January seems to revolve around ways to make your life healthier and happier, and your home is no exception. Once Christmas decorations come down and the presents have been put in their rightful place, our homes once again feel fresh. What better time is there than a new year to begin decluttering your home.
In fact, decluttering your home can be more than just beneficial for our environment. It can actually help you physically. In fact it can be beneficial to declutter on many different levels of health; both physical and mental. There’s nothing more freeing than purging and starting fresh with things and habits that make you feel great. When January rolls around I find myself re-evaluating my daily routines. Through this process, I quickly realize there are areas of my house that don’t leave me with a good feeling. More often than not, these areas are the ones that have an overwhelming amount of “things”, toys or products.
I have found that by decluttering my home I am able to simplify. By simplifying my house, I also let it spill over into my entire life. And through simplifying my life, I gain the opportunity to be much more intentional in all I do. This is a chain reaction I can get behind!
The reasons why decluttering your home is beneficial to your health are both fascinating and obvious at the same time:
LESS STUFF = LESS TOXINS
I’ve said it before: YOU are the keeper of your home. This phrase is something I try to keep in my head whenever I’m shopping or purchasing. I get to decide what comes into my home. I get to choose what products I allow in. You get to decide too. Less stuff for me means I control which toxins enter my home. Because let’s face it, some toxins WILL get in to your home. But the great news is that we get to decide exactly which ones and how many.
That being said, it should be obvious that fewer things in your home mean there are fewer toxins inside as well. Fewer plastic items means fewer toxins like plasticers and BPA are present indoors as well. Another example is through the air fresheners and scented candles you have at home. These contain chemicals and toxins that affect the endocrine system (hormones) and can negatively alter their function. By limiting the amount of these in your home, you can greatly reduce the number of toxins within your air and home.
Another place you can get rid of toxins by getting rid of stuff in general is in the kitchen. You can bet this was one of the earlier things I did in my own house. I really thought and chose which containers, water bottles and dishes I needed. By realizing I really didn’t need more than 2 water bottles, I was able to reduce the amount of plastic in my cabinets drastically. It was such a great feeling knowing that I could reduce plastic and toxins in my house with a simple decision.
DECLUTTERING MEANS LESS DUST
Dust is one of your home’s biggest offenders. Between dust and high humidity, your home can quickly become a negative environment in terms of health and wellness. While dust may look annoying, it really is more than just an irritating part of your cleaning routine. Dust has been found by researchers to house chemicals, toxins and even pesticides. The dust in our home that doesn’t get cleaned up ends up making its way through our air and settling on surfaces around the home.
These surfaces that collect dust are simply a housing facility for these harmful components. If your home were free of some of these areas, there would be less dust sitting around for long periods of time. The living room is often a particularly dusty spot. If an item just doesn’t belong in your house, I urge you to put the items in the donate pile.
I have two young girls, and for the last six years I feel like toys have been my nemesis. There not only everywhere, but there’s also just SO many of them. I have found that by decluttering play areas, my kids actually play with the toys more frequently and for longer periods of time. I attribute this to the fact that they’re not getting distracted by the sight of other toys. Janet Lansbury talks a lot about the need for simplicity in her blog posts; which I highly recommend. She offers clutter free ways you can have play spaces in your home that are not only healthy for your kids play habits, but involve fewer toxic items.
A clean and fresh room in your home will no doubt make you feel at peace or content. In comparison, a cluttered, overstuffed room in your home will leave you feeling overwhelmed. There’s a truth to the fact that fewer items and fewer things around the home are beneficial for your mental health as well. A cluttered and busy house often leads to a cluttered and busy mind. In order to streamline your daily life and make it more efficient it’s best to follow some decluttering tips. Things around the house end up being just items that require attention to maintain, or they become items that distract. Either way, it’s a positive impact on your home to remove what you don’t need.
HOW TO DECLUTTER
I personally don’t follow any set rule when decluttering, but I have a system in place that helps me find items to put in the trash bag or donate. I also don’t do all my decluttering and organizing in one day or one sitting. I think of this as a marathon, not a sprint. Often times the areas that need the most help are places I use as storage space and forgotten closets like the linen closet.
First, I put each of these areas in a checklist. I use Google Keep so I always have access to it and I can keep up on the progress I’m making. Then I choose either one evening or one weekend day and work on each area at a time. So if your home has 50 spaces that need decluttering (and my guess is your home doesn’t) you just have to accomplish one space per week.
Once I have the areas cleaned out and a bit more empty, I assess the space to see if I really do need organization tools like baskets and bins. Often times I can use items from other spaces I’ve recently cleaned to organize the new space.
For me baskets (made of wire or cloth) make the most sense and I like that I can move them to different spaces in my home as I need. These are some of my favorite baskets for storing things in cabinets:
Organic Rope Baskets
Cloth Storage Bins
Below is my master list of places to declutter in your home and a checklist of how to go through each space.
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