The Urge to Spring-Clean Comes in February

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Here in the mountains of North Carolina, we’re experiencing a lovely warm spell.  This usually happens at least once each winter, and every time it does, I have mixed emotions.  The poor daffodils get duped into popping their precious heads up, thinking it’s “show time,” when they will likely get clobbered by a late winter or early spring freeze.  Ah, the realities of mountain weather!

While I have empathy for the daffodils and other spring flowers, I also feel invigorated by the warm snap.  In fact, the whole Starks clan has been enjoying the outdoors and doing springtime preparations.  More specifically, my husband, Greg and daughter, Rowan have been prepping the garden beds, while Piper (our Golden Retriever) tries very hard not to dig in them.  Meanwhile, Nala (the cat) and I have staked our claim on indoor spring rituals.  Opening windows to let in fresh air – despite a still-present February chill – is one of my favorite parts of spring.

My enthusiasm for spring is not as innocent or simple as enjoying a cool breeze flowing through the house.  While the house airs out, I get inspired to purge.  Every kitchen drawer I open has me pausing to consider whether I should get a bag and start eliminating excess and non-essentials.  Likewise, I see the “donate” pile in the closet growing, and I ultimately succumb to fetching a box to get the donations organized and out of the house.

If you haven’t noticed, decluttering is an ongoing process.  People take different approaches, but the end-result is the same.  You may choose to declutter your home all in one massive go.  This approach could take days or weeks or months, but you focus until the entire job is done.  The other route is slow and steady, a continuous effort to simplify your space as an ongoing lifestyle choice.

Whichever initial method you choose, the result is the same: Decluttering is never a “one and done” exercise.  We get busy or stop paying attention and somehow stuff starts to creep back into our homes, seemingly when we aren’t looking.  Maintaining a simpler, more minimal existence requires ongoing diligence.

For me, spring cleaning is a perfect time to concentrate on maintaining a more minimalist lifestyle.   I sometimes get lazy during the winter months when it comes to the meticulous curating of my belongings.  But come springtime, I notice “invasive species” and I devise a plan.  It may be the crisp air that arrives in spring and fall.  Both seasons are my seasons for simplifying.

The key driver for me in this process is having a plan.  You may approach this purging randomly, whenever the mood strikes you, but I don’t operate that way.  As this warm week has progressed, I’ve identified two major projects – gathering donations to load into the car and going through some former hobby storage bins in the closet.  I have previously completed a few rounds of clearing out “aspirational stuff” – that stuff we keep because we WANT to be that person again someday.  In the initial rounds, I tackled the easier clutter, but I’m thinking of parting with some additional treasures.

Living simply is a lifestyle, not a one-and-done.  We are all on a journey, and everyone’s journey is likely different.  If February has you poking your head out and choosing to burrow in for another six weeks of winter, more power to you.  But for me, I’m going to get my gloves on and get to some serious spring cleaning!

Do you get inspired to clean and declutter in the springtime?  Maybe we should start a club!  Share your best ideas for clearing out clutter this month.

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