Spring is here. Well, it’s almost here. And traditionally this is the time of year we indulge in a deep cleaning. There are conflicting histories as to where the tradition originated.
Some say it comes from the Persian tradition of khaneh tekani. The literal translation is “shaking the house.” They believed that sweeping dust and removing clutter would prevent ill fortune from falling on the house.
Others say it comes from the Judeo-Christian tradition of Passover. When the Israelites were fleeing Egypt, they were in such a hurry they had to eat unleavened bread. As part of the Passover, the Torah requires that no trace of leaven be present. Which resulted in a deep cleaning of the home.
And yet others state the tradition originated in the 19th century. Prior to vacuum cleaners, March was the first month that was typically warm enough to open the windows and get the dust and dirt out.
No matter the origins, we all engage in a type of spring cleaning. I find that with the coming summer and hot weather, I want to get my house in order before the long afternoons of playing in the sun. I also love the idea of cleaning out the winter germs and dust. I am not a fan of the cold weather, and don’t like how closed up our houses are during these months. I find a good airing out of my house is a great way to start the warmer weather.
This year my spring cleaning has taken an interesting turn. Over the past year, I have been on a mission to own less. I find the less I have the easier it is to clean, and more organized my home stays. The longer days and warmer temperatures have been ideal for closet cleaning, getting rid of the things I haven’t used, and the things that don’t bring me joy.
As a culture, we tend to believe the more we own the better. I am of another mind. I think owning quality pieces that we will use for a long time is a much healthier approach. The less I own, the more free I feel and the less I want. The idea of cluttering up space with things makes me sad. We need room for air to move, for energy to find its way through a room. And most importantly, we need room for the ones we love.
This month started off with a deep closet clean, a bathroom reorganization, and the creation of an art closet. I am hoping to end the month with a completed patio. These projects are making me happy, helping me to build a new home for my daughter and me. But most importantly, they are clearing away the cobwebs, the pieces of the past I desperately held on to. Part of the healing process is letting go of things. Make March the month you clear away the past and start fresh.
A fresh start in a clean home is exactly what we all need.
Sara Orellana lives in Oklahoma City and writes a weekly column for The Lawton Constitution.