Greetings from the Midwestern United States! A land where the Astrological Sign of Aries kicks off the spring season. Arguably the most glorious time of year, its arrival is marked by the return of birdsong and the shedding of winter coats. The magical season where you go to sleep one night, wrapped in a blanket of seasonal depression, and fly out of bed the next morning, singing show tunes and gathering garden supplies.
It starts with the drawing of blinds. The sun is unreasonably bright. You open a window. Then all the windows. The crisp smell of growth. You inhale. Deeply, fully. This is a new sparkling day—
Not a care in the world!
Until something’s broken your peace. The screaming of a child or the sound of your partner breathing. The chorus of birds fades into a din of aggressive honking, early morning construction work, a cacophony of all your neighbors mowing their lawns at once.
Out of nowhere you notice the thick film of dust coating every surface of your home, the clutter in the corner, the mysterious sour smell arising out of who-knows-where, spreading carelessly about the room on that once fresh breeze, now mixing with exhaust fumes, cigarettes from passerby.
You sneeze. The scent of freshly cut grass tickles your allergies—achoo! And again. Three times in rapid succession.
The Universe has spoken: Spring cleaning—get to it!
It’s a subject I know honestly little to nothing about. Except that it’s a fine excuse to air out your ruggs and fluff your pillows—you’re welcome. For the good tips, I’ve consulted a professional: fellow Aries and personal inspiration, Jill Schumacher, Interior Designer and owner of the design firm, Rariden Schumacher Mio & Co.
The takeaways: 1.) Spring cleaning starts with your body-temple and is a super powerful form of self care. 2.) How you start the year is how you live the year.
Jill was gracious enough to make time for a phone call between meetings, from her car, because it’s possible that she literally never stops.
Think For Your Future Self
How you start a thing is how you end a thing—anything. Especially the year. Which makes Jill’s slogan, “have your current self be smarter than your future self,” a mantra for everyday living. At home and at the office, Jill has made a habit of thinking ahead—”If there's something I want to take home, I put it in my path, so I'll trip on it. I'm always thinking ahead.
“Your future self is really dumb,” she continues, “and you don't remember anything in the future.” so set traps or paths or write notes for two months ahead when you make an appointment and can't remember the details....”
Getting some fresh air may seem an obvious tip for spring, but with a Pandemic raging, it can feel most awesome not to leave the couch. Jill reminds us that “being active is crucial.” Moving our sluggish winter bodies is a simple way to boost our fitness and mental health. Especially when your Covid nerves have cancelled your go-to exercise options—like your favorite hot pilates class.
Use the excuse to find a new routine. Jill’s picked up walking. “Yesterday I walked for six miles, listening to a podcast. It's nice to be away, to take time to reflect. It's an hour where no one interrupts you.”
Freshen Your Diet
Just as Pisces season has us processing the final bits of the year, spiritually and emotionally, in many parts of the world, it also has us feasting on the last of our winter rations. By the time spring rolls around, Jill points out, most of us are sick of eating from the cold storage—especially the old squash.
“We're farmers market people, so, definitely, we get super excited about the scapes coming out, the ramps coming out. You get those early spring, refreshing little treats. I love going to the market in spring because every week there's something that’s sprouted.”
Clean Up The Heavy
There’s something deeply satisfying about shedding layers, especially after such an emotionally complex year. Like our homes, our minds also become stale and cluttered over the winter season—and they’re likely to stay that way unless we clean up our space.
Spring cleaning is as therapeutic as it is practical—and can be a meditative and powerful ritual for releasing the heavy of winter and calling in the light of spring.
Before you get overwhelmed thinking of taking on the project of cleaning your entire home, identify an area of focus and dig in with intention. For Jill, this is her mud room, the liminal space between the outside and inner sanctuary
“I love changing out the downstairs closet where you drop your boots. I just packed my winter boots this weekend. It’s refreshing cleaning up the heavy—heavy boots, heavy coats… Organizing your mudroom, your bedroom. Getting out your spring shoes, your lighter jackets...looking at the weight of winter.”
To deepen the experience, light a candle and some incense. Put a record on that takes you to your calm space. If you can time it right, make a dark moon ceremony out of it. However you go about your ritual, remember Jill’s mantra:
Let your current self be smarter than your future self.
CV Henriette is a writer, maker of Cosmic Apothecary, and consulting Astrologer at ART of the ZODIAC. Follow her on Instagram at art_of_the_zodiac.