Spring Cleaning: When, Why and How



Spring cleaning supplies.

Bella Kim, Co-Editor

Time to get out the dusters and disinfectant wipes because it is time for spring cleaning! Although it may seem like a bore and a chore, there are religious histories, benefits and shortcuts to spring cleaning.

Most people take for granted that spring is just the time of year to deep clean the house and garage, but March and April are the cleaning months for a reason. In the early 1800s, people did not have the luxury of turning on the heater during the chilly winter months. Instead, they lit fireplaces with coal or wood or burned kerosene and oil lamps. Once winter was over and warmer weather came around, they needed to clean out their houses of the soot and dust. 

Nowadays, even though we do not light fires and lamps, we spring clean to air out our houses and clean away the dust that may have settled since winter. It is also better to clean during the warmer months because we are more energized since the abundance of sunlight keeps our body from producing as much melatonin, a hormone that brings on sleep. McAuliffe’s counselor, Mrs. Olmstead, who is very experienced with staying organized, added, “Cleaning and organizing brings positive chemical reactions to a person’s brain.”

In addition, there are religious roots to the custom of cleaning the house during spring. March and April are the months for Lent, Passover, the Chinese Spring Festival and Nowruz, the Persian New Year. These ethnicities and religions all observe cleaning rituals during their holidays. Before the Chinese Spring Festival, people clean to get rid of bad luck and usher in good fortune.

Organizing also has mental and physical health benefits. For example, cleaning de-stresses the mind because it is easier to think and sleep when your space is not cluttered. According to Healthline, a site that addresses physical and mental health issues, “‘When we clear clutter, it has the potential to clear our mental space and attention span,’ noted Tricia Wolanin, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and organizing expert.” The act of cleaning itself is also therapeutic because your mind is free to wander while still doing something productive. Acts such as dusting and scrubbing are mindless, almost robotic, repetitive tasks that require nearly no concentration. 

Additionally, cleaning can provide regular physical activity, which is healthy for the body. Going from room to room, climbing up and down the stairs and scrubbing at stubborn stains all contribute to a healthier lifestyle. Mrs. Olmstead commented, “I… enjoy cleaning. Being organized uplifts my mood and helps me find my calm. It also sets my mind at ease.”

Furthermore, decluttering rooms can reduce the risk of tripping and getting injured, and sanitizing surfaces regularly to rid germs can help you avoid spreading food poisoning or other illnesses. As spring is also the season of flowers blooming and crazy wind and rain, allergies are extremely common. Dusting, vacuuming and sweeping can get rid of sneeze-inducing allergens and dust. 

Deep cleaning the entire house may seem like a daunting task, but making a strategic plan and counting on family members to help out can speed it right along. Do not feel like spring cleaning rests solely on your shoulders. Enlist your parents and siblings so everyone in the household can pitch in, too! Dividing the work between members of your family is much more efficient. For those who are reluctant to help, you could turn it into a fun game or competition to encourage everybody to assist. 

A tip to effectively organize is to prioritize. Make a list of where to begin and end. You could clean room by room, or start with the hardest tasks to get them out of the way. Maybe you need to prioritize dusting because you have bad allergies, or cleaning out your desk so you can do homework there. When the warm weather kicks in, it might be time for some seasonal chores like clearing out the yard, cleaning the pool or getting out the lawn chairs for relaxing outside. 

Keep in mind that decluttering does not have to mean throwing away anything that is not of use. If your house has unnecessary items, consider donating them to an organization or shelter for people who are in need. Setting aside clothes for younger siblings is also a good idea to save money. 

Spring cleaning may not be for everybody, but it is beneficial to your mind and body. This spring, try to start new habits and organize to build a safer, cleaner and healthier lifestyle.