I have a confession. I’m one of those maniacally organized people who, in spite of a demanding job and two little ones, cannot sleep when the house hasn’t been returned to order. My house is organized. There. I admit it. My containers match, I fastidiously use a label maker and you know what, I love a good surface wipe. But, even though my house is pretty organized most of the time, I still get that urge to turn the place upside down and go all Container Store on it every April. Why?! Trust me, I do not need another single thing to do. And, every year when I’m knee deep in a pile of stuff while both of my kids nap (I know what’s WRONG with me) I think – WHY?! Why do I feel compelled, driven even, to participate in full blown spring cleaning whenever the tulips pop?
Turns out there are strong cultural roots pulling us towards trashing our homes only to immediately set them right again when the sun starts shining. This practice is shared around the world, supported by biology and part of deep rooted American traditions. In the Jewish faith the house is rigorously cleaned in anticipation of Passover and Christian faiths suggest various cleaning rituals starting on lent and throughout the days leading up to Easter. Iranian New Year, Nowruz, falls on the first day of spring and dictates a thorough house cleaning too. For the agnostic among us, longer, sunnier days mean less melatonin fogging our brains, and less melatonin means more available energy. And for the history buffs, during the long winter frontier families’ homes would become covered with soot from the fires used for cooking and heat.
When the weather was finally warm enough to open the windows these homes got a through scrub down to remove that soot layer.
Now that I’m convinced spring cleaning isn’t just me killing time I don’t have, I’m going to break down how you can make it happen this spring in spite of all of the other things demanding your time and attention (because you know you want to…).
Set Your Goals
Pick one or two priority areas that need your attention the most and define your goals for the space. For example, if you chose your entryway, your goal might be getting out the door in the morning faster. If you’ve chosen your kids toy room, maybe your goal is to bring older toys to light again. By defining your goal you will automatically align your actions with your desired end result.
Out, Sort, Distribute – Repeat
Pull everything out of the space you’ve chosen and set it out so you can see as much of it as possible. Sort your belongings into 3 piles, Keep, Donate, Lives Elsewhere. Organize the Keep pile in a way that supports your goal. Ferry the Lives Elsewhere stuff to its rightful home and drop those donations off early in the season so those who need them most can take advantage of your generosity.
Keep It Simple
If you have a bunch of time on your hands, sure, go full on Marie Kondo, but if you have limited time and competing priorities what sparks joy for you might be getting that one cabinet in order so you don’t have sippy cups raining down upon you every time you open it. And you know what? That totally counts. Keep it simple and do what works for you.
Our team of expert, skilled and savvy GYST Assistants had a few things to say on the topic too. GYST Assistants are excellent spring cleaning partners and even better than doing it yourself is delegating to an expert. GYST Assistants will help you set up organizational systems that are efficient, effective and easy to maintain and Bell Family Company families enjoy exclusive access to GYST Assistants on a project basis. Give us a call at (917) 912-9206 or say firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more. Our goal is to set our clients free to focus on what matters most.
GYST sources, selects, educates and retains top personal and executive assistants and offers clients a flexible, high level assistant experience in a program optimized for long term success. Learn more at www.gystplease.com.
A special thanks to Brooke Stone, Founder and CEO of GYST, who shared her exploration of spring cleaning, organization tips and advice from GYST Assistants.