“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
March Spring Cleaning Options
The dictionary has many definitions for the word “march”, much more than I ever thought possible. Here are a few: “to walk in a military manner with a regular measured tread; to force someone to walk somewhere quickly; a piece of music composed to accompany marching or with rhythmic character; a frontier or border between two countries”; and my favorite definition, “the third month of the year, in the northern hemisphere usually considered the first month of Spring.”
Here is a question, “What am I marching toward this month”? A simple answer is that I am marching toward the official end of winter and the hopeful beginning of spring. Another simple answer is that I am marching toward more daylight and my days filled with the warming tilt of our planet toward the sun. But my answer is so much more than these two thoughts. For me March is a long month to plan, to layout, to prepare for seeds to grow, for events to start to fill my calendar, for volunteering to explode in more areas than I could have done during the winter, for the opportunity to get outside and capture the beauty and essence of rebirth and reclamation and renewal with my pen and with my camera and with a closet or two.
What does the month of March mean for you?
“However many years she lived, Mary always felt that 'she should never forget that first morning when her garden began to grow'.”
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
Last month I put out a daunting list of tasks to consider to help keep you busy and forward thinking while getting through the month of February. It is completely OK if you couldn't or chose not to tackle all of the top 5 activities on that list. To be perfectly honest, for me the starter garden was the thing that got pushed to the end of February. I take way to long to decide on my seeds of choice and that was pure procrastination on my part. If you were like me then I say let's get serious and make that starter veggie garden and flower garden the first item on our top 5 list for March. What I know for sure when it comes to my flower garden is that it must include flowers that attract butterflies, hummingbirds and ladybugs. How about you?
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The 2nd activity on our top 5 list for March is to get outside as much as possible and start to pick up winter debris from the yard or designated garden area (s). This is actually a very relaxing activity for me because it allows me time to get reacquainted with my outdoor space. It allows me to enjoy a different angle of the sun and notice how the sunshine falls on my lawn and all around the house. At this time of year, I am able to get outside a lot more than I could have even one month ago so I take the time I have and draw up a plan for when it will be time to transplant my flower seedlings into the grandeur of the front yard landscape. Here are some helpful ideas to get you excited for your garden this year.
A journal open to a blank page on a table with three pens and an eraser
“Each day offers a reason to celebrate. Find it and experience true bliss.”
Amy Leigh Mercree, Joyful Living: 101 Ways to Transform Your Spirit and Revitalize Your Life
Item three on our list is kind of a fun activity involving nothing more than a pen and paper. March ushers in bizarre and big and small holidays and family get togethers. Let's get those important dates penciled in on the calendar. For my family it means lots of birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, along with whatever the month represents. March is always representing St. Patrick's Day and the start of daylight savings time and the start of a new season and sometimes Easter and Passover. This year Passover and Easter both fall out in April so here are some celebration ideas to keep your spirits up:
On March 3 it is Caregiver Appreciation Day. Why not show some love to all those that help with your little ones or your older relatives?
On March 6 it is National Frozen Food Day. Take a break from cooking and let your favorite frozen food and the oven be your helper.
On March 8 or the 2nd Tuesday of the month it is Popcorn Lover's Day. I see a great dessert in your future with this celebration.
On March 14 it is National Pi Day. At the middle school where I used to work, every year the staff would provide small fruit pies to give to the kids during lunch. So cute, so fun, so cool.
On March 21 it is Credit Card Reduction Day. What professional / financial organizer wouldn't love to take part in this day?
On March 30 it is Take a Walk in the Park Day. Need I say more?
Two yellow chairs flank table with plant in front of window looking out at red building
“Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.”
John Maeda, The Laws of Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life
Item four is to pick any room in the house. It could be an entire room or just a portion of a larger room that you were hoping to redesign into something else. Need some ideas to get you started? I used to start with my children's rooms by simply rearranging the furniture. That one act was enough to freshen up the space. If I was really ambitious I would get them to help me with the clothes portion because they were excited to think about all the new spring / summer clothes they would get to choose. The rule around here is if we bring something in that is going to stay for a long while then we take something out that we no longer need or want or use. Your room pick does not have to be a big room, it could be just a window seating area that you have always wanted to try or a room that needs your attention and care like a laundry room or the space under the stairs or a half bathroom or perhaps your linen closet.
Neat bathroom interior with white wooden door, drawers, mirror, flowers, and pink curtains
“Cleaning with children in the house really is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos.”
And once again we have so quickly arrived at item 5. Clean your bathroom. Now, when I say this I don't mean the daily or weekly cleaning and touch up that is always a good way to stay on top of the mess and germs but I mean really deep clean this space. I have had to climb a ladder and reach up to the borders around the ceiling of the bathroom to scrub away the grime that has collected there. I literally scrubbed that room from top to bottom. This allowed me to change lightbulbs, freshen paint, scrub trim, clean on top of the window shade and the shower rod and the top of the tub rim. It's amazing what needs attention when you take a different angle of approach. There are tips and tricks for everything, including deep cleaning a bathroom.
March tends to feel like such a long month. Enjoy your 31 days of progress and discovery. The last 10/11 days of the month are a whole new season to enjoy!
Call to Action
What were you able to accomplish this month?
In what ways are you excited about Spring and the hope it brings?
How does the process of organizing help you to be more relaxed and feel calmer?