In my part of the world, spring has been very slow coming. Winter just won’t let go. I love winter and winter activities, but you don’t realize how much you miss warm spring days until you don’t have them. It’s been day after day of wet, grey, and windy. But finally, it looks like sun and 70 degrees this week (hopefully I didn’t jinx it). Thank god, because I’ve felt my mood dimming a little more each day. There’s just something about that first week of spring warmth and sun to recharge and lift your spirits. I live in a very active town and the first week of nice weather usually prompts an explosion of hikers, mountain bikers, and runners. Everyone is generally in a better mood. It’s a tangible feeling throughout the city.
That improved mood motivates people to start working on their yards, to wash cars, and the inevitable spring cleaning. We went all in on this tradition yesterday. We’re having our hardwood floors sanded and refinished this week. To prepare, we had to move all the furniture. This meant opening drawers and removing contents to make things lighter for moving. As you start pulling stuff out you ask yourself, “why in the world am I still keeping this?” One thing led to another, and we decided to do a massive clean out of every room.
We were brutal. If it hadn’t been touched in the last six months or so, pitch it. Everything went. It’s amazing the crap you hold on to. I’m definitely worse than Mrs. Troutdog. I had multiple boxes of old phone chargers, cables, electrical fittings, pieces of Velcro, fasteners, and odd parts I couldn’t identify. Why? Because I might need to use them someday. You realize “someday” hasn’t happened in the last five years… no reason to think it’s going to happen tomorrow. Out it went.
It’s interesting. We never had to think about a massive spring cleaning because we tended to move quite a bit. We were sort of gypsies for a while. We’d throw tons of crap out simply because we didn’t want to have to move it. But we’ve now lived in one place for just about the longest we ever have. And with that comes the accumulation of stuff.
It reminded me of something I’d written about before. Our current house required a major remodel before we could move in. So we put all our belongings in storage and moved into a motorhome for a year. An entire year with nothing but a few pots and pans, a couple pairs of pants and shirts, a mountain bike, and some lounge chairs. And we were happy as could be. I didn’t miss all my “stuff” in the slightest bit. When we finally moved into the house – BOOM, we started buying and accumulating things. And then you have to buy shelving and bins to store and organize all that stuff. And then more furniture. And clothes. And more and more and more.
The old adage is true… you will expand to fit whatever space you occupy.
So even though I need to be pushed into letting things go, I highly recommend it. It’s cathartic to start anew. And spring just feels like the right time to do it. The birds are chirping. The sun is out. So, take your next weekend and clean out your house. Top to bottom. If you haven’t touched something in six months, out it goes. Be brutal. Nothing is off limits. Clean slate. It feels good to be minimalist, at least for a while. Because you know you’re going to fill up that space again. It’s human nature.
Like a clean and empty desk to start a project or a blank sheet of paper – that emptiness is a new start. Anything is possible. It’s exciting. So just do it. You’ll thank me.