From Dreaded Chore to Refreshing Ritual: How to Reinvent Spring Cleaning


Have you noticed the gradual change in daylight hours yet?

Some parts of the country may still be snowbound, but the anticipation of warmer days ahead begins to draw us out of our cozy cocoons. Yet with more light, we can’t help but notice the telltale signs of winter: the corner cobwebs, the dust bunnies under the bed, the heavier decor. If you’re like me, by now you’ve begun to yearn for ways to eliminate winter’s clutter and refresh your home.

Traditionally, spring-cleaning involved scouring the house from top to bottom. Our grandmothers rolled up their sleeves, grabbed a scrub brush and bucket and went to work. Comforters were packed away, windows washed until the glass gleamed, rugs beaten and aired out in the sun. That sounds like a lot of trouble to me.

I’ve invented a positive way to make this seasonal transition more play and less work.

Here’s my simple solution: at the beginning of each new season, I set aside a day to welcome it and reconnect with my home. Somehow this ritual alone feels much more like a luxury than a chore.

The day usually starts with a pot of freshly brewed green tea poured into my special oversized "weekend" cup. Sometimes I light a candle to honor this ritual and my intention of renewal. This approach isn’t as much about cleaning as rediscovery. I view my living space with the new eyes of a guest, looking for quick changes and easy fixes. If you do this, you’ll find that there are no rules – only possibilities.

The tea and a beautiful notebook to jot down ideas accompany me. I move slowly and often pause for reflectionduring my room-by-room tour and notice items that need to be put away, replaced with lighter weights and brighter colors or donated. I poke into drawers, closets, and chests to remind myself of linens, textiles or collectibles that have been stashed for this moment. Each time I rediscover something from my travels, like a cherished antique coverlet I bought in a market in India or a family hand-me-down, I let the memories flow and enjoy those moments all over again.

This is my way, but you can choose your own way to make this a nurturing experience. The whole idea is to seize the uplifting opportunity that even one small seasonal design element holds.

Image (CC): nicephore