I never really understood the phrase, “Spring Cleaning” until I had to move myself across state borders once and clean for my life together with Christine (my then fiancée) so that we could get married and join two apartments worth of stuff. A lot of physical cleaning took place. In the process of moving I recycled 8 garbage bags worth of shredded paper and a donated a closet full of old clothes along with selling some furniture. The physical cleaning made me realize how much “Spring Cleaning” is something that has to take place in our lives as well.
Here are some of the things I do to “Spring Clean” my life and help fulfill the expectations I set up for myself back in 2012 as I prepared for marriage:
1. Clean out anger, jealousy, self-doubt, and other negative emotions: I’m not saying I don’t allow myself to feel these things, but I am more mindful of my emotions. I find that this mindfulness has helped me to be more happy.
2. Clear away projects as soon as you can: I work to not procrastinate on the big projects that come my way. Whether it is lesson planning when I’m running the lecture circuit or completing big projects at work, I work to try and get everything done as far in advance as possible. For me, this means creating calendars to get everything completed in a timely manner. With all of the tasks in a given day, I find that calendars and phone reminders help keep me organized and sane.
3. Sort through relationship baggage: This can be related to any of your relationships- friends, family, coworkers, etc… Maybe you have people in your life who are not supportive, negative, or generally bring you down. Have you been doing the same to other people? You may or may not like the answers you get when you are honest with yourself. Whatever the case may be, I work towards spending time in those relationships that bring me joy, energize me, and that are reciprocal. I may not be able to spend as much time as I would like in some of my relationships due to time, distance, or the crazy dance that is life, but I make a commitment to have a better quality in my relationships.
Spring cleaning my life has proven to be positive for me and has allows me greater clarity and insight into my own behaviors and those of others. If you feel encumbered by the stresses in your life, take the time to pause, even if its just in the shower or while you are going to work and ask yourself whether you could use some Spring cleaning in your life?