spiritual spring cleaning
Dark Mode
Community, Life, Spiritual

Spiritual Spring Cleaning: Taking Stock and Clearing Space

A breeze through the window. The smell of lemon, pine, lavender, or fresh linen. A freshly mulched garden bed. Crystal clear windows. Sun reflecting off a freshly cleaned floor. These are all signs of spring cleaning. For many of us, they likely elicited a very specific feeling. Whether it’s the scents, the sights, the sounds, or simply the feeling, spring cleaning is a time-honored tradition.

Spiritual spring cleaning seeks to do the same. To help us lighten our spiritual load, declutter our hearts and minds, and rededicate ourselves to a spiritual practice. While we may be well-versed in household chores, we may not be as familiar with spiritual spring cleaning practices. Let’s take a look, together, at what that means and how we can include it in our spring rituals and spiritual practice.

Quick Links:

Why Do We Spring Clean?

Spring cleaning has a long history. When homes were heated by wood and coal, spring cleaning was an opportunity to rid the house of layers of soot and dust, accumulated over time. With homes closed up tight for winter, even in the modern world, dirt can build up and the air can become stagnant.

And, for many of us, spring means a lightening of spirits, a reawakening, and a return to a more active lifestyle. We move from the heaviness of winter and indulge in an all-out sensory spring awakening. From the sights and smells of a clean home to the way a breeze feels coming through a newly opened window, this is a ritual many of us embrace.

Spring cleaning is an opportunity to make this transition and, in a literal way, lighten our loads by removing not just dust, but clutter and more that may be weighing us down.

It is that metaphysical, emotional, psychological weight that leads many to conduct not just a physical cleaning of their home, but also to initiate a spiritual spring cleaning.


What is Spiritual Spring Cleaning?

Just as we open our windows to let in the fresh air and clear out the dust that has settled during the colder months, we can also engage in a spiritual spring cleaning to rejuvenate our souls and deepen our connection with God.


Spiritual spring cleaning is a metaphorical journey of cleansing and renewal, focusing not only on our physical surroundings but also on our inner selves. It involves decluttering our minds and hearts, letting go of negative thoughts and emotions, and creating space for growth and transformation. Much like tidying up a cluttered room, this process requires intentionality, patience, and a willingness to confront the areas of our lives that may need attention.

In other words, we must, first, take stock of where we are, explore where we’d like to be, and develop a plan to help get us there.

Spiritual Stock Taking

One aspect of spiritual spring cleaning is forgiveness. Just as dust accumulates over time, resentment and bitterness can build up within us. By extending forgiveness to ourselves and others, we release the weight of past grievances and make room for healing and reconciliation. Forgiveness is not always easy, but it is essential for our spiritual well-being and growth.


Another vital component of spiritual spring cleaning is reflection. As we take stock of our lives and assess where we stand on our spiritual journey, we may discover areas that need nourishment and attention. This introspective process allows us to realign our priorities, deepen our faith, and reconnect with our purpose.


Prayer and meditation are powerful tools for spiritual spring cleaning. By quieting our minds and opening our hearts to the divine, we create space for clarity, insight, and inspiration to emerge. Through prayer, we express gratitude for the blessings in our lives and seek guidance in navigating the challenges we face. Meditation allows us to cultivate inner peace and mindfulness, enabling us to approach life with greater presence and authenticity.


Ultimately, spiritual spring cleaning is a deeply personal and ongoing practice. It’s not about achieving perfection but rather about embracing the journey of growth and transformation. Though we can refer to it colloquially, this is, in many ways, sacred work.

Swedenborg on Spiritual Spring Cleaning

In fact, it’s sacred enough that Swedenborg mentions it in his writings. While not explicitly using the term “spring cleaning” he does write about the processes of regeneration, repentance, and how we can transform our inner life. These ideas are, in essence, the goal of spiritual spring cleaning and help prepare us for spiritual growth.

For example, in “Divine Providence,” Swedenborg discusses how true cleansing occurs not just through external religious practices or knowledge but through a profound internal examination and transformation. This transformation entails recognizing and turning away from evils, acknowledging them as sins, and consciously refraining from them, recognizing that the power to do so comes from the Lord.


Similarly, in “New Jerusalem,” spiritual crises are described as pivotal moments where internal battles are waged between truth and falsity, good and evil. These crises, Swedenborg asserts, can lead to a reordering of our inner life, where truths are aligned with the inner desire for goodness, facilitating the dominance of one’s spiritual self over the earthly self.

