33 Ways To Spring Clean Your Life

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33 Ways To Spring Clean Your Life

Words by Mr Rob Kemp

14 March 2023

Clutter comes in many guises, both literal and figurative. Too much junk in your home, too many emails in your inbox or too many toxic people in your circle can crowd your life with confusion, jeopardise your happiness and leave little space for enjoyment or personal development. There is an army of Ms Marie Kondo-type experts out there who can help purge your life of excess baggage. Some of them will even come to your home and do it for you. Use spring as an opportunity to sweep away the old disorder and start afresh with a new-found sense of accomplishment, resolve and opportunity.


Clear out your wardrobe

Your wardrobe is the classic place to start a spring clean, and for good reason. “You cannot arrange anything until it has been edited,” says Ms Nancy Lightfoot, co-founder of Ever So Organised. “Get everything out of the wardrobe and then start shedding stuff. Begin with duplicates and anything that’s worn out, uncomfortable or not practical. Keep the staples, but be ruthless with items that rarely see the light of day.”


Give your clothes room to breathe

Get into the habit of folding your clothes to create more wardrobe space and prolong the life of what you wear. According to the tidying expert Marie Kondo, folding and stacking clothes means you can fit 20 to 40 folded pieces where you would normally be able to hang 10.


Find out what hangs around

“Put all your clothes hangers facing the same direction,” says Mr James Wallman, author of Stuffocation: Living More With Less. “If you wear something, when you put it back in the wardrobe, hang it facing the other way.” At the end of a month, you’ll know how much of your wardrobe you use.


Bag it before binning it

“Throw everything you are unsure about in a bin bag,” Wallman says. “Take out anything as and when you need it. By the end of the month, you will know what you don’t use because it will still be in the bag.”


Identify what works for you

“Take a look at your work attire,” says Ms Susannah Kirby-Green, co-founder of Ever So Organised. “Does this match how often you are now going into the office? As a result of the pandemic, we are all holding onto items that no longer reflect our lifestyles. Doing this will then have an impact on your purchasing. Once you truly know what you have, it makes it much clearer to decide how to treat yourself.”


Send textiles for dry cleaning

Your wool trousers, waxed field jackets and tweed overcoats should be dry cleaned before being packed away until winter, says Ms Camille Myers Breeze, founder of Museum Textile Services. “It’s also a preventive measure against moth damage.” If it’s a bit too nippy to pack them away, invest in a clothes brush to knock dirt and food particles out of textile and wool fibres between wears.


Wipe your calls

Your mobile phone is 10 times dirtier that a toilet seat, a study reported in Time magazine has revealed. Wipe it with a microfibre cloth followed by a Lysol Disinfecting Wipe. Let the disinfectant work for a few minutes and allow it to air dry, then start looking at your computer mouse, TV remote and that toilet seat while you’re at it.


Learn to lüften

Opening the windows to freshen your home and your lungs is a national pastime in Germany. The recommended advanced version is Stoßlüften, or shock ventilation. According to research from Aachen University, you’ll give your home and your internal air bags a thorough airing if you open your windows completely for three minutes if it’s windy, and five to 10 minutes if it’s not. Your bedding can benefit from the fresh air treatment, too. “Airing duvets and pillows outside helps refresh the fabrics and removes musty smells without needing to book a service wash,” Kirby-Green says.

“Planning is a great way to clear out all those tasks downloaded from your mental to-do list and into order”


Give your shed a makeover

Start the garage or garden shed spring clean early. It could be an all-day or all-weekend job. Take everything out and sweep the place. Check for leaks or rotting wood that needs to be repaired, then put everything back in. Have the stuff you use most often – hose, bikes, lawnmower – closest to the door.


Organise your organisation space

Sheds and cupboards free up space elsewhere in the home, but shouldn’t be overlooked. Add metal shelving units with air-tight storage boxes for Christmas decorations and other rarely used items. Use shelving and even the dead space above your equipment storage system to keep lightweight items. Putting hooks on shed doors or exposed beams will make trowels, drills, hosepipes, forks, spades and brooms a lot easier to store and find. Hanging fabric wardrobe organisers can provide additional space within cupboards.


