Clean house, clean heart: Consider cleaning both inside and outside yourself

Clean house, clean heart: Consider cleaning both inside and outside yourself



As written in John Steinbeck’s East of Eden: “In March the soft rains continued, and each storm waited courteously until its predecessor sunk beneath the ground.”

In the Pacific Northwest, those rains come hard, shoving into one another, turning ground into mud as brown ooze battles the whiteout of a late-season snowfall. Small wonder this month is tied to spring cleaning.

Regardless of climate or culture, the tradition of spring cleaning is global and communal. Before the lunar New Year, Chinese families cleanse homes and themselves of bad luck, finishing projects and repairing items. Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, includes cleaning carpets, attic, and repainting the house.

Jewish households rid the home of all leavened items before Passover. Such “kashering” of the home not only cleans things, but also sterilizes them. Scottish spring cleanings remove ashes from hearths so new fires can be lit; burnt juniper wards off disease and evil spirits.

Prior to vacuum cleaners and chemical cleansers, March was the best time for dusting because it was warm enough to open the windows and doors but not yet warm enough for insects.

With brooms, feather dusters, and doors and windows ajar, the high winds of March carried the dust out of the house.


Consider some spring-cleaning chores within our soul’s house.

  • What dust has collected in our heart this winter?
  • What are we storing that we no longer need to keep?
  • Inventory worn-out routines and dispose of them once and for all.
  • What within us has grown musty and stale and could use a good airing out?
  • Are our windows open to unsettling winds of change sweeping through us?
  • What grit or grime on windows prevents wind and light from entering us?
  • What new habits could breathe fresh life into us?
  • Who might help us, and who might we help?


Rev Sybrant has a Masters in Divinity, Social Work, and a Doctor of Ministry. For more information, visit us at 15050 SW Weir Road | 503-524-5230