Janet Walkow Christine Jacobs

Spring Cleaning

…make it a personal experience

Most of us think of spring as time to tell winter goodbye, welcome the warmer weather and get ready for the summer months. At the first sign of spring I embrace – and anxiously await – the change from the black & white & grey of winter for the Technicolor months ahead. Hibernation is over. The newness is invigorating. I vow to start shaving my legs religiously and reinstate bikini waxes. It’s time to find the razor.

Organizing Chaos

The arrival of spring traditionally signals a cleaning mania: organizing closets, washing patio furniture and sprucing up ourselves and our surroundings. Most spring cleaning checklists focus on visual components: “I should organize my closet so it is easier to find things” “Maybe it’s time to do something different with my hair” “I bet that wall would look great if I paint it a different color.” “I should grow some flowers/herbs this year.”

A Personal Spring Cleaning


Just as Halloween is the annual reminder to replace your fire alarm batteries spring is an opportunity that should prompt us to look beyond our closets and mirrors to re-evaluate ourselves and make new adjustments. Months have passed since New Year resolutions were made and spring offers a fresh page for making changes and choices. You can still update your wardrobe and freshen your look, but consider engaging in a deeper ‘personal spring cleaning’.

Take time to proactively decide on what’s you want to include in your life. It’s so easy to take on too much, always saying ‘yes’ to people. I’ve been actively working on how to say no over the past few years. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and fulfilling obligations, leaving little time to read a good book, get together with friends or pursue a passion. Make the time. You can do it. Too busy? Make a list of what’s occupying your time and make some tough decisions about what needs to come off the list. Clean out your personal closet and make room for what you want in your life.

From the ashes of clutter

This spring, I’ve been working on getting rid of the clutter in my life so I can focus more on things that matter to me. I’ve always been interested politics, but always from a distance. I read about candidate, learn the issues and always vote. As a result of my personal spring cleaning, I’ve decided that I want to do something to counteract the new voter registration laws that several states have enacted, which are expected to result in millions of voters, especially minorities, poor, and seniors not being allowed to cast a vote in this years election. Just like cleaning a closet, I had to take some old things out of the closet to make room for this project.

Take advantage of spring to take a personal inventory and make conscious decisions about what you’re doing. Say yes to what matters to you. Learn to say no to things that aren’t as important. Reinvigorate yourself.  Make decisions that reflect who you want to be. Do your own spring cleaning, then step out into the fresh air.


Janet Walkow is the Executive Director and Chief Technology Officer of the Drug Dynamics Institute at The University of Texas and a co-founder of Leading Women. Read her full bio.

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