Spring Cleaning

I recently cleaned out all the old leaves and plastic bags that had blown under my deck during the past few months – not because anyone would ever see them – but because I knew they were there.

There’s a saying: a cluttered house, a cluttered mind. According to life coach Brooke Loening, “A cluttered home can easily translate into a cluttered mind because all those possessions take up space – physically, mentally and emotionally.”

I, for one, feel a whole lot better when I clean, organize and get rid of things I no longer need, want or use. There’s nothing more cathartic for me than going through my closet and making a “Goodwill” pile of clothes I no longer wear.

I do believe our surroundings can reflect our inner state. As within, so without. For instance, when you spot a property overgrown with weeds, an old car rusting on the front yard and garbage building up like a personal dump, it’s probably not too much of a stretch to suggest a general lack of caring on the part of the owners.

Then there are the hoarders – people who save every newspaper, every cereal box, every plastic food container. And I can’t help but wonder whether these people have an inability to let go of emotional/mental things as well.

A disorganized, chaotic home or office could easily reflect a disorganized, overburdened mind – and reveal someone who is constantly misplacing items, forgetting things and running late.

Then there are those who store away all the junk they’d rather not deal with in cupboards, garages and basements. Perhaps this reflects someone who has things at the back of his mind that he’s choosing not to deal with.

This is all just my own conjecture. And this is not to say that those who have a clean and orderly house or office have it all together mentally and emotionally. One could argue the negative sides of being too orderly.

For example, if prompted, my husband might say that my need for cleanliness and order – there is only one right way to fold towels – is a reflection of my (occasionally) rigid nature. A house without a speck of dirt or an item misplaced could further reflect someone who is completely obsessive.

So, sure, there can be downsides to being too orderly; however, I think we’d generally agree – clean is better than dirty, tidy is better than messy, and order is better than chaos.

I once worked with a woman who took vacation to clean her house – not because she had to – because she loved it. She absolutely loved cleaning windows, washing walls and clearing clutter.

I expect we can’t all feel such zeal for cleaning and clearing. But now that spring has arrived, why not tackle that closet, storage shed or spare room that has slowly been accumulating all the things you’d rather not deal with? Besides clearing space in the house, perhaps it will bring peace of mind, too.

My next order of business: the basement.