If you’ve been feeling a bit low lately, you may want to take a look around your home. Studies indicate that clutter promotes stress and negatively affects life satisfaction, physical health, and cognition because people are so connected to their home environments. In other words, your home is an extension of yourself, so if it’s a disorganized mess, you’re likely to feel the same. Interestingly enough, this is quite a common problem. A survey revealed that 54 percent of Americans are overwhelmed with clutter, and 78 percent of them don’t know how to deal with it. Experts agree that starting small and taking a room-by-room approach will help you retain your focus without feeling too overwhelmed.
Declutter the Feng Shui Way
As you go through each room in your home, start by decluttering—a task that is actually a very important principal in the practice of Feng Shui. The belief is that every area of your home has energy and functions much like the human body. For example, a congested and stagnant house is compared to someone suffering from a cold or illness. Decluttering restores the health of the home and its residents. To help you let go of things, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I need it?
- Do I really love it?
- Does it represent my current life?
- What memories or emotions are associated with it? If negative, it’s best to let it go.
- Would I take this item with me if I was moving?
Organize Each Room
The organizing process will be a lot easier after you declutter. It may even make it easier to find additional things to purge that you missed the first time around. Here are some room-by-room tips for organizing:
- Entryways: This includes any place that immediately sets the tone the moment you open the door. Make sure important items like your car keys are easily accessible so you’re not scrambling in the morning. Don’t leave shoes, bags, and coats in eye’s view when you walk in the door. If you’re short on space, get an organizational system to store everything in a neat manner.
- Living room: Don’t overstuff bookshelves and entertainment-center furniture with an abundance of knickknacks. Not only does this look cluttered, you’ll have more to keep clean. Consider space-saving furniture like a coffee table that doubles as a trunk to store things like the blanket on the couch, remote controls, and reading material.
- Kitchen: Try to remove as many appliances off the countertops as possible. Downsize the items in each drawer that you never use. Return miscellaneous items that may not belong in the kitchen to their proper place.
- Bedrooms: Remove extraneous items from the top of nightstands, dressers, and desks—it goes without saying that you need to do the same on the inside. Fold/hang and put away any clothing that may be strewn around the room. Add organizational storage in the closet if you need more space.
- Bathrooms: Like the bedroom, remove superfluous items from shelving, medicine cabinet, shower/bath, and counter. Toss or get bins to store everything under the sink and out of view.
Decorate to Destress
Create a Zen-like atmosphere with plants (natural air purifiers), soft lighting options, candles, and home fragrance. While there’s nothing wrong with scent diffusers, there are more benefits to using essential oils. Unlike synthetic fragrances, essential oils truly work on a sensory level to affect your mood (and can be purchased for under $15). Along with diffusers, put a few drops of oil on a cotton ball and place in various areas of the home—make sure the balls are out of reach from kids and pets. Oils like lavender, cinnamon leaf, cedarwood, lime, grapefruit, and eucalyptus (among others) have a calming effect.
Make it a point to tidy up regularly—ideally once a week so things don’t get out of hand. Whether you’re home a lot or your home is more of a place to decompress in between a hectic work week, it should feel like a safe haven from the outside world. If you take pride in home ownership, it’s likely that you’ll take pride in yourself, too.
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