Give Your Home a Fresh Start: Part One, Clearing Up the Clutter
Home is the place we look to for safety and sanctity. When we look to our home, we want it to be a place of respite and relaxation, but sometimes, we can become bored or frustrated with the physical space of our home. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to turn your home into a zen palace.
Clear Out for Clarity: Clutter and disorganization is more than just an irritating aspect of home life; according to Psychology Today, it’s actually a main cause of stress. We can begin to feel hopeless when clutter feels overwhelming, rendering us unable to complete daily tasks. Personally, I feel myself drop into swarms of depression when my home becomes extraordinarily messy. Whether you’re at that point, or want to avoid getting to that point, there are a few steps you can take right now to give your home a fresh start.
First step – throw on some good tunes and light a calming candle to associate good feelings with decluttering.
Pick one room at a time. If you’re trying to do too many things at once, the clutter and mess can feel overwhelming. Pick just one room, and I suggest the room that is the easiest, and work on that one. I suggest the room with the least mess because you will finish it quickly, beginning a sense of momentum and accomplishment. Before you tackle the messiest rooms, at least this one is finished.
Put everything where it belongs. Before you can begin cleaning, just start with straightening-up. Put whatever is lying around out of place into its proper spot. Avoid just shoving things out of sight, and instead find an actual place for it to call home. You’ll be surprised how much easier everything else is when this task is completed.
Throw things away! It may be tempting to keep all sorts of remnants, but to gain a sense of home clarity, you need to gain space, and you gain space by getting rid of stuff. If you’re not using something, get rid of it. You don’t have to throw it in the trash, but you could donate to charity, sell it online, have a yard sale, or even give it away – just get it out of your space. The Vietnam Veterans of America will come and pick-up used clothes and household goods, so you can feel good about clearing out, and even get a charity tax write-off.
Turn papers into digital files. We’re often tempted to keep important papers or receipts, and of course, there are some physical papers you need to keep – for these, buy a filing cabinet and store it in the office, the attic, or a closet. For every other paper, scan it and store it digitally. Much faster than a digital scanner is using your phone to take photos and storing it in the cloud, such as Dropbox. Dropbox is a free online secure file storing site that is accessible through mobile – all of your files in one searchable spot.
When you go for the clean, go for the deep clean. This time around, after you’ve gotten rid of the clutter, give every nook and cranny a super-deep clean. Vacuum, dust, bleach, move furniture around to get under, the whole nine-yards. When you give this round a super-deep clean, everything will feel fresh and new, plus, it makes maintenance so much easier. Remember, one room at a time.
Create storage space. As you use things, just put them away to avoid re-creating the clutter nightmare. Take note of areas where you can create organized storage, such as in closets or drawers. Invest in some shelving and some quality plastic bins. Be smart about storage – for example, plastic bins can often be stored underneath other things for items that are only used on occasion, such as decorations, gift wrapping, etc.
Make a maintenance schedule. Finally, set aside time either once per day or once per week to concentrate on keeping things tidy to avoid the task returning to an overwhelming state. Designate certain tasks as a must-do-right-now, such as dishes; make this a rule in your household. Delegate tasks to different members of the house to take the burden off of one person and to create a sense of responsibility for house-wellness within everyone.
What are some of your favorite tips and tricks for giving your home a fresh start?
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