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Spring cleaning is kind of awesome. If you're the type of person that enjoys cleaning, then the process is fun, but even if you don't enjoy cleaning, it still means spring is here. The trees start leafing out, and daffodils and tulips start popping through the dirt. People are finally getting a bit of energy back with longer daylight hours. As a result, it's time to clean!
Spring cleaning is not unique to the U.S. It's actually practiced all over the world, in one variation or another. Spring is the most popular time, which seems to have roots in religion. Passover is a traditional time for those of Jewish faith to remove all leavened foods from the house, which are forbidden during Passover. Leavened foods are anything made with wheat, oats, barley, spelt, rye or yeast. This eliminates a lot of foods, and the tradition is usually expanded to include a general cleaning of the entire home.
In addition, Catholic churches usually clean their altars during spring. This may not be exactly what you think of during spring cleaning, but you can see how it would easily translate to a general cleaning at home. More directly, the Greek Orthodox Church has spring cleaning during Lent, called Clean Monday. Because the church was the main governing body for so much of history, it makes sense that its influence became a sort of worldwide phenomenon.
The Psychological Aspect
Part of why it's so popular to go through spring cleaning is that it makes people feel better. Having a clean space is good for you. It reduces stress, increases productivity, cuts down on errant snacking behaviors and helps promote gratefulness. This works especially well if you don't just tidy up, but also toss out old items you no longer need.
You might not need to work on all of these things. However, there are some things that everyone can benefit from. Part of the reason behind spring cleaning isn't just to follow tradition or because your mother told you to do it - it's also a sort of mental cleaning. You have the chance to throw out old or useless items. It can help you jumpstart new goals, or keep up the motivation for older goals, like the ones you made back on Jan. 1.
One of the other benefits of cleaning up is that it's actually a really good workout. You can pump up the music and turn your cleaning into a dance party. Use the vacuum to work out your arms, take the stairs as much as you can, climb ladders and move furniture - although you might want a partner for that. All that activity gets your heart rate up and your blood pumping. If the option is between hanging out and watching your favorite show or getting up to clean the house, then cleaning is definitely the healthier option.
If you're looking for specific exercises, try calf raises while dusting. Do lunges to reach the far end of the carpet while vacuuming. Cleaning the floor is a great time for pushups and mountain climbers, and of course, the music is there to make you dance. Get your boogie on!
The Health Benefits
In addition to being good for the mind and a decent workout, there are other health benefits. Giving the house a good dusting can help reduce allergies for everyone in the home. It's also the best way to give your home a close look. Being able to expose dangerous pests in your home is probably the No. 1 reason to give it a good, solid cleaning on a semiregular basis.
It's not just allergies that cleaning will help with. If anyone in your home suffers from asthma, spring cleaning can also help with that. Since you'll feel better, get some exercise and get any pests out of the way, there's really no downside.
No matter why you're doing spring cleaning, either because of religion, because it makes you feel better or because your mom told you to, it always ends up the same. You'll feel better, your home will look better, and you can take a nice break from cleaning when it's all done.