In fact, Swedenborg focuses on this struggle often, and a spiritual spring cleaning allows us to recognize where we are in this journey and refocus our efforts on realigning our values and turning to God.

Then, in “True Christianity,” Swedenborg discusses the concept of cleansing, which is metaphorically related to washing and purity. Spiritual washing or cleansing from evils is compared to physical washing, emphasizing the need for active participation in one’s spiritual purification, paralleling it with the Lord’s call for self-examination and repentance. In short, as we physically clean ourselves (and our spaces in the spring) we should also tend to our spiritual selves in a similar way.

Much as we organize our homes, our living space, and set aside time for this, Swedenborg suggests that we must organize our spiritual selves in the same way. This mirrors the organization and balance Swedendborg describes as the structure and function of heaven.

While he explains that no community in heaven is exactly the same as another, and within a community, no individual is precisely like another, these individuals and communities must still function in an ordered way (much like the moving and many parts of our lives). In heaven, this variety is ordered in such a way that everything contributes to a common goal, achieved through love for the Lord and faith in Him, illustrating a divine organization and balance.

In other words, even in Heaven there exists the spirit and goals behind what we refer to as spring cleaning.


Why Take Part in a Spiritual Spring Cleaning?

We know that home spring cleaning has physical benefits. We remove allergens and dust which impact our well-being. Psychologically, we recognize that spring cleaning helps us feel lighter, happier, and minus the clutter, we can feel energized.

Participating in a spiritual spring cleaning can, similarly, offer numerous benefits for your well-being and personal growth.

  1. Renewal and Refreshment: Just as we tidy up our physical spaces during spring, spiritual spring cleaning allows us to declutter our minds and hearts, creating space for new ideas, perspectives, and energies to flow.


  1. Letting Go of Negativity: Over time, negative thoughts, emotions, and habits can accumulate, like dust and clutter, and weigh us down. Spiritual spring cleaning involves releasing these negative energies, allowing us to move forward with a lighter spirit.


  1. Reconnecting with Inner Self and God: When weighed down by negativity or habits that don’t support our spiritual growth, renewed practices like meditation, introspection, or prayer, provide an opportunity to reconnect with your inner self and God. This, in turn, fosters self-awareness, self-discovery, and a renewed connection to the spiritual, God, and our church communities.


  1. Setting Intentions and a Path Forward: Spring is a time of growth and renewal in nature, making it an ideal time to set intentions for personal growth and transformation. Our spiritual lives are not a destination, but a journey and looking at what that path forward means is an essential part of spiritual spring cleaning. It can help you clarify your goals and aspirations for the coming months.
  2. Cleansing Rituals: Dusting. Mopping. Cleaning the windows. Tidying the yard. Each of us has an activity that, for us, marks the spring cleaning process. In many ways, spring cleaning and spiritual practice are similar, in this regard. Engaging in cleaning rituals can help purify your spiritual energy, promoting a sense of harmony and balance.


  1. Embracing Change: When we look at how nature changes, we can learn a lot. Simply because a tree loses its leaves doesn’t mean it stops growing. We can shed old beliefs and habits and, just like nature, they can help us grow anew. Just as nature undergoes changes during spring, we can use this time to embrace our own changes and let go of what no longer serves us. And, in turn, this can pave the way for new opportunities and experiences.


  1. Practice Gratitude: Reflecting on the blessings in your life and expressing gratitude can lift your spirits and foster a positive mindset. Practicing gratitude isn’t always easy as it sometimes means searching for the silver lining. Sometimes it means “cleaning” our lives of habits or thoughts that get in the way of gratitude.
  2. Connecting with Others in a Spiritual Community: Participating in group activities or spiritual communities centered around spiritual growth or, in this case, spring cleaning rituals can provide comfort and support on your spiritual journey. Not only that, but it also strengthens social connections and fosters a sense of belonging, both of which can help you on the longer spiritual path you’re traveling.


Overall, spiritual spring cleaning offers a powerful approach to rejuvenating your mind, body, and spirit, enabling you to enter the new season with a sense of clarity, purpose, and vitality. In turn, you’re ready to spend this new spiritual capital on you, your family, your church community, and other commitments.

A Spiritual Spring Cleaning Checklist

One person’s spiritual spring cleaning may look very different from another’s. Similarly, when it comes to spring cleaning, we see the same. While one person may focus on windows, gutters and painting, another may be more focused on the floors, landscaping/gardening, and rejuvenating living spaces. And yet, it’s all spring cleaning.

