Having a clean and organized home simply feels good. It can boost your mood and your creativity. Clutter, on the other hand, is stressful. In fact, most Americans count the cleanliness and organization of their homes to be a major source of stress. This cleaning guide will help you declutter not just your home but also your mind.
Take Baby Steps
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you think you have to do everything at once. Instead, start with as little as five minutes a day. Begin with the room where you spend the most time. How many unnecessary items are in this room? How many items are there that don’t make you happy or that you could do without?
Spend a little bit of time each day decluttering this space. Get rid of what you don’t need or love. Then, make a list of all of the spaces you need to clean and declutter. Move on, one room at a time. Checking items off a list as you make progress can be incredibly satisfying.
Stainless and Organized
More sunshine makes stains on your windows easier to see, so give your windows some attention. When all that beautiful sunlight filters into your kitchen, take some time to clear off the clutter from the countertop. Get rid of everything other than what absolutely needs to be there.
Then, take the time to give all surfaces a thorough cleaning. There are probably more food stains hiding here than you think. Try making a homemade cleaning spray with distilled water and some fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Use it on your countertops as well as the oven, dishwasher, and all smaller appliances like the microwave and toaster. For tougher stains, make a heavier duty scrub with white vinegar and baking soda.
Next, go inside your refrigerator and take everything out. Give the interior a thorough cleaning. Before you put the food back in, make sure you check the expiration dates! Give the same treatment you gave the kitchen to your bathroom. Clean all surfaces, including the inside of the medicine cabinet and be sure to check expiration dates here as well.
Clean Your Wardrobe
Be ruthless! Go through all of your clothing and get rid of anything you haven’t worn in the past few years. Try everything on and get rid of everything that doesn’t fit anymore. Consider changing up how you organize your closet. Arrange by color. Or, divide up your clothing by season and put away your winter wardrobe. This is also a good time to make a new wardrobe rule: whenever a new item of clothing comes in, you get rid of an old one.
Don’t Forget About the Car and Garage
Cleaning isn’t just for the home. You probably spend a lot of time in your car, especially if you commute to work. Give the car a thorough cleaning. Get rid of trash, clean all surfaces, and vacuum.
After your car is clean, spend some time in the garage. Many people dread this activity, but that is usually a sign that it needs a lot of work. The easiest way to handle garage organization is to buy several large containers and divide them up for certain kinds of items. Be sure to label the them.
As you go through things in your garage, you’ll probably find several you forgot you had that you no longer need. Send these items to a new home by giving them to charity or selling them in a garage sale.
Stop and Smell the Roses
Cleaning, organization, and design usually focuses on what you see. However, the first thing we usually notice when we enter someone’s home is the smell. Scent can also have a big impact on mood and even energy levels.
There are many ways to ensure that your home has a pleasant aroma, including scented candles, incense, fragrance oils, essential oils, potpourri, and fresh flowers. Many of these have an added bonus of also being visually appealing. Just make sure that the candles or oils you choose fit in with the design aesthetic of your space. Remember to be careful with placement and quantity as well, since the idea is to minimize clutter. A beautiful, appropriately placed candle, though, can really make your space feel, look, and smell good. Pleasant aromas can make a difference, but don’t forget about safety. This includes not placing candles near anything that could potentially catch on fire.
A Breath of Fresh Air
You’ve worked on freshening up your space by removing clutter and adding in some pleasant scents, but there are other more basic or natural ways to bring a breath of fresh air into your space. Quite literally, you can open your windows. Fresh air can relax you, improve your blood pressure, and energize you. If you have a nice view, looking out at nature can also calm, energize, and inspire you.
Even if your view isn’t the best, you can bring some nature inside with plants. Plants literally add life to a room and they act as natural air filters. They also add color that can make your design aesthetic come together. Large plants make great statement pieces. Smaller plants can be spread around a room or can be clustered together to fill those spaces without any functional purpose like corners.
Not everyone jumps with joy when they think of cleaning, but it gives your house a refreshed look and you an energizing and inspiring lift befitting the season. When you look around at your rejuvenated space that looks organized and airy and smells fresh and clean, you will breathe easier knowing that everything is under your control and balanced. Transform stress into diligence and enjoy your little oasis.