There are many reasons why spring is one of my favourite seasons, and it’s not just the amazing weather in the Middle East. By the time spring rolls around, all the overindulgence and slowness of the holiday slump is over. The sun is out and I feel refreshed, energised, and motivated to dive into one of my favourite personal rituals – spring cleaning. Something that, right now, you might find yourself with more time than usual to be able to accomplish.
While this usually refers to an overhaul of living space, I like to look at it as an overarching theme that I can apply to every aspect of my life. From cleaning out my closet to reassessing what I put into my body, the following is a rough outline of everything I do to spring clean...
My Closet: I will probably preach the ‘less is more’ ethos forever, as embracing this philosophy made one of the biggest differences to my life, especially once I started travelling so much for work. Gone are the days when I would waste time and energy wondering what to wear. After several years of putting it into practice, my closet is full of classic, quality items I can put together into workable, standout looks. Every spring, I reinforce this by going through everything, one item at a time (quick tip: you can always go through 15 pieces at a time to keep this from getting too overwhelming) to make sure everything is still in good condition, that I wear everything and that it fits well. One question I like to ask is: ‘Would I feel ok about running into a colleague while wearing this?’ If the answer is no, then out it goes.
My Beauty Products: It’s easy for make-up and skincare to accumulate with so many exciting new launches, but instilling the rule that I’m not allowed to start a new product until I’ve used up the previous one was monumental in keeping my beauty clutter down. However, once a year, I still like to go through my beauty supplies and toss anything that no longer serves me. The first thing I do is check expiration dates, as that’s an easy way to cut down. After that, I prioritise by placing everything I use daily into one make-up bag and everything that I use a little less often into a second bag. Anything that doesn’t fit into either of those bags has to go.
My Diet: The word ‘diet’ can be misleading. It’s so easily associated with restrictive eating and body dysmorphia when really, its actual definition refers to anything we eat. With the latter definition in mind, I like to take a look at my diet and fine tune it where I can to better nourish me. I reassess how much processed food I eat and consciously reintroduce good habits that I might have let slide over time. After all, even the best habits need refining every once in a while.
My Mental Clutter: I love social media and probably always will. However, the best thing I’ve ever done for my mental health is to regularly remove it from my phone for periods of time. I consider meditation and audiobooks other useful tools for mental spring cleaning.
My Home: Keeping your home consistently tidy and functional is a challenge for even the most organised. One of the most useful tips I ever heard for keeping your space pulled together daily is to make sure there’s a place for every single item. Each spring, I do a walkthrough of every room – first to make sure that everything has a place, and second, to make sure I haven’t accumulated doubles or triples of household items. I then donate excess items. While it sometimes feels like it takes a while, when you think about how much time you spend searching through piles of clutter throughout an entire year, you realise how timesaving this exercise can really be.
One of the most surprising side effects of this approach is how much one aspect of your life can affect another. When my home is organised, I don’t waste time searching for items when I have more important things to do. When I eat well, I have more energy. When my mind and space are clutter-free, I don’t only think more clearly, but I even sleep better. As much as we try to be above material things, there’s no denying they affect everything; from mental clarity to being able to move lightly and freely throughout this world. And isn’t that what living is all about?
Lead image by Aasiya Jagadeesh. From Harper's BAZAAR Arabia April 2020 issue