Spiritual spring cleaning is similar. We’re all searching for the same things– to feel more connected, more alive, more aware, and more engaged.


So, here’s a spiritual spring cleaning checklist centered around the concepts of God’s love, patience, gratitude, acts of kindness, and acts of service:


  1. Reflect on God’s Love. A principle belief and Swedenborgian concept is that God is love. Not only are we a reflection of that love, we are the embodiment of it. Similarly, regardless of the time we spend away from God, we will always be met with love on our return. So, if winter has been tough in this regard, know that you are still loved by God and designed to share that love to others. You may spend time in prayer or meditation, reflecting on God’s unconditional love or consider how this love manifests in your life and how you can extend it to others.


  1. Practice Patience. Identify areas in your life where you struggle with impatience. Remember, patience is about presence, that is being present in a moment. That means we’re not ruminating on the past or worried about the future. We are taking in the world, and people, around us. Make a conscious effort to practice patience, even in difficult situations as it’s a reminder to be where we are and celebrate those moments.


  1. Cultivate Gratitude. Start a gratitude practice. Through gratitude, we are better able to show up for God, our families, our communities, and even ourselves. Reflect on the blessings in your life, both big and small, and express gratitude to God for them. Studies show that a gratitude practice can have significant benefits to your well-being!


  1. Perform Acts of Kindness. One way to be the physical embodiment of God’s love is to look for opportunities to show kindness to others throughout your day. It could be as simple as smiling at a stranger, offering a listening ear to a friend in need, or performing random acts of kindness for coworkers or neighbors. And, those same acts of kindness are beneficial to our well-being too.


  1. Engage in Acts of Service. Acts of service, much like acts of kindness, are ways we can not only engage with our community, but also show love for others. This is a way of demonstrating selfless, spiritual love, which focuses not on ourselves, but on others. Volunteer your time and talents to serve those in need in your community. Whether it’s volunteering at a local shelter, helping out at a food bank, or participating in a community cleanup project, find ways to give back and make a positive impact.


  1. Forgive and Let Go. One of the goals of any spring cleaning, spiritual or not, is to let go of the things that are holding you back or down. Anger. Bitterness. Resentment. Let go of these things. Practice forgiveness towards yourself and others. Let go of any resentments or grudges you may be holding onto and choose to extend grace and compassion instead.


  1. Nurture Relationships. Our commitment to others can help us really appreciate our lives and God’s love. These commitments play an important role in a spiritual life and are, often, strengthened by the time we  spend with the important people in our lives. Take time to nurture your relationships with family, friends, and loved ones. Show them love and appreciation through your words and actions, and make an effort to strengthen your connections with them.


  1. Spend Time in Nature. Connect with God’s creation by spending time outdoors. Not only do you get to enjoy the world around you, get some peace of mind (and quiet) to think and meditate, but it can also bring you spiritually closer to God. Take a walk in nature, sit by a peaceful lake, or simply bask in the beauty of the natural world around you. Allow yourself to feel a sense of awe and gratitude for the wonders of creation.


  1. Practice Self-Reflection. When we spring clean, we don’t look at the neighbor’s house and think “They should really clean their windows.” Spiritual spring cleaning means taking stock of your current situation and where you’d like to be. Set aside time for self-reflection and introspection. Use this time to assess your spiritual growth, identify areas for improvement, and set intentions for how you want to continue growing in love, patience, gratitude, and kindness.


  1. Commit to Daily Spiritual Practice. Spring cleaning is often required because we’ve neglected things for months. We have an opportunity, this spring, to re-establish a daily spiritual practice that includes prayer, scripture reading, or other devotional activities, like our 10 minutes of calm. Use this time to deepen your relationship with God and reinforce your commitment to living out the principles of love, patience, gratitude, kindness, and service in your daily life.

This checklist, of sorts, is designed to give you ideas for practice. It’s not prescriptive. There’s no guide or directions insisting that specific actions, completed by anyone, will deliver a specific outcome.

Perhaps one of the most interesting things about our spiritual journeys is that we are on our own paths, headed to the same destination. Your path may veer off, return to God, and take a scenic route. Others may be on a different path, so taking these practices and applying them to your life means you can make it fit you.

This is the same concept NewChurch Live has when it comes to “church.” We are an online church community designed to meet you where you are and when you are ready. You can engage with our community in a way that fits with your life and your needs. If you’re ready to explore or start a spiritual journey that embraces Swedenborgian concepts of spirituality, get in touch with us today!