a clean room

Spring Cleaning + Mental Health

Mental Health

Tidying Up Like A Baby Marie Kondo

I have a vivid memory that sometimes flashes into my head and reminds me of a simpler, yet more chaotic time. I was about 5 or 6 and shared a room with my younger sister in our parents’ house. We had a bunk bed, too many dolls and books to count, not to mention an extensive dress-up box that was straight out of a movie costume set. Our room was set in the back corner of our house, serving as our little fantasy world. In my memory, I am wearing a princess costume, and my room is in absolute shambles. Tutus, cowgirl hats, Barbies, strewn across the floor as if a fantasy land tornado hit. I remember this moment so viscerally; It’s what set me on my first quest to have an absolutely clean room. It fired neurons I didn’t even know I had in my brain until that moment, where at just 6, I knew what I needed to do to make my little tiny self feel a little taller, a little bigger, a little better. Clean my room.

I probably sound like the saddest, lamest 6 year old ever, but in hindsight, I can see how self-aware I was. Because what I remember most about that moment is the need to feel good, and the awareness that I could derive that feeling from tiding up. Tidying up as a kid was something I really enjoyed. It promoted a sense of control and understanding that the physical things we own hold personal value or they don’t. It seems as if I was apart of the pre-Marie Kondo movement.

These feelings and memories are what prompt my spring cleaning every year, where I get an intense, dramatic feeling that I need to completely reorganize my life. It starts as a small itch in the back of my brain, a little murmur that starts around springtime: “I should really get my sh*t together.” This small itch shifts into something bigger than needing a clean room. It turns into a general need to start fresh again, to revaluate and reexamine the things, people, and objects that hold value in my life at this very moment. When I really boil it down, it’s an act of self-care, a quarter year check-in…

Spring Cleaning Can Look Like A Lot of Things

Traditionally, when you hear spring cleaning, what do you think of? The Container Store? Goodwill? Sneezing? All three? Similarly to self-care, spring cleaning doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all routine of recycling sweaters that have moth holes or mopping your floors until they shine like a Glossier highlighter. Spring cleaning can be the innate urge to tidy your life in ALL aspects. Go ahead and toss that holey sweater, or wipe down a countertop or two, but also think about what could be cleaned on the inside? Are there any bad habits that you are holding onto that are equally as unhelpful as holding on to that pair of jeans that you keep saying you will patch up but never do? Maybe you want to commit to being more sustainable (especially after touching and wiping all of your things), and not spending money on clothes (#financialwellness). Maybe you want to stop talking to a toxic person in your life, like an ex, or create boundaries with a friend who is a little too soul-sucking. Emotional clutter can be even more debilitating than that t-shirt that you forgot you have. Is there something you’re still holding on too, or haven’t forgiven yourself for? Spring clean it. Let it go. Create sustainable habits both in your physical world and your emotional world by setting boundaries, buying green cleaning products, and reminding yourself how awesome you are.

So, take a deep breath, envision the future of your life, say thank you to the things that no longer serve you and the lessons they taught you, and move forward.

Take a page from Marie Kondo. Before she begins, she stops to take a moment to envision her ideal life. With that, as you organize and clean, every time we get rid of something, we must thank it for the time we’ve had with it, and let it go. So, take a deep breath, envision the future of your life, say thank you to the things that no longer serve you and the lessons they taught you, and move forward.

Happy Spring Cleaning!

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