About this time of year our mind wanders towards the idea of spring cleaning……. but sometimes if you sit out on the deck with an enjoyable book that mindset will pass………
Where did the concept of spring cleaning originate?
This is not a new concept. From what I have researched, spring cleaning dates back to more than 3000 years b.c.
Looking at the ancient Iranian Festival of Nowruz also known as the Persian New Year, Iranians still practice “khooneh tekouni” or “shaking the house” prior to Norouz. This ritual house clean-up is the prototype of spring cleaning where the entire home is wiped and polished. This ancient tradition comes with a change of clothing and post winter repairs.
Some trace spring cleaning origins back to the ancient Jewish custom of thoroughly cleaning the house in preparation for the springtime feast of Passover. Jews are bound to avoid leavened food throughout the entire holiday. Even the tiniest of “chametz” crumbs count so they carry out a thorough clean of the entire house. They do not want to insult God, so they thoroughly wipe and mop their homes room by room from top to bottom.
According to Catholic traditions, the church alter is thoroughly wiped on Maudy Thursday along with all its surroundings. The Greek Orthodox Church encourages spring cleaning in the first day of Lent, known as Clean Monday.
In most northern regions of America and Europe, where the climate is cold and damp, the custom of spring cleaning had a more practical application. Early spring was the best time to thoroughly dust your home because the weather was warm enough to let fresh air in and chilly enough to keep out insects. The accumulation of soot and ash from the winter could be cleaned out.
During the 1800s the biggest annual housecleaning took place in the spring because the winter left homes coated with "a layer of soot and grime in every room." Lamps of the time were lit with whale oil or kerosene, and homes were heated with coal or wood, so you can just imagine that mess. Proper cleaning required opening windows to let the soot out, which, of course, could only be done during warmer weather.
Once the days start getting longer and we have more sunlight streaming through our windows we start to see all that dust we’d forgotten about.
Well, at least we don't have to scrub coal soot off the walls anymore.
But is all comes down to it’s now that time of the year again when people start thinking about spring cleaning, which means some serious decluttering, reorganization, scrubbing and polishing. Whether you love it or hate it, there's no denying that a good clean is a worthwhile exercise.
We are aware that a good clean home is a healthier environment. All the dust that accumulates is especially bad if you have asthma or other breathing problems. And as we clean up our home, we also clean up some of our other habits. If we have a clean kitchen, we are more likely to cook and even lose weight.
A cleaner, brighter home will also boost our spirits and less clutter will reduce our stress. We tend to be more productive if our environment is clean and decluttered. We don’t lose time looking for items misplaced underneath piles of “stuff” and we don’t make a run to the store for items we already own.
So, of course, we should do spring cleaning!
But I don’t.
I put spring cleaning in that same bracket as daylight savings time. I think it was once a good idea, but times have changed.
I definitely believe that every area in your home should have a complete decluttering, deep cleaning, and reorganization once a year. I just don’t see the point in doing it marathon style in the spring.
I divide my home into zones and tackle a zone each month. During that month I clean and touch everything in that area. I not only clean out cabinets, closets, and drawers but I also clean curtains, windows, door frames, fans, etc. By the end of the year, I have looked at, made decisions about, and cleaned everything in my home.
Yes, clean, declutter, and organize your home! But do it in your own time and your own style. If it suits you best to set aside a few days in the spring and get it all done – go for it! But if you spread it out throughout the year, that is also great. Just make a plan and follow though.
If you want help or just some accountability in working your organizational plan join Diane Quintana and me on our Clear Space For You clutter support group.
Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, award-winning author, as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients tackle the toughest organizational issues. Jonda does hands on organizing and virtual organizing. For more of Jonda’s tips connect with her on Facebook.