I do believe that the urge to spring-clean or fall-clean is a necessary function for us. The reality is, we live in space and are surrounded by stuff. And our surroundings influence how we feel and go about the day. The space we dwell in gives us energy or sucks energy out of us. Have you ever stayed overnight at a retreat center? If so, you have noticed how spare the rooms are: a bed, a desk, a chair, a lamp, maybe an icon or painting on the wall. If we are to tend our interior world with care and wisdom, we cannot be distracted by the exterior world. We can live in large houses with lots of rooms and furniture and “stuff” and yet be free to sit still and think or pray. We can live in simpler surroundings but not feel free at all because the rooms are cluttered or dirty or both. Regardless of the size or grandeur of your dwelling place, it can nurture your inner life or frustrate it.
Whatever your space, you can determine what kind of cleaning it requires. For 10 minutes, sit in a room where you spend a lot of your time. How does it feel? Are you distracted by piles of magazines or unfinished projects? Is it time to clean or change—or throw out—the curtains? Does the arrangement of furniture make it difficult to move freely? Does it hamper your access to good reading light or to fresh air?
I guess what I’m trying to say is, spring cleaning should be about your interior life as much as it’s about your physical environment. They should enhance each other. Bring your true self to your rooms, and clear your rooms of what is not true to who you (or, you and your loved ones) are.
- What’s the best decision you’ve ever made about your physical home?
- What one piece of advice would you offer to someone about to spring clean?