Have you ever wondered why we are annually seized by a sudden urge to air out the house, banish dust, organize closets, clean out cabinets, scrub floors, wash windows and organize our garages, attics and basements? It turns out there are biological, social and psychological reasons for the spring cleaning ritual… and that’s a good thing.
melatonin production (the hormone that produces drowsiness and enables us to fall asleep) is increased, making us want to relax and sleep more. Our mood tends to be more subdued and energy levels are lower. Housekeeping habits may slip. We spend more time indoors. Added indoor activities, coupled with the fact that we tend to keep doors and windows closed result in soil and contaminant build-up.
Once the winter doldrums pass, we become more aware of the less-than-ideal condition of our surroundings. The energy and optimism of spring prompts us to improve our environment. It’s easier to be enthusiastic about cleaning and organizing in the springtime. You feel a sense of accomplishment upon completing a task. Your self-esteem increases. Endorphins are released into your body, increasing your
sense of wellbeing.
The history of early America also provides a basis for the spring cleaning custom. In the winter, fireplaces, oil lamps and wood stoves created a fine layer of oily soot, ashes and dust on floors, walls, ceilings, rugs and windows. As temperatures increased and days got longer, use of these heat and light sources decreased.