Magically, a new season has dawned: Spring is here! The skies are brightening at 5:30 am, the first flowers have bravely blossomed, birds are chirping. The heaviness of winter makes Spring's beauty feel somehow heightened and mystical. In my first few years in Europe, I struggled massively in winter—mostly from the lack of light and the extremely short days. I had trouble waking up and even invested in one of those sunshine lamps to help. Over time, I’ve tried to establish systems that help me regulate my natural tendency to hibernate in winter. What keeps me going is the thought that Spring, in its bright beauty and freshness, will be my reward for making it through.
Here are 10 things that I do to embrace and welcome Spring every year:
1. Start with the basics
Paying special attention to all those surfaces that surround us like windows, kitchen counters and floors makes a huge difference. Windows are like our eyes out onto the world; when they’re clean, the light that filters through feels somehow better—and the blossoming trees fresher. Also, remember to go over often forgotten surfaces like lightbulbs and the ceiling.
2. Welcome the morning in
I've worked to make myself an early riser, but even if you're not one, bringing the spring morning in is a beautiful way of connecting to nature. Crack your windows open for some fresh air and to let birdsong in. If you’re so inclined, light some incense, sage or palo santo and let the gentle scents waft through your home for a cleansing effect. You can also start the day by lighting a candle—don’t forget to put it off before leaving the house, though!
3. Freshen the bedroom
Spring is a good time to take a good look at your bedroom—a place of sanctuary, to rest and rejuvenate. Give your bead a thorough clean: take the sheets off the mattress, turn it over and give it a good vacuum on both sides, taking care to clean under the bed as well. Sort through your bed linen and remove anything that’s old, uncoordinated or that just isn't sparking joy. You only need two or three sets anyway, so try to invest a little in these pieces—it’s worth the time you’ll be spending in them. I personally prefer all-white cotton and linen pieces—one bonus is that having things in one colour scheme makes it easier to mix and match!
4. Reset the living room
If you’re anything like me, you probably spend a fair bit of time in this space. Take a good look around: are there magazines piled up that you’ve finished reading? Give the couch a good vacuum, removing cushions to get to hard-to-reach spaces. Swap out a couple of cushions—this is a quick and budget-oriented way of freshening things up. This is also a good time to switch out winter textiles like woolen throws, you can replace them with lighter, more delicate pieces. Having a basket or two at hand makes it easier to store these, so that your couch isn’t weighed down with too much.
Tip: Consider moving a couple of pieces of furniture around—keep in mind though, the ways you use and move around this room, and work around that.
5. Re-organize the pantry
Open up your kitchen cupboards and drawers and take stock: is there anything past the use-by date in there? Are there things you bought thinking you might like to try and haven’t—even six months later? How fresh are your herbs and spices? I use glass mason jars to store grains, lentils, nuts, herbs and spices and once a year, I like to give the whole lot a wash. I decant the contents into plates, bowls or, in the case of spices, onto pieces of paper napkins—this makes it easier to pour them back into the jars). It always makes me abnormally happy to see how shiny they are when I next reach for them. I use boxes and deep trays to store pantry items like pasta, noodles, sugars, grains and snacks, gathering like items together. I find this much better than just stacking them on the shelves—everything is so much more organised and easier to find!
6. Indulge your plants
Give your live-in plants some much needed attention—after all, they’ve made it through another winter’s hardships like heater air and depleted sunlight. Check if they need re-potting into a larger container (one way is to look at the bottom—are the roots escaping through the drainage holes?) and make sure to give them a weekly dose of fertiliser for a couple of months. Prune or trim any dead leaves or twigs and if you can, bring the plants into the bathroom and give them a gentle shower to remove dust and buildup. If this isn’t a possibility, use a spray and a soft cloth to gently clean the leaves. If you have a window box or balcony, consider planting some seeds now, to ensure you have flowers and greenery by May. It’s a cheaper and more fun way to bring lots of beauty in—and the birds and bees will thank you for it. Also, consider planting herbs—they’re very easy to grow and often ornamental in form, not to mention delicious!
7. Turn your wardrobe into a boutique
It’s probably time to start considering what winter wear to put away—and what to give away (fraying sweaters, glittery cocktail-wear maybe?) Take sweaters and coats to the dry cleaners before packing them away, so that they’re fresh for the next season. Unpack your warmer weather clothing and then set your cupboard up—hang, fold and present your pieces as you’d see in an upscale boutique. By editing your presentation, you’re more likely to know what you have—and this can lead to all sorts of new combinations. Beautiful presentation also makes dressing up so much more fun—and much quicker!
8. Edit your New Years resolutions
I like to pull out my diary and glance through all the ambitious ideas and desires I penned down at New Years. It’s fun to see what's started taking shape—and a good time to see if there was something you felt passionately about at the time but haven’t got started on. Maybe things have changed and there’s something new you’re focusing on instead—editing this list will give you a good idea of how your year’s progressing and where you'd like to tweak things.
9. De-clutter your phone and devices
Are your screens cluttered with apps, screenshots and files of all sorts? Starting with your phone, delete the apps you don’t use and try clustering the others into folders—for example, I have a folder for all my communication apps, one for photos, editing and media and so on. It makes things easier to find and, most importantly, my screens don’t feel super cluttered. Pick a background image that has value for you—you look at this so often, so make it count!
Apply these rules to your laptop as well—transfer last year’s files onto a hard drive, de-clutter your desktop and empty your trash. I recommend doing this every few weeks to keep things in control.
10. Re-visit your nourishment
The brighter, warmer weather can also signal changes in your diet and nourishment: what’s inspiring you these days? If you'd like to cook regularly, make sure to have a collection of easy recipes at hand for weeknights when you’re tired. This makes it easier not to order in that pizza you know you’ll regret tomorrow. Stock up on a few new spices—think za’atar, coriander, garam masala—these make cook nights so much more fun. Buy in bulk at the beginning or end of the week, try making a meal plan on Sunday and enjoy dining well and healthily.
So that was my list—is there anything you do that especially invokes Spring? I'd love to hear, so please leave a comment below.
Oh—and don't forget to take long walks! x
Images: Vatsala Murthy