
  • 126
    I am truly sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours.

    I do need to spring clean my home as well as my life. Both are very cluttered and it causes more stress then needed. And if I'm stressed, I eat and get lazy. I read another article today in a magazine that basically said the same thing, declutter your home and your mind too. I think this weekend may be a good time to start! - 4/1/2010   8:06:22 PM
  • 125
    What an encoraging article. April 1st, time to really dig in deep to clean up and throw out what is not important or necessary, I agree! - 4/1/2010   9:45:10 AM
  • 124
    This is exactly what I'm planning on starting today. I need to get my mind and life organized. - 4/1/2010   8:58:17 AM
    De-cluttering is a goal for this year. I am getting a little out with each trash day...and I know the momentum will increase. Clutter saps me of positive energy and infuses confusion. - 4/1/2010   7:04:52 AM
  • 122
    An old neighbor of mine, who is still a very close friend has diagnosised me with FSS(flat surface syndrome)...ha! We are in the process of moving just across the street catty corner from us. Wow...she couldnt have been more on target with that diagnosis. In the moment I am feeling overwhelmed with all there is to go through. Found paper work that wasnt even burried deep from 2001. Heavens.....I'm thinking bonfire!!! yeahhhh!! Would just be nice to haul it all to the country report a controlled burn, and start over fresh....NO PAPER!! LOL - 3/31/2010   4:04:04 PM
  • 121
    Great blog, Nancy!
    ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ - 3/31/2010   3:04:57 PM
    I am so sorry for your painful loss! I know how this can affect you and your family. I lost my mom after only 30 days of symptoms of brain cancer - then a year and a half later I lost my father to Alzheimers Disease. My precious grandmother had Alzheimers Disease and had lost the fight 4 years before my mom passed away and my father in law had passed away a couple of years before that with emphasema. We only have my mother in law left now. I cherish the time we have with her, and we really are thankful for life and for the moments we have with our children and grandson! Life is precious and sometimes we forget to treat it that way. After so many losses in a relatively short time, I've learned to be thankful for my life and the lives of my family and friends - everyday! I've learned, too, that you enjoy the mountain tops so much more if you've been through the valleys, so when things go wrong, I try to remember to be thankful for the valleys of life! I would not take anything for the memories we have of all our family members - it keeps them alive in our hearts!

    As for decluttering, we moved a month ago, and I was determined to keep only the things we need or that are sentimental to my husband and me. It has made me feel so much better not having to worry about closets being overstuffed and pans falling out of the cabinet when we open the doors!! (HA-HA) I love knowing where everything is and having a place to put it when we're finished with it!

    I love the idea of "Spring cleaning my Life" as well! I know it will make me feel better. I am going to share that with my husband tonight and see if he will be my partner in doing that, too!

    Thank you, Nancy for your inspiration to all of us!
    Bamamom00 - 3/31/2010   1:26:06 PM
  • 119
    So very sorrow for your loss. Your response to grief is an inspiration and example for us all. Often in times of stress or grief we turn to food to be our comfort which then leads to more stress. So thank you for sharing with us from your heart.
    You are in my prayers. - 3/30/2010   2:53:55 PM
  • 118
    I am truly sorry for the loss of someone I know must have been an intricate part of your family. I love the spring and fall and do the whole de-cluttering of the house, garage, and yard. I am finding as I grow older not to hang onto the extra emotional baggage and to concentrate on what's truly important. Spark People has helped figure out my priorities, purpose, and focus for myself and how I want to live and positively effect those I surround myself with. I thoroughly enjoyed your article and it gave me some more "food for thought" to help me in my journey. - 3/30/2010   11:41:12 AM
  • 117
    So sorry for your loss. I really need to do the spring cleaning in all areas. We are preparing to move, so I will definitely have to do some tossing out b/c the new place is smaller than the current one. It'll all work out though, I 'm sure. - 3/30/2010   10:24:37 AM
  • 116
    I am so sorry for your loss, I too, had a wonderful MIL and a super Mom. I miss them, still want to pick up the phone and talk.

    As I am getting older, my main thing is to de-clutter the house. If the kids don't want it, ask the office, after that, it's charity or the "too good to waste" space at the dump; they are waiting there with open arms. I feel better as well.


