A Fresh Start

April 1, 2010

Spring has arrived and what better way to celebrate than putting on some music, opening the windows and diving into some spring cleaning. Cleaning is a great way to usher in the new season and give your mind and soul a jump-start. You will find that as you organize your environment your mind will reap the benefits. If you question this logic, take a moment and think how a cluttered kitchen table makes you feel, versus a tidy one with a bunch of beautiful, fragrant flowers. Get the picture?

Let’s start in the kitchen. First and foremost, it is time to say goodbye to old food. That can of beans you bought in 1998, a half eaten jar of pickles, those leftovers you are afraid to open, just toss ‘em. Sometimes it feels wasteful to throw away food, but you are not doing yourself any favors by holding onto things that are no longer viable. This is also a good time to evaluate the kinds of foods in your home. Consider tossing out processed or heavily sugared snacks, sodas etc. Your body will thank you. Next, using a natural all-purpose cleaner and go over all surfaces including shelves and the inside of the refrigerator. If there is any gunk built up use some baking soda or Bon Ami to scour.

Moving on to the bathroom. Open your medicine cabinet and repeat step one from the kitchen. Old shampoo, makeup, expired medicine goes in the trash. Not only are they taking up space, they can be harboring icky bacteria. If you want to de-germ your makeup you can put it in the freezer for a few hours. Next, wipe down all surfaces and give things a good scrub. A mixture of white vinegar and water is an effective glass cleaner. Consider replacing old toiletries with natural, chemical free alternatives.

On to the living area. This aptly named space really benefits from living things. If you don’t have them already, try adding some houseplants. They oxygenate and purify the air as well as creating a calming and beautiful environment. Talk to your local greenhouse about what plants will thrive in your setting. Next, tackle the clutter. Clear off surfaces that have accumulated piles and toss or donate anything non-essential. Designate a single “landing pad”, (i.e. small table, drawer, basket) where you can throw things, but make sure to clean it out regularly. Wipe down surfaces and vacuum rugs and upholstery. A great natural wood polish is lemon juice and olive oil mixed in equal parts and applied with a soft cloth. If you really want to get ambitious, think about re-arranging your furniture or switching up your color scheme in a way that makes the room optimally peaceful for you.

We will end with where you end your day, the bedroom. This is the most sacred space in your home and should be a place for you to retreat and rejuvenate. De-clutter and clean as above, then start thinking about making the space more comfortable. Replace overly bright bulbs with softer light, remove all electronics if possible, make sure you have comfy, clean bedding and decorate with colors and objects that make you feel happy and relaxed. Consider introducing a calming scent such as some fresh or dried lavender on the nightstand. Try to keep your room clutter-free and make your bed every day so that it will always be a haven for you to retreat to when you need rest.

Now, make yourself a cup of your favorite tea, sit down and relax! Look around you and take a deep breath. Notice how fresh and comfortable your space has become. Appreciate your accomplishment of completing this challenging task and reap the rewards of having a fresh start for spring.

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