Why are we so compelled to clean in spring? It might be a bit more daylight shining a light on the winter’s built up grime. Or just a bit more energy as our bodies emerge from a pseudo-hibernation of fires, red wine and Netflix.
Jewish, Iranian and Chinese cultures have long standing traditions around spring cleaning. Maybe these have spread more widely into all our cultures.
Whatever your inspiration or motivation, a spring clean is a great time to improve the way you feel about your home and to enhance the hygge.
To deep clean your home, you’ll need to shift and sort the objects that collect on your shelves and in your cupboards, draws and cabinets. So it’s a perfect time to take some inspiration from the world’s favourite tidying fanatic, Marie Kondo.
In her New York Times bestselling book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organising, Marie details her rigorous decluttering method. She insists that you should work through your house by category - not room. She has ordered the categories in a very deliberate way - starting with clothing and finishing with momentos.
The Konmari method is to discard first and tidy second. Discarding has its own powerful process, which is to get every item out, sort it and then go through one by one. So for clothing, you would get out every single item of clothing in your life - including the ski jackets stored in a box in the garage - and the shoes hiding under your bed.
This giant pile is your first lesson. If you’re like most people, and you have too many clothes, there is no way to not feel overwhelmed by the visual impact of this pile. Next, Marie would have you work through each item using just one criteria: does it spark joy?
This takes some practice because we naturally try to use our analytical brains to decide what to keep and what not to keep. We say “I never wear this” to justify chucking something out or “This cost a fortune” to justify keeping something. But often - if we listen - our heart will say something else. That expensive top might not make you feel good, but your scruffy t shirt holds dear memories. The Konmari method is about getting rid of stuff that doesn’t make us feel good.
Everyone’s priorities will be different. It’s ok to have 100 pairs of shoes if they all make you happy. But be honest with yourself about this.
Once the discarding is done, the tidying begins. The Konmari method has precise systems for folding and storing that make it easier to stay tidy.
If you’re up for it, you’ll find the Konmari method is about much more than cleaning. It's a powerful and confronting exercise in asking yourself what’s really important in your life.
But if it all feels a bit too much, don’t worry, you can instead revert to hybrination and delay your spring clean by watching Marie Kondo sort out other people’s mess on Netflix.