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How to make spring cleaning a personal spa day

For most people, spring cleaning takes less than a day but can mean so much more than a tidy home. Think about it. Far from being a day of drudgery, spring cleaning is a time to clean up, dust off and clear out - to make a break with the past that's every bit as real as New Year's Eve. 

Psychology Today magazine published a number of articles under an umbrella theme: Cleaning up junk can help clear your mind, and the results will be healthy for you and your home.

Begin with surveillance
Look around. Exactly what is all that clutter telling you? Human beings hang onto things for several reasons, and laziness is generally not one of them. For example, it doesn't take a therapist to see that refusing to let go of clothes that haven't fit for years and aren't likely to be in style if they ever do again
 isn't about frugality - it's about fear. We like to live in our comfort zones, even when it hurts to do so.

Psychology Today quoted Ranka Burzan, professional organizer, speaker and author, on the reasons why we avoid cleaning out clutter.

"We always relate to routine and familiar circumstances even if they work against us. That is one reason that people stay in abusive relationships, low paying jobs and cluttered homes, because it's predictable and we become experts in dealing with unpleasant situations."

Hunker down and clean up
Real Simple magazine, on the other hand, focused on the joy we experience from cleaning up - and the insights
it gathered in a survey of its Facebook fans. One such fan was Michelle Jesperson, and for her, cleaning comes with euphoria.

"My satisfaction is mostly gleaned from having a clean home with things organized and put away," said Jesperson.

Does that satisfaction extend to other areas of life? Of course, Marla Deibler, Psy.D., director of the Center for Emotional Health of Greater Philadelphia, pointed out, and it leads to an ability to take on projects in other areas of our lives.

"When we set out to accomplish a goal like cleaning the fridge, we gain confidence that we can succeed," she told Real Simple. 

So here's the plan. After you set aside all the recyclables and clean everything in sight, stop to admire your handiwork. Touch up any little paint chips or imperfections and maybe add some saucy new additions like switch plates or plug covers to signal a final break from the cluttered past.

Now that your tasks are complete and your mind is calm, finish with fresh flowers and candles in a relaxing bath - you deserve it.

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