Spring Cleaning In Retirement

You may remember spring cleaning the way I do. Everything was scrubbed, scoured, dusted, cleaned and aired. Today spring cleaning isn't always done as extensively as it was when I was a child. I remember washing windows and blinds, searching out any cobwebs that formed during the winter, opening all the windows and letting fresh air in. I also remember cleaning everything – whether it was nailed down or not. Spring cleaning was a major undertaking, often requiring several days to complete.

I do my spring cleaning still. I search out cobwebs, bring in fresh air, and wash windows, curtains and the like. One thing I don't do today is put slipcovers on all the furniture. I don't know very many people who do that any more. But in a way, I miss it. I remember putting fitted slipcovers in light and bright colors on all the furniture for the warm weather months. It completely changed the look and feel of the rooms. It was a nice change. When the cleaning was done and the summer slipcovers were on the furniture the whole house felt fresh and clean and new.

Another part of spring cleaning was cleaning out things we no longer needed. When we were children, we collected the toys we had outgrown, clothes that no longer fit us, and anything else we no longer wanted or needed. I have been thinking about those days for the last few months. I recently cleaned out my garage in anticipation of spring cleaning. I was amazed by the amount of stuff I had collected. I was also surprised – and a bit nostalgic – about the things my children had stored in the house.

All this thought about spring cleaning, however, also makes me think about how important it is for all of us to engage in a little spring cleaning of the mind and heart and soul. I don't know if my mother consciously thought about other kinds of cleaning when she attacked the collected dirt of winter, but I find that my cleaning and scrubbing is a good time to think. I have been using spring cleaning as a time for reflection for a number of years now. I use that time for reflection to try to do a little spring cleaning of mind, heart and soul.

What I mean is this. We gather, and often nurture, feelings and thoughts that clutter our minds and souls, making them dingy. I love using that house cleaning time to think about and deal with things that I need to free myself of in order to be happier. We often don't realize that deep in our minds and hearts we still carry, and even nurture, old anger or resentment. We often don't realize that we are carrying guilt and frustration and various kinds of hurt. I think spring cleaning is the perfect opportunity to think about and free ourselves of these kinds of thoughts and feelings.

As you do your spring cleaning this year, I would challenge you to do a little spring cleaning of your heart, mind and soul and enjoy a fresh breeze invigorating your happiness. While you are scrubbing, think of old resentments, anger and guilt. And focus your mind on dealing with them and removing the clutter they have created. While you search for cobwebs, search out your frustrations and your fears. By the time you finish your housecleaning, you can also create an unfettered and uncluttered mind and soul that is ready to embrace the promise of a brighter and lighter season.

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