the ritual of seasonal cleaning

this tiny pot of thyme is growing beautifully on the table; simple, cheap, edible decoration

Live a less-distracted life : embrace the seasonal clean as a ritual, not a chore
It’s the second day of spring and I’m relishing in the opportunity to clear the physical clutter, simplify and create space. In years past I have found the process a little daunting as I venture from room to room and take note of just how many cupboards need attention. But last year I adopted a methodical approach and always accompanied my cleaning with music and wafting spring scents. The key is to take it slowly but do it daily (even if it is only 15 minutes). Remember, you have an entire season to declutter; it doesn’t need to get done today.
Some things to keep in mind:
  • getting rid of physical clutter allows you to focus your energy on the things you need and the things that make you happy
  • if something is bothering you get rid of it now, don’t wait till tomorrow
  • turn on the music; it’s an excellent motivator
  • burn beeswax candles – a natural air purifier, beeswax helps to rid the home of odours, dust, pollen, mildew and mould and leaves a subtle, honey scent in its wake. I buy Queenb – always made from Australian bees. Yes, beeswax is more expensive but it’s natural and safe, unlike paraffin and soy.
  • burn essential oils – I have a few oil burners (one electric and two that require tealight candles) and I have one on daily. At the moment I’m using eucalyptus, lemon and frankincense (a few drops of each in water) to dilate the airways and refresh the home. Sometimes I burn peppermint or orange and clove.
  • expensive cleaning products aren’t necessary. One of my favourite concoctions is hot water + bicarb soda + vinegar + lemon – a great way to clean walls, ceilings and surfaces (I don’t use it on wood, though). However, for the bathroom I only ever use this and for the kitchen, this.
  • when it comes to cleaning out my wardrobe I have one rule: if I haven’t worn it in a year, it’s going to the op-shop
  • the children’s clothes have always been a bit of a dilemma for me but last year I decided that keeping all of their clothes was silly – someone else could be wearing them and they take up a lot of space in the cupboards. So, I keep the beautiful and sentimental pieces (I pop them in big plastic boxes with the size clearly labelled on the front) and I pass all the other clothes on to friends or the op-shop. I truly believe that when it comes my time to have a baby again, there will be at least one (probably 10) people ready to pass wondersuits and singlets on to me. It’s the law of baby clothes.
  • pack away your woollens. I use space bags for my knits and wool throws and stack them in the cupboard, surrounded by tonic’s eco sachets. To be extra careful and keep the moths away I also add a few drops of clove oil onto giant sticks of chalk – works wonders!
  • use up the staples in your pantry and buy fresh for spring.
  • cull the toys. This is probably best done when the children aren’t around, otherwise they go through separation anxiety with every. single. toy that goes in the op-shop bag.
  • take the op-shop bag to the op-shop – immediately.
As you rid your home of clutter it’s also essential that you’re mindful of what you bring in. You don’t want to make space and then fill it with more (new) stuff. When you are buying, collecting or gathering, take the time to ask yourself whether it’s necessary, whether you need it, whether you want it.
So: happy spring cleaning!
For those of you in the north, as you venture into autumn, it’s comforting to settle in for the cold months ahead. Unpack your woollens and add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the wash for a thorough clean. Collect books to motivate and inspire you, start a project, embrace warming teas and foods. Create a beautiful nest and enjoy a little hibernation. 
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Showing 33 comments
  • Modern Day Mummying

    This is just what I needed to read Jodi 🙂 With school holidays coming up I'm planning to do just this in the 2 weeks. happy Spring days to you!

    Sophie xo

  • Nic

    I just decided yesterday that this week is Spring Clean week, and since we only moved into our house 5 months ago I'm telling myself it should be super mega easy. It will be, right? Thanks for the chalk suggestion, I'm doing it 🙂

  • Libby

    Gah! That last tip… I'm shamefully guilty of filling bags full of items for the good-will bins and then having them sit around for weeks. As I type, I've got two full bags waiting to go! I'm going to take them out to the car right now! 😉

  • ashley

    I am in the midst of my biggest spring clean and declutter to date. It feels amazing to slowly move through the house clearing and cleansing. We have sold some things on a buy and sell site and have a market for kids gear next weekend. Somehow I have collected more than any family of four needs in a tiny house. This is spot on where we are. Love it. Enjoy feeding your soul with fresh air Jodi. Xx

  • Take heart

    Grand nettoyage pour moi hier … il faut que je trouve ces bougies à la cire d'abeille…

  • Michelle

    Its funny as soon as the seasons change we get that rush to clean all the crap out and declutter everything! I plan on tackling my study/craft room this week doing a drawer a day. Wrapping gifts and making cards use to give me so much joy but now I can never find what I want and it has turned into a bit of a drag. Hopefully that will all be fixed this week, or at the very least before Xmas when I need to use them all a lot more!

  • Soph

    Hi Jodie,

    I agree with all of this and relish in a good de-clutter myself but I felt challenged by your last point about the toys and just wanted to add a few thoughts…

    I cringed when you said it was better to clean out the toys without the children there… how would you feel if they came into your space and decided what was important to you and they choose to throw the rest out without consulting you?

