Cleaning your home is a great way to help improve your overall health. Over the past year we’ve upped our hygiene habits and cleaning regimens in light of the pandemic. Thoroughly cleaning your home is a great way to maintain a healthy environment by removing dust, mold, pet dander, etc. that can also be triggers for your immune system if you are prone to allergies. Aside from wiping down all surfaces, cleaning your bedding, and sweeping/mopping floors; a great cleaning tip is to take your pillows and put them in the dryer on a low setting for 10 minutes to kill dust mites.
In addition to cleaning your home, creating an organized and decluttered space can improve your emotional health by decreasing your stress level and increasing your ability to focus.
It’s amazing how often we just put things away with the thought, “I’ll use that when…” but that “when” doesn’t happen for any number of reasons and then you’re left with extra things that take up space. Doing an inventory of your home also provides an opportunity to do a self-check-in, assessing where things are, and giving yourself a greater sense of control over the spaces around you and how you want them to function.
Personally, there are items that I’ve held on to because of an emotional attachment, but in reality, the items sit in a closet or cabinet and often go unused. A great example is the grandmother clock I made in middle school shop class. The clock mechanism has been broken for some years and it no longer works. I aspired to fix it, but that has not happened to date, so it remains in my storage closet not serving any purpose other than a reminder of my much younger self.
I’m sure many of you can think of something similar in your home. But when faced with challenges, there are always opportunities. This spring I’m embracing the opportunity to organize and create spaces that makes me happy. I’m working my way through each room of my home, doing my personal inventory as I go along. As a part of my personal inventory, I’ve asked myself the following important questions:
- Have I used this in the past year or two?
- If not, does this item have a purpose in my home?
Taking the emotion out of the questions allows me to really examine what purpose items have related to my day-to-day life. If the items are in good condition, you may consider listing it for sale via various online platforms, or you can inquire about consigning. If you are not interested in generating extra money, you can always donate gently used items to local organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or other more hyper-local organizations.
When it comes to clothes, there are several ways to pare things down. Look through your closet and pull out all of the items that you don’t fit and have not worn because of that. Another great option for your closet is to turn your hangers all in the same direction, once you’ve worn an item, switch the direction of the hanger. By doing this you have a better idea of what you actually use and what you may not need. You may also be able to make a little money by consigning items or selling items. You can also donate items to organizations that help others like Dress for Success, local shelters, etc.
Cleaning out, donating, and discarding items can be really cathartic, not only are you clearing the clutter in your home (even if its behind closed doors) but you are helping to clear space for yourself, helping others, and potentially making extra money.
About the Author
Nancy Mulholland serves as the Program Manager for Warrick Dunn Charities, Inc. By sharing her personal health journey with high blood pressure and what she’s learned along the way, Nancy seeks to empower others to prioritize their overall health and well-being.