By AMY WAGENKNECHT
It’s that time of year that gives us the warmth of sunshine on our skin, the sound of birds chirping and singing their songs, the sight of flowers blooming in all their beauty, the feeling of fresh air coming through open windows and the smell of nature and new beginnings.
It’s also that time of year for spring cleaning. This task can seem overwhelming and you may feel like going back into your hole like Punxsutawney Phil. Don’t do it! Cleaning up your environment can have massive effects to your mental health and wellness.
When you have a clutter-free environment, you will be able to think more clearly and be more productive. You won’t waste valuable time looking for something because you will know exactly where to find it.
Everything will have a home.
Take a look and pay close attention to everything around you, both at home and at work. When you look around, what do you see ? How do the things around you make you feel? Does your environment create a sense of calm or chaos? Is your space inviting or cluttered? Do the things around you have a purpose or are they useless? Open your eyes and really assess what message the things around you are sending.
Everything in your environment is sending either a positive or negative message. If it brings good vibes, keep it. If it doesn’t, it’s time to refresh!
Remember, you don’t have to detox your whole house in one day or one week. Take baby steps. First, pick an area – bedroom, closet, bathroom, kitchen, car. If that still seems daunting, start smaller. Instead of the whole bathroom, choose one drawer each day. Before you know it, the entire bathroom will be fresh and clean. These small changes lead to big results!
When I cleaned out my bathroom, I was shocked to see all the useless stuff I had collected. I had a set of hot rollers from high school (goodness gracious!), a bunch of sample-size shampoos from various vacations, hair products I didn’t use, nasty old makeup, and old ratty towels. Eww! All that had to go!
Now, when I open a bathroom cabinet or drawer, it’s filled with only the things I use, have a purpose and towels that are fluffy and fresh.
Environmental detox is not only about eliminating the stuff that doesn’t bring you joy. It’s also about upgrading your environment. Look around your space and see what you can improve. Could you use a fresh coat of paint in the kitchen? Do you need to fix the broken door or the dripping sink? Do you need new planters for the porch? This doesn’t have to be expensive.
Of course, this could be a new kitchen table, but it could also be as simple as a vase of fresh flowers when you walk in the door. Instead of a new couch, could you add new, bright, colorful pillows?
For example, in our house, the wall going upstairs was as plain-Jane as could be. White paint. No pictures. It looked so blah. When I was creating my vision board for the year, I saw a picture of a wall displaying different shapes and sizes of frames filled with family photos and beautiful artwork. I knew right away I needed to upgrade this wall. Instead of going to the store and spending hundreds of dollars on new frames and artwork, I decided to do a scavenger hunt around my house. Boy, did I find a ton of hidden treasures!
I found frames sitting around on desk shelves that were never seen, vibrant artwork my kids created, pictures of fun-filled family vacations, a sweet photo of our beloved cat that had passed away, and a cross-stitch my grandma once had hanging on her wall. I went to work with a hammer, nails, and some Command strips and now I have a wall that makes me teary-eyed looking at it. It reminds me of all that I hold dear to my heart.
Make your home a reflection of who you are and what truly matters to you.
When you start to detox your environment, your quality of life will improve.
Physical clutter creates mental clutter so start by assessing your environment. If you want to boost your mood, surround yourself with things you love. Taking the time to clean up your environment will lead you to a healthier lifestyle. It’s time for a fresh start!
This week, become aware of the things around you and the messages they are sending. Remember, you can start small. This can be cleaning out the cabinet stuffed with board games, getting rid of old magazines, going through the stack of mail and papers on your desk, or donating books you already read or have been sitting there collecting dust.
Whatever it is, clean it up! You will feel refreshed and rejuvenated! Isn’t that what Spring is all about?
Amy Wagenknecht is a teacher in the Waterloo School District and a life coach specializing in helping women live bigger, braver lives. For more information and to find out about her monthly events, visit her website at amywagenknecht.com or contact by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.