    I think children need to be part of this process,these are the items that are important to them. My children also feel a separation about each toy but through practice they are now expert let-go-ers. We often discuss that there are too many toys and we need to decided which ones we are going to pass on to other children. I give them a while to sort through their things and make some selections about the things they are less attached to. If they don't select enough, I suggest a few. If they don't like my choice then we all give reasons for our choice and from this it usually becomes apparent whether it can go or not.

    The cleaned out toys then get offered to friends and left overs go to the op shops.

    I hope that by teaching this skill from early on that both my children are naturally good at de-clutering and don't find letting go of things hard like I know so many adults do.

    Thanks for letting me share my thoughts…


    • Jodi

      Thanks for your thoughts, Sophie and yes, I have involved Che on previous occasions. But sometimes I do like to do it by myself; mostly dealing the things that have already been packed away in the cupboard, toys they have outgrown and haven't used in a good, long while. It's a more efficient way of doing it. Yes, efficiency is sometimes a necessity for me.

      I think we're all entitled to clean it a way that suits us, don't you think?

    • Soph

      OF COURSE!! Just sharing thoughts, no malice intended.

  • millefeuilles

    Hello dear Jodi,

    Happy spring to you and your sweet family. Although we are, as you say, venturing into autumn here in France we too have been decluttering and, oh my, how good it feels to start the school year on the right foot.

    I have just, for the first time I think, posted three photographs of my children although I didn't dare participate so late in the year in your 52 project.

    Happy September to you.


  • Steph @ this brown wren

    Spring gives me such a feeling of hope…the endless possibilities. And nothing quite beats a food declutter. I'd have to agree with the toy culling when the poppets are away. Of course as their Mummas we know what is played with often and what is dear to them but when they help with the clean out they get bogged down in the "newness" of old, unloved and broken toys and can't part with them. They soon end up at the back of the cupboard again. Enjoy your nesting x x ps. My absolute favourite uplifting springtime oil blend is bergamot, grapefruit, orange and frankincense. Heaven x

  • ::The Beetle Shack::

    ummm so can you come and clean my house too?

    I'm so with you on packing up the kids 'forgotten' items and taking them to the op shop! My kids only realise that they are gone when we are SHOPPING at the op shop and they ask 'ummm mum, is this mine?'.

    xo em

  • Iliska Dreams

    I have the dreaded task of packing and moving house in the next two weeks. But I am secretly enjoying the fact it is a great opportunity to cleanse and begin again. I live with a hoarder so it is a great way of making him cull stuff.

  • Elle

    We are selling up over here in France. When I say selling up I MEAN selling everything we own. Reading this post has got me motivated for the monumental task of getting our belongings and clothing to fit into 2 back packs. Seriously – apart from the storage of sentimental items everything, and I mean EVERYTHING – has to fit into a back pack for me and one for him. It is SO daunting so I thank you for this little spark of motivation. The constant daily strive for simplicity is exciting. Also – you got me totally excited for winter 🙂 Love to you this spring week! xo

  • Amanda

    It's amazing how spring and it's promise of 'newness' has us all eager to jump into decluttering and cleaning projects. I began today with my current 'dumping area', making a huge dent in things that had been piled upon piles and feeling so much uplifted in the process.

  • helo win

    thanks for sharing such a nice post…..
    toodler costume

  • tinajo

    Such a pretty shot! 🙂

  • Briseidy

    this is so beautiful! I love spring cleaning, great tips….I'll follow the advice for the ones in the north 🙂

  • Katie

    This is such lovely advice, on so many fronts, Jodi.

    • Cory

      I'm expecting my second so I'm totally about cleaning! Here's to a clutter free home : )

  • Pink Ronnie

    Efficiency is a must around here too. And I'm totally with you on that last tip – I make Rick put all bags and stuff in the car as soon as they're filled so that they don't hang around the home!
    Ronnie xo

  • Camilla Salem Dugonjic

    great post! needed this 🙂

  • Lex C.

    When my life is a mess, my apartment is a mess. When I take the time to clean, I feel refreshed and motivated again. I love your inspiring list!

  • mel @ loved handmade

    you've inspired me again..I'm going to start with the linen cupboard x

    • Jodi

      the last time I cleaned out my linen cupboard I found a $50 note! Hope you have the same luck x

    • Maxabella

      Crazy-town fact: so did I! $50 in the linen cupboard. Get in there, Mel!!! x

  • Aubrey @ The Daily Simple

    Oh I love anything to do with simplicity and am currently working on a podcast all about living simply. Also, I love using natural cleaning products. Baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar is all I use, sometimes mixing them depending on what is called for. Great post!

  • joan blondina

    Hi Jodi! I don't want to comment on this post so much as I want to comment on the direction of your blog altogether. I have always loved it, and I love it even more! I am not a blog reader per se, but I have always kept yours bookmarked for a break at work or while I'm waiting for the train. I always feel much more peaceful for having read it! Thank you for the constant inspiration! Your words are ever appreciated!


    • Jodi

      such a lovely comment! Yes, this space is evolving, I'm happy to hear you like the new direction x

  • Maxabella

    This year is all about simplicity for me and so far it's bloody complicated trying to achieve it!! There is much I need to let go of in order to live as simply as I think I want to. Lots more work to do. x

  • Julie

    Thanks for the tip about the baby clothes. I'm facing this myself at the moment. The "thrifty" part of me can't help but worry that I will have to buy again if I get rid of things… (I'm not even sure if another baby is even in my future, but I still can't let go!)

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