Spring cleaning can be therapeutic for students

spring cleaning and organization can help students alleviate stress. Flickr via Emily May spring cleaning and organization can help students alleviate stress. Flickr via Emily May

Christina McAllister 
Life Reporter

It’s that time of year again.

The return of chirping birds, spring showers and of course the impending doom of finals.

From yoga to pints at the local bar, students are always looking for ways to reduce stress.

To help alleviate this stress, according to some experts, students should consider spring cleaning.

“Through spring cleaning, stress is going to be reduced because you’re not going to feel so overwhelmed,” said principal lead organizer and project manager of ClutterBGone Linda Vanderkolk.

Vanderkolk recommends beginning in the area that causes the most stress on a daily basis. This could be a space as large as a bedroom or as small as a computer desk.

She said she wants college students to think of the acronym “SPACE” when cleaning. This stands for Sort, Pair down, Assign a new home, Containerize and Evaluate.

“Sort everything into categories, like items, so that you can actually see the volume of what you have for each type of thing and once you see that, it’s a lot easier to make decisions on what you really need,” advised Vanderkolk.

“The Dollar Store is a great place for students to find very affordable things they can use to contain items,” she said.

Vanderkolk said the most important part is containerizing the items students wish to keep. Everything needs a home, she said.

An article published on HealthNet.com found that only 20 minutes of cleaning per week reduces the feelings of psychological distress and the risk of mental health problems.

Chief medical officer of HealthNet.com Ian Shaffer notes spring cleaning and the physical exertion of cleaning have been found to reduce stress and anxiety.

Humber Sports Management student Andrew Thompson said he spring-cleans because it feels like a fresh start.

“It’s relaxing,” said Thompson, who cleans his bedroom, car and baseball equipment in preparation for the season to come.

Thompson said the process of cleaning itself is therapeutic and it leaves him with a sense of satisfaction.

Professional organizer Kerena Randle said the biggest benefit to spring cleaning is peace of mind. Any environment that is not clean and organized is not conducive for productivity, she said.

“You feel like two different people if you walk into a messy room or walk into a clean room,” she said.

The first step, said Randle, is making a list of the areas that need cleaning. Then, separate items into three piles: reuse, donate or trash, and keep.

“Once you have a donate pile or garbage pile, get rid of it that day,” said Randle.

“Don’t second guess yourself once you’ve made that decision, throw it out immediately, it will feel so good,” she said.

Randle also recommends taking a before and after picture because it will be satisfying to see the progress.

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