6 Ways to Spring Clean your Life
Updated: Oct 8, 2020
Spring has sprung! This season is the perfect time for change. It’s the very season of re-growth and fresh starts, and I think everyone is in need of a fresh start this year!
Spring teaches us that despite the dark times and storms we endure, we can always thrive and blossom into something stronger than before. With that in mind, I am making it my goal this season to foster new and healthy habits and mindsets that will set me up for a good finish to the year and carry over to 2021 (is it too early to be planning for next year already?)
I love metaphors just as much as the Universe does, so physically cleaning up my living spaces is the perfect way to start having a more productive, energetic and centred approach to life. Below I break down six ways you can spring clean your life so you can truly thrive.
I have also included a FREE printable checklist to work through each of these areas. Simply click on the button to download and don't forget to subscribe at the bottom of this post.
1. Your Diet
I am not advising you to go on a short-term, unsustainable diet and work for your ‘summer bod’. But personally, I want to get back on track with my goal of eating healthier, more nourishing foods this year - while also repairing my relationship with treat foods. Despite years of reading celebrity diets, I now know that diets are a very personal thing. What works for one does not work for another. Also, because we all have different bodies, tastes, tolerances and cravings,it would be silly to think that one size fits all. If you’re feeling full of energy and know that you are giving your body the nutrients it needs then your diet probably doesn’t need a spruce up at all.
But if you wake up tired, have afternoon slumps and a range of other symptoms and know that you aren’t feeding your body real food the majority of the time, then take this opportunity to give back to your body (and mind) and start introducing some healthier options. Spring is the perfect time to introduce yummy meals like salads, fresh Mexican tacos, smoothies or chia puddings like the one I shared recently in my post of five minute healthy breakfasts. Take the time this season to honestly look at what might be doing you more harm than good and find ways to cut down on it, or replace it with something healthier. Your body, mood and energy levels will thank you for it.
What’s been working for me lately is planning my week of meals in advance and ensuring they feature good foods that I love, as well as two-three treats to really savour and enjoy. My cravings have normalised for the first time in years and I find myself feeling so satisfied after a normal serve of ‘treat food’, rather than feeling like I need to eat it all! Make peace with your body and food by fuelling it with what it needs, as well as what it wants.
2. Your Closet
This is the perfect time to take a restock of your closet and figure out what items are really being used and bring you joy versus those that don't. With summer on the horizon, it is also a great time to clear space for new looks to come. I am still in love with Marie Kondo’s approach, which is to pile all your clothes on the floor and take your time picking up each item and deciding if it brings you joy. If it does, lovingly fold or hang it up. If it doesn’t, donate it to a charity or someone you know. Her t-shirt folding technique has created so much room in my drawers, and every item of clothing that is hanging in my closet brings me so much joy.
Often we forget what we have and we can become pretty complacent with the same go-to looks. To help this, I have also been getting into the habit of planning my outfits. It might take time on the weekend or the night before, but it saves me so much time (and stress) in the mornings and it allows me the time to create outfits outside of my normal go-to's. A big part of spring cleaning your wardrobe is to also make a pile of what needs to be repaired. Anyone else with a heap of clothes with a missing button or unstitched hem? Make the time over the next few weeks to go to a tailor and get them fixed. Especially if they are pieces that bring you joy. While you’re at it, thin out your winter clothes or store them away for next year. If you're low on money for new-season looks, look into selling clothes you no longer want through a consignment store. Alternatively, you can do this yourself online through the Facebook marketplace or Trademe, but if you don’t want to deal with the occasional time-waster or having to sort out postage etc, then a consignment store like Recycle Boutique (or our Cambridge Local - Mint) may be your best bet. Here you get a cut of the sale price, but they do all the work for you. With your new cash, you can purchase your own second-hand items that take your fancy or splurge on new clothes for the warmer months ahead.
3. Beauty Routine
As I’m sure you know, our skin changes throughout the year. Winter skin challenges are different to what we can expect in spring, so it is wise to adjust our beauty routine at the start of a new season. This doesn’t have to be a major over-haul where you buy all new products. But you might tweak a few steps slightly. In spring, I start upping my daily SPF protection and applying it to more than just my face and neck. I concentrate on arm and hand sun-protection a lot more as well as ensure I have plenty of water to keep my skin hydrated. Take the time now to also do a big clean out of your beauty drawer. Chuck anything that is expired or any products that you don’t use (or like). This creates room to purchase more products that are actually going to be used and that current address skin issues. If you can, visit a beautician or dermatologist for them to review what your skin needs. Otherwise, pharmacists and beauty counter clerks are also great at identifying what your skin needs and recommending a product right then to correct it.
