Spring Cleaning the Mind and Body
May 18, 2017
Spring has sprung – tis' the season to start fresh!
After a cold, dormant winter, nature has entered a new cycle – a rebirth, if you will – with flowers vibrant and the sun shining. As nature wakes from its winter sleep, we too can join in on the metaphor of 'waking up' and harvest new intentions. Spring is the perfect time to get rid of anything that no longer serves us and make room for things that truly matter, like new ideas, intentions and perspectives. And when it comes to the ritual of spring cleansing, we're not just talking about re-organizing our closets and junk drawers – we're talking about decluttering our minds and rebooting our bodies.1
In search of new techniques to jumpstart our physical and internal renovation, we decided to start with Marie Kondo's book, "Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up." Among the many inspirational practices in the text, including how to fold clothes like origami and pack drawers like a bento box, one of Kondo’s methods really stuck with us: When deciding what to keep or discard, simply ask yourself, "Does it spark joy?"
When something 'sparks joy,' it brings a smile to our face or a warm feeling in our body, quickly indicating that it generates happiness. If we hesitate or try to rationalize the presence of something that doesn’t carry that spark, it's a clear sign that it's time to part ways – thank it for the good it once provided, and add it to the 'donate' or ‘recycle’ pile. We can spend a lot of time ruminating on whether we need to hold onto something and think, "Maybe I'll use it one day?" But let's be honest, keeping a few things we love is better than holding onto a whole bunch of things we kind of like. 2
The same principal of 'sparking joy' can be applied to all areas of our life. It's important to take inventory and note what brings us pleasure every day, which passions inspire us, which activities we love, and which relationships help us evolve. To invite change, we can use this space as a way of visualizing our ideal life and identifying ways to eliminate things that don’t cultivate contentment, thereby opening doors to things that do. 3
According to a study conducted by the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, the more clutter that surrounds us, the more easily we find ourselves distracted. 4 Therefore, a clearer space really does provide a clearer mind, and our environment can have a major effect on productivity, motivation and creativity. Reorganizing, both physically and psychically, helps us realize that our needs are ever evolving, and that in order to keep the cycle in motion, we need to consciously clean up our environment and life.
To read more of Marie Kondo's advice on organizing and tidying, you can pick up a copy of her book here.
“The important thing in tidying is not deciding what to discard but rather what you want to keep in your life. It is my hope that the magic of tidying will help you create a bright and joyful future.” ― Marie Kondo