Go deep

Banging the dust out of a doormat is a traditional spring clean image – and one you should adopt. According to a study in the journal Science Of The Total Environment, 40 per cent of the contaminants inside your home are brought in from outdoors on shoes or paws. But don’t stop there. “Dust can gather in so many places in the house,” Lightfoot says. “Line the top of hard-to-reach places with newspaper or brown paper. This traps the dust and can then be removed and replaced. Use a tumble dryer sheet to run along surfaces after you’ve dusted with a damp cloth. The anti-static coasting of the dryer sheet will help surfaces stay dust free longer. This is particularly effective on skirting boards.”


Check the medicine chest

A decent scrub of the bath, shower heads, toilet and floor are a given when it comes to cleaning. Open your medicine cabinet and inspect it, too. Toss away any expired medicines or personal care products. Check the use by date on the suncream. Once opened, sun protection is effective for only six to 12 months.


Declutter that drawer

We all have one drawer into which random items of possible usefulness get tossed. Remove the drawer and tip the contents onto a spread-out newspaper. Vacuum the dust and crumbs out of the drawer. Bin any items you no longer need, re-home the ones that should be elsewhere, then replace everything, but this time grouped together tidily in repurposed small dishes, boxes or containers.


Deep cleanse your skin

If you don’t already, you need to add an exfoliator to your grooming routine. Using a face scrub removes dead skin cells, which reduces the risk of clogged pores and helps your moisturiser work more effectively. That’s your face sorted – now for your feet, check out these skin-saving tips.


Detox your diet

“Spring is a great time to incorporate more colourful, fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables into the diet,” says Ms Suzie Sawyer, a clinical nutritionist from feelaliveuk.com. You’ll give your gut a good cleanse in the process, thanks to the fresh fibre content. “Warmer-weather produce, such as purple sprouting broccoli, sweet peppers, courgettes, rocket and salad leaves, are all packed with micronutrients the body needs and thrives on.”


Clear the in-tray

“Re-organise your workload using the Covey Time Management Matrix,” says Dr Audrey Tang, a chartered psychologist. “Put your daily tasks into four quadrants: urgent, urgent but not important, important but not urgent, and not urgent and not important. Anything urgent, do. Anything important but not urgent, delay, but not too long because otherwise it moves to urgent. Anything urgent but not important, delegate. And anything not urgent and not important, delete.”

“If you want to spend more time with family and you want exercise more, stack the two by going for a walk together”


Do a two-minute blitz

Another way to clear the in-tray is to look at how many things you put off that can easily be done in two minutes. Follow the two-minute rule. If a task comes up and can be done in two minutes, just do it.


Empty your head

“Planning is a great way to clear out all those tasks downloaded from your mental to-do list and into order,” says Mr James Purnell, services manager at the Campaign Against Living Miserably. “It’ll free up some brain power to hit the ground running. Be realistic with your expectations. Break big tasks down into chunks and keep track by ticking off what you’ve achieved. A ‘done’ list can be just as motivating as a to-do list.”


Drop energy drainers

“People who are flaky or let you down too often are often those who just don’t value your time enough,” Tang says. “Ask yourself, ‘How does this friendship benefit me?’ Then reflect upon the people you can enjoy spending time with. It’s hard to dump emotional vampires, but filling your calendar with healthy people has the benefit of boosting your energy.”


Seal that relationship

“Rosalind Wiseman’s Seal approach can be of help in deciding whether a relationship needs a spring clearout,” Tang says. “Stop and strategise. What is the situation and how can you address it? Explain your side – first to yourself, then to the other person. Affirm your feelings, but listen to theirs. Ask what their outcome would be. Lock in or lock out. Choose whether you want to continue with the relationship or not. You can do this in your mind before you have the conversation, but be flexible in case the conversation reveals things you hadn’t considered.”


