As the days of spring give way to summer, I can no longer ignore the glaring, circled, underlined, highlighted item in bold on my to-do list: Spring Cleaning. It’s the time of year that reminds me, however reluctantly, to go through my room, my closet, my drawers, de-clutter, reorganize, and start fresh.

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Why I tend to procrastinate with this chore year after year, I’m not quite sure. Perhaps it’s the daunting task of coming face to face with all the clothes that don’t fit, the loose pages of the short story I never wrote, the books I promised myself to but never read, that mother’s day card I never sent—all of my unfinished business, and in some cases, my dirty laundry, hanging out to dry.

But as I go through the motions, wipe away the dust, line up my shoes just so, put my notebooks together, put my loose photos neatly in boxes, and throw away the pajamas I haven’t worn since I was 15, I feel a great sense of calm. Of control. I have created an organized, stress-free environment. The only things left in here are the things that matter to me, all arranged for quick and easy view and access.

I am reminded that spring is not just a time of physical or spatial renewal, but of emotional cleaning as well. Just as in my bedroom, though daunting and intimidating as the task may start out, I can and must work through the clutter and muddle in my mind, in my heart. I can clear away the mental dust, the unworn, the unused, and make way for new thinking and for the parts of me I like best to shine. And the beauty of Spring Cleaning? I can always do it again next year!

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