    - 3/29/2010   10:34:55 PM
    I'm sorry about your loss - I hope the memories of happy times with her will sustain you as you grieve. And may you come across wonderful reminders of her as you declutter! :^) - 3/29/2010   10:06:06 PM
  • 114
    I am sorry about the loss in your family. I too lost my mother to liver cancer. I miss her but learned alot from the expericence. First and for most, I need to turn my own life around, as you say de-clutter. I am evaluating my health and setting goals to help me. Reading "The Spark" is helping alot.
    Thanks for the thoughts and good luck to you and your family. - 3/29/2010   4:24:41 PM
  • 113
    My room is a pig sty and I have always had it that way, its now only getting to me how much of a hindrench it is, the amount of time I stress because I cant find something I am after to worried what other people are going to think when they come into my home - 3/29/2010   4:20:09 PM
  • 112
    So sorry about the recent death in your family. Like you I think about spring as a time to declutter and start over, almost like a rebirth. Good luck to all for decluttering this spring. - 3/29/2010   1:56:07 PM
  • BIGSKY101
    My sincere condolences for your loss. Having experienced the loss of both parents and my mother-in-law within 18 months, I can understand the pain you must be experiencing. Reading your blog has helped me realize the "clutter" both material and emotional that I have endured as a result of losing these dear people. My sister-in-law and I just had a conversation last night where I told her I'm working diligently on a positive emphasis in my life. Reviewing comments from other readers today has helped me stretch that goal. Good luck with everything you are handling, Nancy! I wish you the best. - 3/29/2010   1:37:43 PM
  • 110
    I love Spring!! It's definitely the time to declutter all messes and negativity in my life... I wish I did it every season!
    Happy Spring!
    Maureen - 3/29/2010   1:08:11 PM
    I have always found that decluttering my home/life/work/routine/mental state, I am a much stronger person. When I am organized, I can accomplish so much more. Wish I could always keep my house and mind decluttered. - 3/29/2010   11:28:46 AM
  • 108
    I would really like to declutter my life and business. Such an overwhelming task but I'll start with the little things. Thanks. - 3/29/2010   9:49:27 AM
  • 107
    I'm so sorry about your loss - thanks for reminding me of the importance of the people in my life.

    I have a hard time with clutter. Thanks to flylady.net I have really reformed my life - ridding it of material clutter & emotional clutter. One lesson I've learned is that it's the choices I make everyday that keep the clutter at bay & make room for love.

    Thanks again for sharing - 3/29/2010   9:38:55 AM
  • 106
    I am not a good declutterer. I have a tendency to save things because "I might need this sometime or I can use it for something else". I have to just realize how long some things have been sitting and get rid of them. My hubby helps me with it too! - 3/29/2010   9:08:08 AM
  • 105
    Yes!!! I just wrote a blog entry about this. I am a control-freak in recovery, and surrender is so difficult and scary, yet it's the only option, because we can't truly control life.

    - 3/29/2010   7:48:27 AM
    I'm sorry about the death of your Mother-in-Law. My thoughts are with you and your family! - 3/28/2010   11:22:06 PM
    What a wonderful blog! And it came at just the right time for me. - 3/28/2010   10:18:03 PM
  • 102
    We just did a devotional in our ladies group last week about spring cleaning! (your spiritual house). Great blog Nancy ! - 3/28/2010   10:05:12 PM
  • 101
    I am so sorry to hear about your mil. Great blog. Makes us all think about our lives. - 3/28/2010   9:54:55 PM
  • 100
    I feel like this is an area I really struggle with-- clutter. I try to clean but mail keeps piling up daily and ends up scattered around the house. I always feel that if I could just get through with the mail I could get on to the rest of the house. I will keep at it-- one envelope at a time-- and really make an effort to make it past my living room this year! - 3/28/2010   8:46:01 PM
  • 99
    I'm sorry abort your mother-in-law. - 3/28/2010   8:33:53 PM
    I am newly retired and my goal is to get my whole life lighter. I worked all winter cleaning closets, my basement, and garage. The garage sale is Friday and Saturday! I feel lighter all readay! - 3/28/2010   8:09:57 PM
    I love the concept of Spring Cleaning, just don't know who I could get to do it. - 3/28/2010   7:25:14 PM
  • BEKKI42
    sorry to hear about your loss, this is a very nice blog - 3/28/2010   7:10:08 PM
  • 95
    Great Blog, I need to really get into my de-cluttering mode, I moved here almost a year ago and I swear I left @ least 1/2 of my stuff in MD (either @ Good Will, in Friends homes or trash) but yet I am still felling pretty cramped. espc since I have MY furniture and what used to be my GRANDPARENTS furniture. am trying to get just the right furniture to match mine but need the storage for now. Am going to get rid of things though.