Be fresh for every meeting

“A useful habit to get into these days is a mental palate cleanse,” Tang says. “This is when you take a moment to leave one meeting mentally before heading into the next. Research has shown that people retain more information from the last meeting and are more engaged in the next if that break is clear. If you are walking from one meeting to another, take a route that gives you a bit of fresh air. Alternatively, go and drink a glass of water. If you can’t leave your desk, switch off your camera and mic and do some star jumps, or shake yourself out, or walk around your room while doing a quick stretch. You’ll be surprised how a simple change of position makes a difference.”


Stack healthy habits

“A great way to focus on hobbies or do things in your free time that truly benefit you is to stack healthy habits,” says Tang. “So, if you want to spend more time with family and you want exercise more, stack the two by going for a walk together.”


Think outside the box

“Taking the time to breathe deeply helps release negative thoughts from our mind and helps to clear it up,” says Mr Kadeem Alston-Roman, author, meditation expert and holistic wellness coach at KadeemOne.com. “One simple technique is an exercise called box breathing. All you do is inhale for four counts, hold your breath for four counts, exhale for four counts, then hold your breath again for four counts. Repeat this process a few times and experience the magic.”

“Write down the things that are stressing you out. Toss the paper in the bin and get on with your evening”


Do a daily brain dump

“Write down the things that are stressing you out,” says Mr Nick Wignall, a clinical psychologist. The goal is to list worries, not solve them. “Toss the paper in the bin and get on with your evening. Do this for two weeks around the same time each day. You’ll train the brain to worry only at a specific place and time. Do this and you’ll worry less overall and anxiety levels will drop.”


And a daily reset

“My spring mental and emotional cleaning recipe has four ingredients,” says Alston-Roman. “Breathing (see 23, above), changing your environment (just moving from one room to another), changing your posture (from one that is hunched over the desk or phone to one that is open and lifted) and changing your emotional state by doing something you enjoy. You will almost instantly change your life for the better.”


Spruce up your exercise routine

A change is as good as a rest, especially if your workouts have become boring and you’ve stopped seeing results. “The best way to reinvigorate your training is to shake up your sessions,” says Mr Joe Warner, fitness editor of NewBodyPlan.com. “Only ever lift weights? Try a week or two of cardio classes at the gym, or run or ride outside instead of pumping iron. You’ll improve your heart health and aerobic capacity and you may miss the weights so much you’ll be gagging to return to your old routine.”


Spring clean your gym bag…

You may be washing your moisture-wicking gym clothes on the delicate cycle and hanging them out to dry to prevent static, but when was the last time you gave your gym bag the same TLC? Empty it, air it, scrub and repack it with some new kit.


And your gym shoes

If your sneakers are in need of a little cleansing, Mr Eugene Tong, independent fashion consultant, streetwear aficionado and “recovering sneaker addict”, explains how to give your sneakers that box-fresh feel here.


Clear your memory

Upload all your photos and videos to storage (Flickr, Google Photos, whatever) and delete them from your phone. Set up albums to keep photos organised while boosting the memory and battery life of your smartphone.


Audit your apps

“Ditch the apps you don’t need and the newsletters you never read in your inbox,” says Ms Trine Syvertsen, author of Digital Detox. Put your most important apps on the home screen and organise them in priority: travel, social media, productivity.


Switch off in company

One day offline will recharge your batteries and help you live in the moment, rather than through the screen. “I saw a Norwegian news item about an all-men whisky club that had decided to ban phones during the tasting,” Syvertsen says. Agree a phone-free policy to refresh your social get-together.


Set limits

“Try ditching the screen at least an hour before bed and especially between the hours of 10.00pm and 4.00am,” says Mr Hector Hughes, co-founder of the digital detox break specialist Unplugged. “Exposure to bright light during these hours suppresses the release of dopamine, the chemical in the brain that gives you the motivation to achieve your goals.”


Lose the news

“Research suggests men are less distracted by social media than women, but relatively more distracted by online news and news push notifications,” Syvertsen says. “Disabling news feeds or avoiding constant news checking could be good advice to declutter.”