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Why Spring Cleaning Is Good for Your Health

by in Health Tips September 2, 2021

Article by: Four Wellness Co. – Melissa Norton

It’s that time of year again: Winter comes to an end, signs of spring emerge… and it’s time for our annual deep clean! 

Many of us use the term “spring cleaning” loosely, but it’s an actual practice (dating back centuries) that also has some specific health benefits. So what is spring cleaning and why do we do it?

what is spring cleaning?

Spring cleaning—the tradition of thoroughly cleaning the home in the springtime—is a practice rooted across centuries and cultures. In ancient Jewish custom, springtime cleaning ensured all non-kosher remnants were removed from the home by Passover. Iranians practice the tradition khaneh tekani (literally translated to “shaking the house”) prior to the Persian New Year which involves thoroughly cleaning the house. Similarly, Chinese Little New Year celebrations involve a cleaning ritual to rid the home of negative spirits, sweeping out the old before the lunar New Year.

More recently (and closer to home), spring cleaning was practiced on the frontier to remove the accumulation of dust and soot from winter fires off the walls, windows and furniture. With warmer springtime weather, windows and doors could be left open to air out the home. 

why spring cleaning is important

These age-old purposes of spring cleaning still remain important today, as our homes’ indoor air quality is not usually the greatest: many conventional cleaning products contain chemicals that generate toxic fumes; furniture, paint and other building supplies off-gas and impact the air we breathe; and conventional candles are technically indoor air pollutants too. 😷 In other words, most of our homes could use a good “airing out” each spring!

In addition to airing out the home and the seasonal scrubbing and polishing, spring cleaning has also come to represent a collective movement to organize and tidy up the home for improved mindset and mental well-being (more on that later!).

But first, here are some quick tips for a successful (and not-too-daunting) spring clean:

how to spring clean

Spring cleaning (both the deep clean and the tidying up) is relaxing and fun for some… but can be considered a burden for others. 😆

Here are a few suggestions for getting started with your spring clean:

  • A little bit goes a long way: While some cleaning projects are best done seasonally, others should be done more regularly (vacuuming, dusting, etc.). Falling behind on regular weekly-ish cleaning means your seasonal spring cleaning to-do list may feel more significant and time-consuming than it has to.
  • Write a to-do list (or use ours provided in our Healthy Cleaning Guide) and prioritize the “must-do”s from the “would-be-nice-to-do”s. While there is always more to clean, it’s important to find balance. Get out and enjoy that spring sunshine too! ☀️
  • Opt to tackle your least favorite task first. Accomplishing this at the outset means smooth sailing from there on!
  • Choose safer, natural cleaning supplies when possible (check out our favorite safer cleaning supplies). 
  • Tackle your deep clean room-by-room from the top (ceilings/fans) to the bottom (floors). You don’t want to have to clean a surface more than once (no thanks!).
  • While cleaning may be easiest to tackle room-by-room, tidying up and organization projects may be best approached category-by-category using the KonMari Method (more on that below!).

Though there’s no one “right” way to go about spring cleaning, these tips can help make it as quick and productive as possible.

what is the konmari method?

Japanese cleaning consultant and pro organizer Marie Kondo has revolutionized a minimalism-inspired approach for tidying up the home to create space for the items that spark joy. 

The KonMari Method follows these simple six steps:

  1. Make the commitment and keep the end goal in sight (bye bye, clutter!).
  2. Imagine how tidying up will improve your lifestyle.
  3. Discard items first, then organize. Before discarding, sincerely thank each item for the purpose it served. While this may seem awkward at first, it’s an important part of the process (and it makes letting go of things which no longer serve you easier!).
  4. Think category, not location within the home.
  5. Follow the suggested categorical order below.
  6. Consider whether an item sparks joy.

The KonMari Method suggests tidying up in this categorical order:

  1. Clothes
  2. Books
  3. Papers
  4. Komono (miscellaneous items including kitchen, beauty products, garage, etc.)
  5. Sentimental items

For more details on this process, Marie Kondo’s best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing is a helpful read! And, though it seems like cleaning and organizing may be unrelated to other aspects of health and wellness—it actually has some notable impacts on both physical health and mental well-being.

health benefits of spring cleaning

Though all this scrubbing, de-cluttering and organizing may seem more like domestic housework than a wellness tip, spring cleaning actually has a number of health and wellness benefits:

reduces allergens

Clean air helps support a strong immune system. A deep clean and decluttering tends to reduce dust and allergens in your home—which, in turn, promotes cleaner air for you to breathe, and reduces the harmful effects of accumulated dust and allergens (which contain household toxins). We also recommend these natural air purifiers to give your indoor air quality an extra boost.

reduces stress

A cluttered home often causes anxiety and stress. (Though many people aren’t aware that some of our stress or anxiety comes from our environment, most can probably recognize that we tend to feel calmer and more at ease in cleaner, less-cluttered spaces.)

While the act of cleaning (a repetitive, mindless task) can be therapeutic to some 🙋‍♀️, the end result of a clean and organized home is considered satisfying by most of us. Cleaning can even be used as a mindfulness practice, if you’d like.

increases focus & productivity

Decluttering and tidying up the home also declutters the brain (less visual clutter to sort through!)—which means your brain can focus more on whatever you choose for it to focus on. Many people find it easier to focus at work with a clean desk, or easier to cook a nice dinner with a clean kitchen.

saves time & money

Tidying up can also save you time (and money) looking for or replacing items lost in a messy or disorganized home.

increases happiness & improves mood

The end goal of tidying up is a home full of items that spark joy. A clean, well-organized home can actually boost endorphins in the brain, increasing energy levels and making you feel happier and more content.

encourages a healthier lifestyle

Cleaning your environment often leads to cleaning up other areas of your life as well: think diet, sleep habits or exercise. When we spend the time and energy to thoughtfully clean, de-clutter and organize our home, we prioritize ourselves, our health, and our well-being—an act that can inspire us elsewhere as well.

  • Organic Living Health Store’s extensive selection of Eco-friendly Cleaning Products – All you need to Keep It Clean!