Spring has almost sprung and spring cleaning looms. Don’t stress. Learn more about the origins of the age-old tradition and use some of our favourite tips to find the perfect spring scent.
What are the origins of spring cleaning?
Is spring cleaning an annual guilt trip? Or is it a biological reaction to the change in seasons? Experts are inclined to the latter. During the winter, people are exposed to less sunlight so our pineal gland produces more melatonin to compensate. Melatonin also makes us sleepier. As the days get longer and the weather warms, most of us feel a burst of energy, which springs us into action quite literally. Simply, we may be more likely to accept a little mess in the winter when we are already tired, but the sun spurs us to start tidying up.
Plus, spring cleaning isn’t a new tradition.
There are also many cultural examples of spring cleaning. In Iran, Nowruz (Persian New Year) typically coincides with spring equinox. Two weeks before Nowruz, there is the tradition of khane tekani, which translates to ‘shaking down the house.’ As the name suggests, it requires a very thorough cleaning in order to renew the home. Once the house has been cleaned and sorted, fresh flowers are brought in to help welcome the new year.
A similar ideology can be found with Lunar New Year, where the home is thoroughly cleaned in preparation to bring good fortune. After the house is cleaned, you cannot sweep for a few days so as to not brush away any good fortunes that may have been brought with the new year.
Likewise, during Passover, Jewish people remove any leavened bread from their homes, which often requires a good clean to make sure every last crumb is gone.
Of course, the origin of spring cleaning might be far more practical than any tradition or religion. Homes were once lit with whale oil or keroscene, and warmed by burning wood or coal. After the winter months, there would be a layer or soot and grime in every room. Barbara Clark Smith, curator at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, points out that you can’t effectively clean in winter, whereas warmer weather provided the opportunity to really clean.
So while most of us aren’t burning coal anymore, the habit seems to have stuck.
It may sound like a no-brainer, but the first step of your spring-cleaning process should always be a list. Spring cleaning can feel like a massive overhaul that is often pitched as a fresh start, but it can also be overwhelming. A list is a great way to prioritize your tasks, and to break them down into simple, smaller tasks to feel like you are making some actual progress packing away your winter closet.
We find it more satisfying to start by sorting our closets and drawers. Go through your clothes, makeup, or even the dreaded ‘junk drawer,’ and donate or toss items you don’t need and don’t use anymore. Not only will you create more space, but it also gives you a great opportunity to implement a new organizational system.
Keep in mind that functional doesn’t need to be boring. Treat yourself to some new storage containers and baskets to change up your space. Try a recycled carrier basket created by skilled artisans to hold your towels or blankets. Or purchase a stunning marble dish to display your rings or hold your trinkets.
Once you’ve tackled your storage, you can move onto the nitty gritty tasks like laundry, cleaning shelves, windows, curtains, and more. Just don’t forget to put on a great podcast or your favourite playlist as you bust out the rubber gloves and rags.
Choose clean products
One of the worst parts of cleaning is the chemical scent left behind by most cleaning products. While effective, they can leave you with a headache and can be a serious impediment to your cleaning progress by requiring you to take multiple breaks. Instead, choose an eco-friendly cleaner made with natural ingredients. Or use a classic mix of water and vinegar to tackle your blinds and sinks.
You can also tackle any unpleasant chemical smells after the fact with a fragrant room spray. Or cut down on your cleaning workload by using linen water. Linen water is great for gently scenting your linens and clothing for an instant refresh without another trip to the laundry room.
Choose your scents
If spring cleaning is a natural biological response then it makes sense for your fragrance choices to follow the same logic. Even with snow on the ground, we can imagine spring on the horizon and sunnier days by implementing natural and floral scents in our homes. Our new tuberose collection is an earthy and heady white floral – perfect to help you dream of warmer weather.
As we know, fragrances are also extremely personal and can be tied closely to our memories. What better way remind you of your favourite lush trail you walk with your dog or spending all afternoon gardening then with a rose candle or a forest scent? Imagine a summer night sitting around a campfire making smores or sharing a bottle of wine with a warm incensamente or sandalwood fragrance.
Take your influence from Nowruz and Lunar New Year and begin your year as you mean to go on. Give your home a deep scrub, and then spend the next day relaxing. Balance is key. Wait for spring to blossom with a smile on your face, and your winter coat tucked far away in your closet.
What does your spring cleaning process look like? Let us know your tips and tricks for creating a fresh start for spring.