Spring is magical; full of vibrant colours, textures, floral scents and beautiful scenery. The days get longer and warmer. Nature awakes and everything starts to come out to play in bright colours.
Spring is also a great springboard for new beginnings. For most people, the New Year is the period of change and commitment, but it is spring that awakens new motivation within us. Hibernation is soon replaced with a burst of life, and we want to flourish and grow like nature itself does. And she inspires us, too.
We get the urge to reorganize our homes, wardrobe and mind - without exception. And it’s here that we come across the concept of spring cleaning. A time when interiors and exteriors are turned upside down en masse in order to get rid of the unnecessary, and to make room for the new.
And why is spring cleaning "spring"?
In fact, spring cleaning has a lot to do with human biology. During cold winter days, we are less active and motivated. And for good reason. Our behaviour is chemically linked to the cycle of the seasons. Due to the lack of sunlight during dull winter days, our brain produces more melatonin - a substance that literally puts us to sleep - the level of which is tied to the frequency of exposure to sunlight, and therefore the more time we spend outside in the light, the less sleep hormone we produce. Thus, it is said that "spring cleaning" means waking up from the melatonin-induced “napping” of the mind.
The ritual of spring cleaning is deeply rooted in human history. Mentions are made of it as far back as during the ancient Iranian Nowruz festival of 3000 BC (known as the Persian New Year, which begins with the vernal equinox).
However, cleaning has long been perceived ambiguously. And you've probably tried it before. How do you feel after a thorough cleaning of the household and after discarding unnecessary things? More at ease, as if you’ve got rid of a certain load on your mind? This purification - not only of the material but also of the mental - can accomplish small miracles which are immediately reflected in the normal functioning of human beings.
Scandinavian minimalism and the Japanese concept of "mottainai" are also based on purification through the conscious arrangement and preservation of what is necessary – rejecting unnecessary waste and focusing on reusing items and shopping prudently. The motto of this concept is Reduce-Reuse-Recycle. According to mottainai, cleaning is all fair and well, but what if large purges could be prevented by conscious shopping?
>> Continued in Spring cleaning of the wardrobe and mind: part II. minimalism, slow fashion & local production