The next time you’re home, look around. Do you see saucepans piled in the sink, clothes strewn across the floor, the trash can and the recycle bin overflowing? If so, you’re not alone. Many of us have cluttered homes, but that doesn’t mean you’re a hoarder. Like the rest of us, you’re often so busy that days or weeks slip by without presenting an opportunity to clean up. So here are some tidiness habits that are super easy and that will lead you to domestic bliss – or at least relaxation.
Benefits of Decluttering
Decluttering your living space brightens up your worldview. People with decluttering businesses say that their clients feel better upon dredging their homes of all the belongings they don’t need or don’t use. Some of the benefits of decluttering include better sleep, less anxiety, and more self-confidence. Think about it: When you’re living or working amid clutter, you can feel all the things pressing in on you, so don’t be scared to minimize. It’ll help you focus.
Cleaning Your House The first step in tackling your clutter is to give your house an old-fashioned cleaning. Scrub the baseboards. Dust behind the appliances. Pitch everything that you don’t need. If that sounds time-consuming, people have come up with ways to clean your whole house in an hour. Step
one: Start at the top. Clean the ceiling fans, move down to the furniture, and vacuum the carpets and mop the floors. As you’re going, don’t inspect each wayward item you find. Instead, keep a box handy where you can put it in before you find a place for it. Make this tidying regimen into a habit until you’re always spot-checking and picking up after yourself so that “cleaning day” doesn’t turn into a daunting project.
A Place for Everything, and Everything in Its Place
Take time to parse through what you own and decide how much of it you need. If that sounds overwhelming, here are some creative ways to begin. First, the “12-12-12 Challenge.” Heard of it? It’s when you select 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate, and 12 items that you may have borrowed and can be taken back to their proper homes. Other challenges and games like these exist, and their point is not just cosmetic. Discarding what you don’t need is a huge psychological relief. Everything changes, and when it’s time to get rid of old photographs, clothes from high school, or frayed childhood blankets, then do it and let yourself move on. Work room by room but don’t neglect less-frequented spaces like your basement and attic. Go through unused items like luggage, holiday decorations, and memorabilia and see what you can toss.
If you have a yard or a patio, keep that space tidy. Cut back trees or limbs overhanging your driveway. Mow the lawn. After you plant your garden, pat down a layer of mulch underneath, to give it a clean, ordered look. Always put away shoes, bikes, kids’ toys, and gardening tools in the yard. The last thing you want is to run over a trowel left out and accidentally blow one of your car’s back tires. (And give the neighbors an excuse to tisk-tisk from their windows.)
Decluttering doesn’t just mean folding the blankets off the couch and raking leaves off your lawn. You can also dredge out the inessential in all aspects of your life. Clean your car. Weed your sidewalks. Cut ties with people who are toxic. Erase apps off your iPhone that you never use. However you can, throw out the junk to let in what the future holds.
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