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daffodillsMarch 20 was the Spring Equinox, which means spring is officially here! It doesn’t matter that it was actually snowing on March 20 in some parts of the US. It’s spring; I’m claiming it. I think most of us have had enough of Jack Frost, Suzy Snowflake, Old Man Winter, and Polar Vortices to last a lifetime… or at least until November when we’ll be glad the oppressive heat of summer is over.

Spring in my family means more than just winter’s end. We’ll be entering about a seven week glut of birthdays, not to mention sprinkling in Easter and Mother’s Day. We have a lot of celebrating to do over the next month and a half.

But before the parties commence, the cleaning begins. My family spends weeks stripping rooms apart and scrubbing them top to bottom. Nothing is skipped over. Painted surfaces get washed or repainted. Wood gets waxed. Carpets get shampooed. Shelf paper gets replaced. Crystal and silver get polished. Winter linens get laundered and switched out for summer ones.

As a child, I hated it.

As an adult, I avoided it for a long time. I moved so often that I was able to just wait the cleaning out, knowing that in another year, I’d be packing my house and starting over in a new one, essentially “spring cleaning” anyway.

This time, however, I’ve been in Arkansas for a while. The spring cleaning can’t be avoided. I’m grateful my kids didn’t lose too many snow days; they’ll be here to help. They just don’t know it yet.

Sure, the work is hard and time consuming, but the results are always worth it. The house always smells so good—like Murphy’s Oil Soap and lemons. And sometimes fresh paint. And it reminds me of my childhood. There’s no better feeling than resting tired muscles in a clean, clutter-free house and thinking about home.

Spring is a time for new beginnings, fresh starts, clean slates. I hope as this spring commences, it promises something new and wonderful for you.

For Writers:

It’s been a long winter. Many of us have been almost in hibernation, stuck in our homes or offices. And because we’ve been inside for so long, our patterns have become ruts, maybe even blocks. Our workspaces? Well, if yours is like mine, it’s getting out of control.

It’s time for a fresh start. Time for some spring cleaning.

Sometimes the easiest way to break out of a writer’s rut or writer’s block is to simply clean our space. It’s hard to be productive when we’re surrounded with clutter. It’s much easier to do our best work when our writing space is conducive to creativity and productivity.

  1. Desk space — Make sure your writing/typing surface is as clean as possible. Not all of us have dedicated office space. That’s okay if you don’t. It doesn’t matter if you have a glorious mahogany desk, write at the kitchen table, sit on your bed, or type at a coffee shop. Just be certain you have space around you. You want to be able to write in a notebook if you need to. Put down your cup without risk of it falling. Reach for a pen with no fear of knocking something over. Your surface space should be clutter-free.
  2. Wall space — When you write, you don’t always stare at your screen (or notebook). Sometimes you look around when you think. If your eyes can’t rest on something relaxing or helpful, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. Do you have a bulletin board or whiteboard for your WIP? Organize it and clean it up. Do you have a picture hanging on your wall? Can you see it, or are stacks of books and papers in your way? Tidy the mess. Do you look out the window? Clean it, and clean your window coverings, too. It’s best to have no distractions.
  3. File space — Is your computer working correctly? If it’s running slowly or your performance is poor, it could be because you have a virus, or perhaps you just haven’t done any maintenance. When was the last time you ran defrag? Are you spending fifteen minutes looking for a file because you don’t remember where you saved it? Spend some time cleaning up your system and organizing everything into the appropriate folders so your work is more methodical, and therefore faster.

It really doesn’t take much to get your workplace organized for spring. And just sprucing things up in a utilitarian manner might be all it takes to get those creative juices flowing again.

Mary NaccaratoThey call my grandma The White Tornado because (1) she has the most beautiful white hair and (2) she can blow through work like crazy, whipping any project into shape. She’s about to turn 96, and she still spring cleans her house. I wish she wasn’t 1,000 miles away; I’d ask her to help me with both my house and my workspace. I know she’d get both neat as a pin in a heartbeat.

What about you? Are you spring cleaning this year? Your house, your workspace, or both? Do you have any cleaning tips or tricks to share? Post them here.