According to the Cambridge Dictionary, spring cleaning is defined as an occasion when you clean out all of a place, especially your house, very well, including parts you do not often clean. “In fact, spring cleaning is often done as a method to decrease stress. Psychology Today states that too much clutter can “increase stress by distracting us and overwhelming our senses with extraneous stimuli.”
Spring cleaning is important because it allows people to destress their lives by cleaning up the clutter. Dignity Health says that spring cleaning also improves health, increases productivity and lightens one’s mood by getting rid of the dust and unnecessary items that have been collected over time.
With these benefits in mind, here is a list of ways in which Willamette students can clean their spaces in an effective and productive manner. According to Fresh U, Carrington College and the Huffington Post, there are a few ways to approach this seemingly monstrous task:
1. Take Care of Old Paperwork
This seems the most self-explanatory, as getting rid of old paperwork is a sure fire way to get a head start on decluttering and de-stressing your life. Old papers and homework assignments can be kept for finals, neatly filed away in folders or recycled to help the environment.
2. Organize Your Wardrobe
Another way to clear out the old and discarded items in your life is to go through your wardrobe. Yes, this means going through all of your drawers and in your closet and taking the time to rearrange and reexamine the clothes you own.
By going through your closet in a meticulous manner, you might find old articles of clothing sitting in the back of your closet that you no longer wear. If that happens, take a moment to decide if you still want to keep it in your life. If so, neatly put it away, and if not, start a donation pile!
You can donate these items to places like the Willamette Humane Society Thrift Store or Value Village. For items you decide to keep, you can organize them, and then store them away neatly in your closet or storage spaces.
3. Clean Your Room
This is the big one, and it seems difficult but it is possible to get done. Start simple. Throw away old receipts, scraps of paper, used Goudy containers and then take out your trash. Although it is a small step, you will be that much closer to having a clean room. You can also vacuum your room, either with your own vacuum or with one supplied by the University. Additionally, you can make your bed and tidy up your countertops and desks for a cleaner space.
4. Practice Self-Care
One of most important things you can do when you spring clean is to take care of yourself. This can be done by simply opening your blinds and windows for some fresh air and sunshine. If it’s a rainy day, sit on your bed and listen to music, or invite some friends over and watch a good movie. Or, if you’re tired from all that cleaning, take a nap. Rest is an important part of maintaining good mental health. Lastly, if you have free time, you can get a head start on homework so that you’ll be less stressed later. If you just want to sit, that’s okay too.
Some Willamette students have applied these tips to their lives. One student, Lauren Alexander (‘20), described her spring cleaning habits and methods of success:
“I try to do a big chunk of cleaning at least twice a semester just to refresh and re-make the space I’m in anew,” Alexander said. She also shared some of the ways she keeps herself entertained while cleaning, such as listening to podcasts
Through her successes, Alexander has also learned from her mistakes. She recommends rinsing out your dishes after using them so that they don’t get gross if you decide to wait a few days to clean them.
“Take it one thing at a time,” Alexander said. “Try one area every time you have free time. Like the closet as one area, the desk as another, the fridge as another, and your bookshelf/shelving as another. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to clean everything at once.”
By doing all or some of these things, you will be on a better path to starting spring off right. With a cleaner room and a healthier mindset, there’s no telling what you’ll be able to accomplish by the time spring semester ends.
Caption: A depiction of a typical messy dorm room. Cleaning your room has many health benefits, including reducing stress and lifting your mood.
Credit: Ally Fisher