How Home Organization + Cleanliness Affect Your Wellbeing - The Life You Love

How Home Organization + Cleanliness Affect Your Wellbeing

I grew up with a stay-at-home mom who always kept the house clean.  It was by no means minimalist, but it was tidy and we (almost) always knew where everything was.  When I went to college and no one told me to fold my laundry and put my dishes in the dishwasher, any bit of cleanliness went right out the dirty, streaked window.  And then my depression got the best of me and I was fatigued and apathetic.  I never cleaned and I couldn't have cared less.  Of course, it all just got worse.  The less I cleaned, the less I cared.  And the less I care, the less I cleaned.

Never once did it cross my mind that maybe - just freaking maybe - I could have improved everything else, like my mood and thoughts, by just picking up and cleaning.

Our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors all affect each other.  If we think that we're not good at something, we're not going to get any better at it and we're going to feel pretty lousy.  If we can change that thought, we can actually work to improve and to feel better.  Even if you don't all of a sudden master whatever you were trying to do, you'll still improve and it's a lot better than the alternative of pouting around the house.

Think about it.  The last time that you were feeling overwhelmed, what kind of thoughts were you having?  You probably told yourself shit like, "UGH, I don't have time for this!" and you probably had difficulty focusing on just one thing at a time.  And I bet your home was pretty unorganized.

Now think about the last time you felt like your house was truly organized and cleaned.  How did that make you feel?  I always feel accomplished, cozy, and motived when my house is clean.  What did you think about?  Hell, you may not have even thought about your house because you didn't have to dwell on how badly you needed to clean.

When you clean and organize, positive things happen.  First of all, your house will be clean (duh).  Can you imagine actually being able to find what you're looking for without digging through piles of old clothes that you haven't worn since college?!  Second, you're going to feel so much more productive and accomplished.  When you're feeling productive, you get on a roll and you're more likely to get other stuff done!  You can start with little tasks before tackling bigger projects.  Third, you'll have more time for yourself and the things that you actually want to do (because I doubt that you just want to clean all of the time).  And fourth, your health and happiness will improve!  Not only will you get rid of the dust on top of your unread magazines, but you'll also reduce your stress levels and improve your sleep quality.

resources & tips

  • Stop buying paper books and magazines.  Get a library card, use apps like Kindle & Texture, and look online for resources.
  • OptOutPrescreen - Eliminate paper clutter and waste by opting out of pre-approved credit notices for 5 years.
  • New Order: A Decluttering Handbook for Creative Folks (and Everyone Else) by Fay Wolf - A quick read that offers actionable advice to make your life feel a little more minimal, organized, and productive.
  • Create your own cleaning schedule.  Include specific times to reorganize and declutter.
  • Planner Pro is my favorite app for keeping track of tasks and events.  It's free for the basic version or $4.99 for a year for the pro version.
  • Simply Clean: The Proven Method for Keeping Your Home Organized, Clean and Beautiful in Just 10 Minutes a Day by Becky Rapinchuk - I haven't read this book, but it looks very helpful and it's on my list!
  • I recently started poking around on Unfuck Your Habitat and I think I'm going to love it.  It has cleaning challenges, tips, schedules, and more.
  • Use a bathroom caddy (it's back-to-school time so Target has plenty) to keep your cleaning supplies together and easy to access.
  • Put candles, air fresheners, or essential oil diffusers around your house.  The only thing that can make a clean, organized house even better is one that smells amazing.
  • Challenge yourself to use what you have before you replace it.  Stop stockpiling hair products and notebooks that you probably won't even use.  Take it a step further and put yourself on a spending freeze.  If you aren't spending money on stuff you don't need, you aren't bringing stuff you don't need into your house.
What are your favorite resources and tips for keeping an organized home?  How does having a clean home make you feel?  And how does having an unclean house make you feel?  Remember those emotions so you can remind yourself why you love having a clean house.

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