Spring Cleaning (It’s More Than You Think!)

  1.     Time To Tidy Up

    Ah, Spring!  The season for warmer weather, increased sunshine, and new growth.  Time to throw open the windows and fill the house with fresh air.  Time to get the garden ready.  Time for that annual (and sometimes dreaded) event:  Spring cleaning!

    There are many reasons to do this beyond just wanting a clean house. A cluttered home can cause stress, anxiety, and overwhelm. In extreme cases, excess clutter can provide a breeding ground for pests and disease.

    On the other hand, spring cleaning will help you create a space that is peaceful, calming, and relaxing. It can help you feel lighter and free up valuable time, as well. With a decluttered environment, you’ll be able to focus on the things in life that matter most to you.

    Cleaning and clearing your workspace or home can be a great way to set yourself up for greater success in the future.  It can help improve your mental and physical health, reduce the risk of accidents, and save you time and energy so you can focus on what’s important. Fortunately, you can realize these benefits with just a few minor adjustments to your day.

     Spring Cleaning In 5 Easy Steps

    Step 1 – Create A Vision

    Always start with a plan. Know what you need and want from the space and highlight any problem areas. Take measurements, if needed, and list any organization or storage items you might need to realize your vision.  Determine which areas are most in need of decluttering.  If an entire room is overwhelming, start with a single closet or drawer before moving on to the next section.

    Step 2 – Start With Just 5 Minutes and Add It To Your Daily Schedule

    You don’t need to block out huge amounts of time for this project. Instead, start with just five minutes each day, and work on just one space.  Of course, you can always go longer than five minutes if your schedule allows, but even this small amount will lead to significant headway before you know it.

    Next, plan to make it a habit by adding it to your daily schedule.  Set a specific time to devote to it and commit to doing it every day. Find an ideal time that works for you and block it out, whether it is five minutes, ten minutes, or even an hour. It doesn’t need to be the same time every day if your schedule varies. The key is to make it a priority by making time for it each day.

      Step 3 –  Evaluate and Separate (aka Divide and Conquer):

    Feeling overwhelmed? Decluttering one area at a time is a great way to start if you are unsure where to begin. Focusing on a single room, closet, or even drawer will help you see results faster than if you try to tackle the whole house at once. Plus, it will give you some quick “wins” and a sense of accomplishment to keep your motivation strong.

    To get started, grab 3 (or 4) sturdy boxes or bags. Then go through each item and sort them into the following categories:

    • Throw Away
    • Give Away/Donate
    • Keep
    • Optional: Set Aside (reevaluate in 6 months) – Use this one sparingly for sentimental items you aren’t ready to part with yet or items you love that are past their prime, no longer in style, etc.

    The fewer items you have in any given space, the more relaxed and rejuvenated you will feel in the long run. If you skip over this step or put things in the wrong category, you’ll be right back where you started. Take some time to reflect on what you’re thinking and feeling throughout this process.

    Keep your eye out for items that you can donate to charity throughout your day. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and abundance by helping others in need as you create a more clutter-free environment in your home. Plus, you won’t be contributing as much to landfills by giving away those items.

    Step 4:  Have Some Fun While You’re At It

    You can make the spring cleaning process more fun by listening to your favorite worship music, trying to increase your step count while you work, or challenging yourself to achieve small goals, such as having your home organized by the end of the month or clearing out your closet in time for the start of a new season. Set a timer for the amount of time you’ve allotted and challenge yourself to beat it.

    Creating a clutter-free home can seem overwhelming when you’re first getting started. However, if you break it down into a small, focused daily effort, you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish over a short period of time. 

      Step 5 – Organize and Arrange (aka A Place For Everything and Everything In Its Space)

    Now for the fun part… It’s time to return items from your “Keep” pile to your space. This is also the time to toss items you want to throw away and place items you want to donate in your vehicle to drop off in the near future. Finally, place any items you’d like to reevaluate later somewhere out of the way for now.

    Organize items you plan to keep by function or category into distinct zones within your space so you can find and use what you need easily. For example, a functional workspace might need a notebook, pens, paperclips, and space for a laptop and/or an external monitor and keyboard.  Do a trial run of any tasks or activities you have planned for your newly organized space and make note of any obstacles or challenges you encounter. For example, is it easy to access your new work area or do you need to move a few things around first? Roadblocks like this can lead to frustration and procrastination, so it’s best to address them before they become an issue.

    Now it’s time to take a step back and evaluate your space from a fresh perspective. Take note of how the finished space makes you feel and if it functions as intended. Also keep an eye out for any items you can still toss, donate, or give away to make the space even more functional and aesthetically appealing.

    Once you’re happy with your results, repeat these steps for each space you need to declutter and organize. Before long, you’ll experience the many benefits of living and working in an area that is clean, organized, and free from clutter.

    Your Home Is Clean…But What About Your Mind?

    It’s great to look around at your now-clean and uncluttered home.

    But…why stop with your home?  Perhaps there’s also a need to clean and declutter your mind and spirit.

    Our minds can get cluttered with old pains, negative self talk, and more.  Let’s face it, pollution isn’t limited to air and water– there’s a lot of mental pollution out there, too.  So how can you clean your mind?

    Romans 12:1-2 says, “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God– this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

    These verses give us three steps to cleansing our minds:

    1. “…offer your bodies as a living sacrifice…”  A sacrifice is totally committed.  The first step is to recommit your life to God.  Acknowledge Jesus as both Savior and Lord.  Get your priorities straight.
    2. “…do not conform to the pattern of this world…”    Our culture is corrupted by sin.  We are surrounded by lies.  As Christians, we cannot live the way the world lives.  Our beliefs and behaviors must be different than unbelievers.  It is so easy to miss this and take on the values of the world.  We need to guard against that.   Take a good look at your life and ask yourself:  “If Christianity were illegal, would there be enough evidence to convict me?”
    3. “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”    What are you allowing into your mind?  Take care what you are watching and listening to.  Someone once said, “An open mind is like an open window.  You need a screen to keep the bugs out!”  Fill your mind with the Word of God.  As Paul said in Colossians 3:2, “Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.”
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  A Clean Spirit Also

In 2 Corinthians 7:1 Paul writes, “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (emphasis added).   What does Paul mean by “filthiness of the spirit?”  Personally I believe this refers to unforgiveness, which can lead to all sorts of problems.  It’s hard to pursue holiness when there is malice in your heart towards someone.  David prayed in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”  This is a great prayer for us to pray as we do our spiritual spring cleaning.  Ask God to reveal any bitterness or unforgiveness in your heart, and determine to clear it out.

So as you plan your Spring cleaning this year, don’t just think of your home.  Do a spiritual inventory as well, and clean out any of the clutter that the Holy Spirit reveals to you.  You’ll be so glad you did!

 

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Related Posts:

“Spring:  The Season of New Beginning” http://www.livingthetransformedlife.com/spring-the-season-of-new-beginnings

“Getting Rid of Emotional Baggage”  http://www.livingthetransformedlife.com/getting-rid-of-emotional-baggage

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