Spring Cleaning: The importance of decluttering your life


Amani Vaswani

Brandon Carido (12) sifts through old clothes to clean out his closet. He even stumbles across shirts of his from preschool!

Each year, as the remnants of snow defrost and the chilly winds, turn into a pleasant breeze, people reflect this change in the seasons with what is commonly known as spring cleaning. Although not assigned a specific date, spring cleaning is an informal tradition all over the world and a perfect checkpoint in between winter and summer.

Due to the various stacks of papers from first semester or holiday presents scattered around your room from the past season, spring cleaning is commonly associated with physical and external cleaning. That being said, I feel this time also displays an opportunity for a mental detox, as well.

Students like Sean Oehrlein(12) describe how he takes this time as an opportunity to assess their mental space and overall health.

“I look at myself and I’m like ‘Wait a minute. Am I happy where I’m at?’” And if I’m not, I figure out if it’s my grades, my workout routine, or something like that and then I start trying to see how to reset,” Oehrlein said.

A thorough look at where you are mentally like this can be beneficial in noting what you need to do, however, it can be easier said than done. I know, at least for me, looking in the mirror can work counterintuitively and create anxiety, which is not what we are aiming to do. Sometimes, letting things out verbally to someone else can help instead. 

Personally, I am a very verbal person who veers to expressing myself through long-winded stories riddled with run-on sentences, much like this one. This idea really resonated with Jianna Raven Buque (12).

Buque emphasized how wonderful a hearty rant can be for cleansing your mind. Sometimes she even finds herself yelling out her emotions at her math homework, but she reiterates that it works for her and that you have to go with what you think feels right.

“Letting things out to my friends helps me feel all my emotions, which is important. You have to tell yourself that if something gets thrown at you, and you’re upset by it, it’s completely valid,” Buque said.

On the other hand, Sammie Reinstein (12) prefers to keep more to herself and write out her thoughts and feelings in a journal, which she recommends people do if they have troubles with telling other people what is going on in their minds.

“I started journaling everyday about what was happening during the pandemic, which helped me cope as well as feel like I had accomplished something, rather than just sit around all day,” Reinstein said. 

While I have said I am a vocal person, journals are a great way to keep track of all of your thoughts over time, which can be really beneficial when trying to track your progress in mental health or other challenges. Plus, I love being able to add different stickers and colors to the page, so it is a great approach for the more artistically inclined!

A lot of this may feel like mindless tasks to many, but there are practices and logic behind the methods of mental decluttering. Ms. Lauren Sullivan, a Mind and Body Fitness teacher, explained how she teaches her students the true importance and effects of mental care.

She explained that a topic they focus on is Saucha, which is a sanskrit term for purifying; she teaches her students about yoga poses, positive affirmations, and meditations which can help in purifying their minds. She really emphasizes the idea that progress cannot be made until you declutter your mind.

“Personally, I love walks and yoga, but you have to find what you enjoy and what helps you…It is important to start slow and build it up to something you can implement into a daily routine,” Ms. Sullivan said.

There is no simple formula for how to declutter your mind, but taking time to delve deep into what things create that warm spark of joy in your heart is the best way to get on the path to a better mental space.

Now, I know I said that spring cleaning is a great chance to work on yourself internally, however physical and external cleaning can actually be a great help to this. Surrounding one’s self with things that “spark joy”, as Marie Kondo would say, really helps to internalize those happy vibes. On top of that, we have had to spend all our time in our homes due to the pandemic, so having a refreshing space is important now more than ever.

So, go start chipping away at the pile of clothes on your floor or throwing away the science papers you’ve had at the bottom of your closet from freshman year. Perhaps, even add something new to your space which helps you spark joy.

My point is that people, and especially their minds, are different in complex ways, so put in the time to find what works for you and run with it, no matter how obscure it may seem.

This spring season, look at spring cleaning as an instrument for you to relieve and refresh your mind as well as develop healthy habits to continue to uplift you this year.