Declutter Your Home to Free Your Mind
A messy home is more than a reflection of a busy life. In fact, a messy home can harm the health of you and your family. Don’t believe it? Read on to learn how messiness might be affecting your wellness and what you can do about it.
According to Psychology Today, a cluttered home is associated with higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, reduced focus, and a less active lifestyle. When you’re surrounded by clutter, task-irrelevant objects overwhelm your mind. This prevents you from focusing on what you need to, whether that’s work, sleep, or exercise.
It’s not only that clutter distracts you from the task at hand. Clutter also serves as a constant visual reminder of the work to be done. And when you’re constantly staring at a to-do list, you never truly unwind and enjoy your time at home. Without a place to relax and practice self-care, stress mounts and contributes to stress-related health problems such as depression and cardiovascular disease.
A messy home affects your health.
A messy home affects your health in other ways, too. When dust and grime build up, so do dust mites, mildew and mold spores, bacteria, pet dander, and other contaminants that impact human health. The risks are even higher for children. Compared to adults, children breathe more air relative to their body weight, which means they inhale more airborne contaminants that harm their health and development.
What can you do to keep your home truly clean?
First, let’s talk about cleaning. To keep housekeeping simple, stock up on multipurpose cleaning supplies. When one tool or cleaning product can handle a variety of jobs, you can spend less time hunting for supplies and more time getting your chores done. These are some basics every house needs:
Microfiber outperforms other fabrics when it comes to trapping dirt, dust, and grime. Use them alone for dusting or with products for cleaning everything from countertops to windows.
A scrub brush
Some cleaning jobs require a little more elbow grease than microfiber cloths provide. Keep a scrub brush handy for those tough-to-clean areas.
Refillable spray bottles are ideal for making your own non-toxic cleaning supplies, like the cleaning solutions from Morning Chores.
Broom, dustpan and mop
These basics keep hard floors clean. Purchase several brooms and stash them around the house so it’s easy to deal with messes.
A basic vacuum cleaner pulls dust, hair, and dirt out of carpets, but the best vacuum cleaners use HEPA filters to remove a wide variety of allergens from your home. If you have allergy sufferers at home, opt for a bagged model so particles don’t escape when emptying the vacuum.
A cleaning caddy makes it easy to carry supplies as you clean.
Next up, organization.
When your home is decluttered and organized, it’s easier to keep clean. A tidy home is also a more calming, restful environment for your family to unwind after busy days at work and school. Spend a weekend sorting through belongings and getting rid of items you no longer need or use. Donate and recycle what you can, and be mindful of disposal rules for large appliances, electronics, household chemicals, and other types of hazardous waste.
Once the purge is complete, organize what remains to maximize usability. Keep items where you use them, installing storage solutions like wall hooks, floating shelves, and in-cabinet organizers to add storage space as needed. If you can’t find a place for an item, ask yourself if it’s something you truly need. (That said, it is handy to keep a few catch-all bins around the house for collecting daily clutter like mail, keys, and charging cables.)
The Final Challenge
Once your home is clean and tidy, the final challenge is keeping it clean. Here, a schedule is key. When you’ve scheduled cleaning into your week, chores feel like less of a burden. Set aside a few hours once per week for big chores such as cleaning the bathroom and spend 10-15 minutes each day tidying up. When you tackle cleaning a little bit at a time, instead of letting it grow into an overwhelming mess, you enjoy a clean, calming day—every day.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alice Robertson manages TidyHome.info, a resource educating families about how to reduce allergens and breathe clean air in their homes.