We simply love the warmth and cosiness of wintertime, but there is something else that we anticipate at the end of winter even more: the start of spring. Our hearts fill with joy and positivity thanks to its rebirth, renewal and re-energising sentiment. It prompts us to make a fresh start within ourselves and in our homes. And we are not alone–people all over the world have practiced this same ritual for many centuries.
SPRING CLEANING RITUALS AROUND THE WORLD
Spring cleaning is a time-honoured ritual for a reason. In China people clean their houses, clothes and spirits in anticipation of Chinese New Year or Spring Festival. They do this to get rid of bad luck and misfortune that may have accumulated during the previous year. Once the house is tidied, it is forbidden to touch the floors with a broom, otherwise you risk sweeping out all the good luck that entered the house at the turn of the year.
People in Iran have a similar ritual on the 21st of March each year. They call it Khaneh Takani, which means “shaking the house.” And that is exactly what Iranian people do. Everything gets a thorough cleaning: from beds and rugs to curtains and clothes and everything in between. Fresh scented flowers are brought into the house to renew the positive energy so both the new year and spring can arrive.
In Thailand, people celebrate new spring beginnings with the festival of Songkran, where they clean their houses and take extra care to thoroughly cleanse all images and statues of Buddha in their possession. This tradition is then done in public during a parade, as people pour water mixed with perfume and fragrant herbs on one another to symbolise blessings and good luck in the new year.
SPRING CLEANING AND YOU
Why do we feel the need to clean our environments with the coming of spring? Part of it is the urge to finally open all windows and clear the winter mustiness that has settled there. On a psychological level, we are also sweeping out the dark winter mood in order to welcome the positivity of spring energy, just like ancient civilisations did. In this way, a clean house brings us peace of mind and clarity. But how do we start this immense spring cleaning ritual? The answer is quite simple: make a list and divide it up into smaller tasks, so you can feel the satisfaction of ticking off each item. What follows is an example of a spring cleaning outline.
1. CLEAN WINDOWS
Start with one of the most visible issues—when the spring sun starts shining through your windows, you can see every bit of dirt on them. Combine water, distilled vinegar and liquid dish soap in a spray bottle and spray it against the glass. Use a fibre cloth to wipe it on, and a squeegee to remove excess liquid.
Before you do a deep clean, declutter it first. This means throwing away anything you haven’t used in the past twelve months. Avoid throwing odds and ends into a drawer, because they will eventually find their way out and create a mess.
3. CLEAN ROOMS FROM TOP TO BOTTOM
Spring cleaning is about the things that you overlook during your day-to-day cleaning routines. Hoover the ceiling, clean the lamps, and use a damp cloth to clean walls and doors. Don’t forget light switches and door handles—these are typically covered with grime.
4. RENEW YOUR BEDROOM
Organise your closets and prepare for a wardrobe transition. Remove all clothing you haven’t been wearing in the last twelve months and put them in bags for good will. Take your curtains and your winter coats to the dry cleaner. Combat any stale winter odours with a Rituals scented candle or fragrance sticks.
5. A FRESH LOOK IN THE BATHROOM
Toilets, sinks and tubs get cleaned regularly, but spring cleaning involves a different approach. Discard outdated or unused products. Replace old towels with new, luxurious ones from Rituals. Reorganise your shelves for maximum efficiency.
6. DEEP CLEAN YOUR KITCHEN
Search your cupboards and pantry and discard any outdated products. Replace dish and tea towels as well as the mops you’ve been using the entire year. Clean the fridge and defrost the freezer. Make sure you check all the food and throw out anything that has been lying around for too long.
7. DON’T FORGET THE OUTSIDE
Clean your patio furniture and wash pillow covers. Use a vinegar spray to dissolve green build up on teak and wooden furniture. Throw out any pots or other garden accessories that haven’t survived the winter in tact.
By creating a spring cleaning ritual out of these seven steps, you’ll notice that it isn’t nearly as daunting as it sounds. And when it’s all said and done, you will be ready to welcome the coming year with a clear mind and an uplifted spirit.