I also encourage you to opt for local, natural and cruelty-free products when you next stock up. Some of the most effective and affordable skincare I have ever used is Glo Lab and Essano - both are available at supermarkets and contain no nasties and tick all the boxes for being locally made and cruelty-free. Now is also the perfect time to empty out your make-up bag and clean your brushes thoroughly. So much bacteria lives on our makeup brushes and the longer you leave it on there, the harder it is to come off.
4. Your Pantry & Fridge
Same deal as your make-up draw and bag, take some time this season to get rid of any stale foods you’ve been hoarding in your pantry as well as any sauces and spreads lingering in your fridge - not to mention anything wrapped in tinfoil or glad-wrap that has seen better days. Ditto to anything in your freezer that is set with freezer burn or unidentifiable! It’s advised to clean your actual fridge shelves regularly, so now is the perfect time to get them all out and give them a thorough wash, removing all the little shrivelled bits of food and splatters of sauce (where do those come from!?). Decanter bulk food items so that you can clearly see how much of them you have in your pantry. Jars are a great way to do this and there are some great affordable options out there. I love these bamboo lids glass ones from Kmart that come in a wide range of sizes. When you have an organised fridge and pantry, you not only avoid buying too much food, but it is also easier for you to get creative in making home-cooked meals because everything is on display and easy to get to.
5. Your Technology
In today’s world, spring cleaning can also be virtual. Now is the perfect time to organise your files, remove any junk from your libraries, wipe clean your desktop and the biggest, most rewarding step - unsubscribe from any company mailing lists that are no longer relevant. This is definitely the biggest thing I have had to clean up this year. I had over 3,000 unread emails in my Gmail account because there were just too many newsletters and promos being sent to me. I also find Gmail's app very hard to delete emails. So they’ve just sat there, piling up. The thing is, I started missing emails and newsletters from companies, stores and fellow writers that I ACTUALLY wanted to read. So I set aside a couple of hours and unsubscribed from any site that I didn't feel excited about receiving an email from. We think that ignoring emails and leaving them there won’t cloud our minds, but I’m telling you they do!
Now is also a good time to uninstall any apps that you no longer use as well as putting a time limit on through your phone’s settings for those apps that suck up a lot of your time (here’s looking at you Tik Tok). Now is also a good time to delete any photos you don’t want (like me with my millionth selfie that will never see the light of day) and organise the ones you do! Syncing important photos onto Google Photos and going through some pretty amazing memories was so nostalgic and now I can easily look through my digital albums of curated, quality moments whenever I want.
6. Your Mindset
Cleaning up your life doesn’t just start and stop with your physical environment. As I said, this year has been tough and felt very disjointed for most. During lockdown, let alone winter, you may have developed some less than favourable habits such as sleeping in later than you used to, not working out as much you once did, drinking every night to wind down after the day - you get the point. And while each of these were necessary (and completely normal) coping mechanisms, now is a good time to re-evaluate whether you are harming yourself or putting yourself at a disservice by continuing these negative patterns.
But behaviours are not the only thing to examine and refresh. This year has been scary and oftentimes full of stress, so it is natural if we have also accumulated negative or toxic thoughts. There has been a lot of changes and a tonne of uncertainty for most of us, and living in that state for an extended period of time can have a big impact on our mental health and overall wellbeing. Our brain doesn’t like uncertainty and constant change, and it often combats that by putting up mental defences in the shape of limiting beliefs. Because to your brain, it is safer to live in your comfort zone and distrust what is going on, than it is to question some beliefs and choose more positive thoughts.
We can never progress in our lives, let alone this year, if we are holding onto thoughts that shape our beliefs into thinking there is no point. If this year has taken a huge toll on your mental health, then I urge you to seek the help you deserve. There are many organizations like Helpline which offer free and anonymous counselling. If you’re feeling like you’re in a bit of a funk or suffering from loneliness then try reaching out to friends and family. For a full list of mental health resources visit The Mental Health Foundation’s website.
I’ve found daily journaling is really helping me process my thoughts and feelings and turn within for guidance on how to solve problems - big and small. I’ve also been replenishing my good thoughts and healthy beliefs. Positive affirmations are like little seeds, and when we plant them in our minds and water them with our focus, they grow into healthy, vibrant thoughts that then positively influence our behaviours, actions and ultimately - our lives. It can be a little tricky thinking of nourishing affirmations, so sites like this are perfect to get you started. Simply choose 3-5 each day and write them out 5-10 times each.
A word on affirmations: If they sound corny, if they seem untrue, if you straight up get annoyed reading them, then these are the exact ones you need to be writing out the most. Your reactions are telling you what areas in your life your mind is feeling vulnerable about. Some general affirmations that I like to use whenever I need soothing are:
"Everything always works out for me"
"I am safe and secure"
"I am doing extremely well"
"I am divinely guided and protected"
"I can do this"
And that’s it! Six ways you can spring clean your life and hit refresh on 2020!
Amy Claire xx