The Dusty Origins of Spring Cleaning

Photo of cleaning chemical bottles isoalted on a white background.

You know what that say, a person’s home is their castle. Whether you live in Camden or Clapham, Southgate or Southwark, in London, space is everything, so when new year dawns, a good old spring clean can really help create space and cleanse the soul. But why do people wait until spring to clear out their homes?

Definition of spring cleaning

Before we delve any deeper into the nooks and crannies of the origins of spring cleaning, let’s consider exactly what it means:

“To clean all of a place, especially your house, very well, including parts you do not often clean. An efficient, if not arduous way, but incredibly satisfying way to wipe your domestic slate clean.”

The history of spring cleaning

The exact origins of the name spring cleaning are somewhat murky, but it seems that the modern phrase came into the popular lexicon during the 1850s. However, the roots of a colossal clean happening in spring may well derive from several cultural traditions from around the world. Either way, done properly, a good old spring clean results in a healthy and happy homestead – just make sure you have a shower afterwards. Anyway, I digress.

British origins

One of the most popular origins for the spring clean comes from the theory that the late 1800s, when people kept their houses shut tight during the cold of a bitter winter, heated them with coal and oil and wood, and lit then up them with candles, the start of spring signalled a welcome opportunity to make a dingy home fresh again. On the first warm, dry day of the season, everybody in the family who had survived the perils of the cold season would roll up their sleeves and pitch in to pull every stick of furniture and scrap of cloth outside, before getting their homes up to standard ready the sunnier days.

Jewish origins

Some say the roots of the act of spring cleaning comes from Judaism. Passover, an annual Jewish holiday, is a time when Jewish people eat only unleavened bread, commonly called Matzah. Before Passover starts in April, Jewish people must clean their homes entirely for traces of any leavened food to prepare for the holiday – a spring clean if ever we heard of one.

Chinese origins

You may not already know this, but Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival. Chinese traditions are often sprinkled with superstition, which means a failure to adhere can mean bad luck. One of the Spring Festival rituals is cleaning and washing the house at the end of the year so that any bad luck that has gathered in the home can be jettisoned to start the next 12 months fresh and provide bundles of good luck.

No matter where you are in the world or what your traditions, it seems that spring cleaning is equally important as it offers a chance to dust away the past and prepare for a cleaner, brighter future.

If you’re in London and looking to clear away the cobwebs and you need the space to do so, or you’re going the extra mile and moving to a brand new place, ABC offers a host of secure self storage solutions to suit homes of every size.