    on a more personal note I am very sorry for your family's loss. the reason I moved here was to help out my grandmother but she passed away before I got here. - 3/28/2010   6:50:11 PM
    I'm so sorry for your loss. I've been trying to de-clutter, you never realize how much stress it brings. One big thing I've realized recently, my home growing up with very cluttered, Mom went back to work late in the game, house full of kids, youngest brother passed away, and it never occurred to me until recently just how depressed my Mother must have been, besides being soooo tired. The clutter became the lack of being able to do it all, it must have been overwhelming and there was no going back... Anyway, good article, going to try to keep getting rid of this trivial stuff. - 3/28/2010   6:04:07 PM
  • 93
    Oh Nancy this is a great blog. I started my spring cleaning of the house yesterday and even changed my master bedroom furniture around, (something I'd never done before in our present home). It 's amazing to me how material things do not hold the "special value" I used to place on them and as I de-clutter and clear those things away there is a sense of relief that there is organization once again. In the end it leaves more time for the people in our lives that are so much more important. - 3/28/2010   5:59:37 PM
  • 92
    Great blog. Many years ago I took a stress management class and the key thing I remember from it is: If it isn't Life or Death, it isn't important so don't stress out about it. Today, that is still relevant and that is essentially what I feel you are saying.
    Enjoy the time you have every day and don't sweat the small stuff! - 3/28/2010   5:23:12 PM
  • 91
    I never understood or embraced the concept of spring cleaning. Trying to keep my home (and my life) clean and clutter-free is an ongoing challenge; and that doesn't change just because it is spring.
    Sorry to hear about the loss of your loved one. I am glad that this helped you to get through it though. - 3/28/2010   5:18:24 PM
  • 90
    YES! I Spring clean my mind/life all the time.. I just need to get into a regular habit of decluttering my tiny apartment, and putting in place some measures that will allow my husband to join in regular cleaning and such too. I'm sick of binging and purging the junk in my overstuffed house! So, I will have to take it one habit at a time - make a streak, just like SparkPeople has taught me to do with changing other parts of my lifestyle. - 3/28/2010   4:26:54 PM
  • 89
    YES! I Spring clean my mind/life all the time.. I just need to get into a regular habit of decluttering my tiny apartment, and putting in place some measures that will allow my husband to join in regular cleaning and such too. I'm sick of binging and purging the junk in my overstuffed house! So, I will have to take it one habit at a time - make a streak, just like SparkPeople has taught me to do with changing other parts of my lifestyle. - 3/28/2010   4:26:52 PM
  • 25LADY
    I love to de-clutter my closets aleast 3 times a year. Now that I have lost alot of weight and my bigger clothes do not fit me, I really need to get rid of & either donte or sell at a garage sale this spring or summer. When the sale is over, we will pack up the rest and bring it to either the Salvation Army or Good Will. I will not bring it back in my house!!! - 3/28/2010   4:02:07 PM
  • 87
    Before my son and I moved here almost 4 years ago, we actually downsized by about half. Neither of us are "keepers" - like my mother-in-law was and my daughter is!! And, it felt so good. But, in the time we have been here, things are collecting again. So it is time to do some tossing again.
    I have started in my bedroom.. That is where my book shelves are - and have gotten rid of about 20 books so far. My goal is not to have any more books than will fit on those shelves. So i still have a way to go. Some books I discard and some I have taken to a used book store here. - 3/28/2010   3:38:57 PM
  • RONIE11
    I learn something new all the time here. I would of never thought of re-focusing on my goals and taking stock of where I am in the spring. At this point I'm just trying to get through the household cleaning. - 3/28/2010   3:30:43 PM
  • GSCH12
    This is great! You have a positive outlook and I thank you for sharing. My prayers will be with you for your loss. I will look at cleaning a little differently from now on! It is good to get in sight from our friends here! We can learn much from each other. Bless you Take care and continue your up attitude--it will take you a long way in life-- we all need to remember to live each day with a smile in our hearts and a song on our lips. - 3/28/2010   2:36:37 PM
  • MB3210
    Thanks for your insights! I especially liked the idea of spring cleaning being the renewal of positive self esteem. May the Lord comfort you and your family. - 3/28/2010   2:09:12 PM

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