It’s Time for Spring Cleaning


Annmarie Fennelly, Harborlight adviser

A broken fence and downed trees litter Ms. Fennelly’s yard before spring cleanup begins.

Brigid Nugent, Contributing Writer

Spring cleaning is a dreaded yet honored tradition that nowadays is most popular in the west. However, it can trace its origin back to “Iranian Nowruz” or the Persian New Year, which always begins on the modern start of spring. Persians celebrated “khooneh tekouni” during this time, which literally means “shaking the house.” It can also be traced back to many religions, like the Jewish tradition of cleaning before Passover or the Christian tradition of cleansing one’s soul through confession before Easter. While people today often equate spring cleaning with pulling the refrigerator shelves out, past traditions suggests it set the tone for how a person’s life would go for the rest of the year.

If you’ve decided to participate in spring cleaning this year, the best way to start is simple. Don’t only clean your room or house, but go through your emails and delete old ones, mark spam, and even cancel old newsletters. Get rid of those 27 identical selfies you have on your phone, and delete pictures, apps, and downloads you don’t need anymore. Freeing away the physical and emotional clutter in your life can be freeing. 

Annmarie Fennelly, Harborlight adviser
Two trees fell down in Ms. Fennelly’s yard during one of March’s nor’easter storms, making this spring’s clean up especially irksome.

When asked about spring cleaning, sophomore Maja Neilson said, “I think it’s a good way to de-winterize your house after hibernation, but that it’s a bit over-hyped. For me, ‘spring cleaning’ is mostly rotating my winter clothes to the back of my closet and bringing out the short sleeves. I know a lot of people go full throttle spring cleaning and empty out their entire homes, which I understand; as nature is in bloom and becoming fresh once again, it’s nice to do the same to your house. I just don’t have the time or patience for it. I do think it’s important every once and a while to go through what we own and decide what to give away, what to clean, and what to just throw out. In a consumer economy and culture, it’s difficult to escape the clutter.”

It’s now been a couple months since New Year’s, and spring cleaning is also a time to reevaluate your resolutions instead of ditching them altogether . Figure out which ones work and which ones don’t. Decide what helps and what is too stressful to maintain. Anna Wagner, a freshman, reminds us that, “It just feels good to be organized, doesn’t have to be spring, really.”

When it comes to actually cleaning rooms, it can feel like a lot of work to clean everything, so start small and find and focus on problem areas. Go through your morning routine, and figure out which part is the hardest. Do you never have clean clothes? Do you always forget your phone? Maybe you’re always late? Solve these problems and make them a gateway to cleaning on a larger scale. Maybe you start with a system of laying clothes out the night before, and it turns into a habit of getting to bed early.

To many, there’s really negative aspect to spring cleaning. Not everyone feels this way, however. Freshman Elise Ober disagrees, declaring, “Cleaning sucks. Only do it when your [room] is messy to the point of depression. Doesn’t have to be in spring.”

If there’s any part of your life that’s stressful, use this time to find out why and how to fix it. Because spring cleaning isn’t just about having a shiny new house; it’s about cleansing, relieving stress, and reevaluating past choices. Mia Korafus, a freshman, puts it simply,“It feels good to be organized.”

Whether or not you participate in spring cleaning this season, happy Spring! Someone should tell Massachusetts that it’s springtime, though. I don’t think Mother Nature realizes that yet…