Spring-ish Cleaning

Do you do spring cleaning? I’ve never been one to do it. Maybe it’s because in Hawai’i, I don’t recognize the newness of spring or any season for that matter. To me, sunshine and mild temperatures almost daily make it hard to differentiate between the seasons. So why is Spring so special and why does a big cleaning have to occur then? Maybe I’ll never understand it.

This week, my husband took a little vacation from work and we decided to do some purging of “stuff” in our house. I don’t consider myself a hoarder, but I do get lazy sometimes and “stuff” piles up. Don’t mistake me…I keep my kids and their clothes clean, take out the trash regularly and keep a pretty clean kitchen. But clean laundry piles up, kids toys get messy and the snail mail can get backed up from time to time. It happens. Sometimes it gets so overwhelming to clean it up, I don’t even know where to start. But this week, we said we were gonna tackle the piles in a big way. So we started with the kids’ room.

Ever since we started having kids, we have been gifted with so many toys, clothing, school supplies, books and everything else kid-related. Some clothes still with tags attached. We have surely been blessed. It takes a lot for me to even start to dig into my kids’ room because so many things have sentimental value to me as a mom. I get upset with my daughters when they leave their things in a mess or I find clean and dirty clothes mixed together on the floor. I feel defeated, like why do I even try. I often ask my self why we have so much “stuff”. I often feel cursed to have acquired so many things that cause me grief on a daily basis.

The black garbage bag is the universal signal in our house that a serious purge is about to happen. So we asked our girls to grab a bunch of black bags and head to their bedroom. We systematically went through bins, baskets, piles, drawers and every other nook and cranny we could get to. We found everything from greeting cards from my first baby showers, old Christmas cards, DVDs(Um, we don’t even watch DVDs anymore), clothes that not even my youngest fits anymore, old art projects, broken hangers. I could go on and on. I felt myself getting frustrated that we had let this go this far. On the first day, we removed 4 black bags of broken or missing part toys, clothes to donate, and trash. Yes it’s embarrassing to admit that we had that much stuff in there. Everytime I walk into my kids’ room, I would feel so overwhelmed. I would try my best to get out of there as quickly as possible, mostly so I don’t trip on something and break my neck. Joking aside, I was avoiding the big purge and cleaning because I was upset with myself. All I felt towards that room was resentment and overwhelm.

Do you know what made the difference for me this time? I acknowledged that we accumulated a ton of stuff and I expressed pure gratitude to all the people who blessed us with the stuff and for the stuff itself. Years ago, I learned about the KonMari method of cleaning and used it on my own belongings but never on my kids’. I can tell you that the act of gratitude for all belongings made it so much easier to let go of them. I know that it will take time to clear the room and get it into a suitable condition again.  As we slowly clear away the clutter, I’m seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m hopeful that their room will be somewhere they can relax, recharge, and find peace. I am already feeling better about the process. I’m determined to finish this job that we started. I am also teaching my kids to express gratitude for everything they have.

It also dawned on me that it is June 4th. Is it spring or summer? I guess summer doesn’t officially start for a couple more weeks. So hooray for our spring-ish cleaning adventures!!!!

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