It’s that time of year again. You see folks clearing out their garages, basements and attics preparing for yard sales or trips to thrift stores to donate all of those unwanted items. Yes, it’s spring cleaning season. If you’ve ever engaged in this annual tradition of sorts, you’ve probably felt exhausted and covered in cobwebs and dust at the end of it all. At the same time, you might have felt clearer and freer with more space to move about your home.

Wouldn’t it be great to feel a similarly fabulous sense of freedom and clarity within yourself? We propose that this year in addition to conducting a spring cleaning in your home, you also do inner spring cleaning. Inner spring cleaning can create room in your life for more joy and lightness and you will probably experience these benefits carrying over to your relationships.

Although it can be hard work that you don’t really want to do, you know how to go about cleaning out your garage, attic or other spaces in your home. You look at all of your stuff and make choices about what’s not working correctly or what you’d like to be rid of. Broken alarm clocks, multiple fondue pots, and a velvet polka-dotted lamp from your great-grandmother all fall easily into these categories. Some items may not be as easy to part with. Perhaps you’re attached to the notebooks of indecipherable notes from your favorite college courses. You may ponder a bit about whether to keep those or not.

Inner spring cleaning can operate pretty much the same way. All that’s involved is making time to really look at the beliefs, habits and stories that you’ve collected over the years and decide if there are some you no longer need or want. It’s all about taking a look at what you are attached to within you and then choosing whether or not you want to keep whatever it is around. Inner spring cleaning may not be a project you want to take on but once you start letting go, ease, lightness and even joy can result.

Kimberly leads a very busy life. She runs her own business, has a husband and two children and regularly cares for her elderly father who lives nearby. She likes to keep her home and yard spotless and tidy. On the inside, however, Kimberly doesn’t feel so good. She regularly suffers from insomnia and panic attacks and does not enjoy life overall. One weekend Kimberly finds she has no soccer games to attend, no pressing chores to take care of and no unfinished business from the work week. She sits down with herself and begins to take a look around….

Stop, Look and Feel
If you’ve decided to conduct an inner spring cleaning you can start, like Kimberly, by stopping your normal routine and looking and feeling within. It might be helpful for you to do a body scan. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Start at your feet and notice where you feel tightness, pain or unease. When you find a spot, pause there and see if your body can “tell” you what the unease is about. Kimberly realizes her shoulders are incredibly stiff and tight. When she goes within, images of being the “good daughter/wife/mother” and taking care of everyone pop into her mind.

If a body scan does not give you a clear view of your “stuff,” try writing. You might simply write down whatever comes into your mind. Write until you feel like you are done. Then read through what you’ve written and see what themes and messages come through.

Decide What You No Longer Need
When some people do spring cleaning in their garages, they literally take everything out of the garage and then only put back what they really want. The human mind and spirit are far too multi-layered to do this. The image, however, can be useful. Whatever means you used to stop and get a clear look and feel for the beliefs, habits, and memories you carry around day-to-day, now it’s time to make some choices.

Again, it might be helpful to write this out. You could make a list of the beliefs you have about your life, the habits you regularly engage in, or the memories that frequently come to you. If this sounds like a lot, start out with just a few. For example, Kimberly’s sleepless nights tend to be filled with uncomfortable memories of an uncle who touched her too much and too intimately. She might write that memory down on her list. She loves her father and wants to care for him but she also feels resentful at times and that she can never do enough for him. This belief might also make it on Kimberly’s list.

Once you have in your mind or on paper a few beliefs and stories, take each item and feel about whether it is something you want to keep. You might ask yourself if the belief, story, habit, etc. serves you. Does it make your life easier and better-feeling? If not, you may choose to put it in the “get rid of” pile. Perhaps Kimberly wants to keep caring for her father but would like to feel joyful about spending time with him. She decides to let go of needing to give perfect care and giving to others before nourishing herself. After just making decisions about what to keep and what to let go of from her list, Kimberly breathes a deep sigh of relief. Even though little about her life has changed, she feels somehow clearer, lighter and happier.

Letting go of old and unwanted “stuff” is a process that is different for everyone. Be patient with yourself and take heart in the steps you are taking. Seeing what’s there and making choices about what to keep and what to allow to move on are vital. As you become practiced at inner spring cleaning, it may become easier as a lighter, more joyful you emerges.

Author's Bio: 

Relationship coaches Susie and Otto Collins, authors of "Should You Stay or Should You Go?" "No More Jealousy," "How to Heal Your Broken Heart" and "Red Hot Love Relationships" are experts at helping people get more of the love they really want. To get a free online course that offers the 5 keys to a closer, more loving relationship, visit