The New “Spring Cleanse”


Isabelle Moore

Many of you have heard of spring cleaning, the dreaded time when your parents open up the old squeaky attic and pull down dusty boxes full of things you haven’t touched since you were five years old. Where you clean and uncover spider webs, but what I’m talking about is something completely different. This isn’t a new juice cleanse or face mask. No, what I’m talking about is something that will make both you and the people around you feel better.

The New "Spring Cleanse" 1

I recently decided to clean out my whole closet (with the promise of new clothes) and was amazed by how much better it made me feel. I emptied around 5 trash bags full of shirts, pants, and shorts ranging from 1 to 8 years old. I cleaned out the clothes a younger me promised to wear and the clothes with the paint stains from years of art camp. But I’m not here to just talk about how much junk I can keep in my closet.

Rather, I know spring break is coming up, which is when the majority of students will climb in their mom’s car and head out to clothing stores for more stuff to keep their closet. But instead of just ignoring those old clothes you should round them up and donate them. Your clothes will get a new life and a better use than living inside your closet. There are many different ways to rid your closet of these clothes.

The New "Spring Cleanse" 2If you have any younger siblings it is a great idea to let them take a look at the clothes, either for pajamas or to wear later on for hand-me-downs. This is helpful because your parents don’t have to spend extra money on new clothes for them (sorry, sis) and they have something that was once yours, like a sort of weird family heirloom to remember you by in the years to come. You could let your friends take a look at your clothes, because if you’re anything like my own friends they constantly take them anyways.

The best thing to do with your clothes, however, is to donate them to stores such as Forest and Found, located at 1363 N Western Ave,  or the Lake Forest Resale Shop, located at 222 E Westminster Ave. These practices allow these clothes to go to the less fortunate and the people who really need some help. There are also many different church drives which collect clothes for the less fortunate around town.

Donating your clothes definitely helps those in need, but it also helps your mind. As a person who is all too happy to leave their clean clothes on a chair while promising to put their shoes away later, I can attest that a less cluttered room leads to a less cluttered mind. Even though it has oA pile of luggagenly been a week since cleaning my own closet, I can assure you I feel much less stressed when hanging out in my room and doing homework. There is already enough stress surrounding the day-to-day school life that if your room is kept together, it’s one less thing you have to worry about.

Neuroscientists at Princeton University looked at the behavior change in people surrounded by clutter and those not surrounded by clutter. They found that physical clutter in a bedroom or in any room in which you spend time can lead to the brain competing for attention which, of course, leads to stress. Their report states

Multiple stimuli present in the visual field at the same time compete for neural representation by mutually suppressing their evoked activity throughout visual cortex, providing a neural correlate for the limited processing capacity of the visual system.”

In other words, if you don’t clean your room it is as though it is constantly reminding you and poking into your thoughts even if you don’t realize it. The clutter forces your mind to think about it, making it more difficult to carry through other actions. Not being able to do what you want or need to do creates more stress and makes it harder for the mind to process information.

So if you want to help your brain during the high-stress school year, set aside an hour this weekend–or any weekend–to clean up your room and give your brain a break.The New "Spring Cleanse" 4