When I was young, I always thought of cleaning as a chore. When I grew older, I was surprised to learn about the link between clean environments and your mental health. As it turns out, when your space is clean, it can be easier to focus and you can feel less exhausted at the end of the day. What’s more, cleaning can give you an incredible sense of accomplishment.
At first, the task can seem daunting, especially if there’s a lot to clean. We’re going to give you seven tips to help break the work down into bite-sized pieces, which can make getting started (and finished) a lot easier.
Your Mindset Matters
The first tip is simple: go into junk removal with a positive outlook. It’s going to take some time and effort, but the results are going to be well worth it. You might find it useful throughout the cleaning process to keep the Marie Kondo method in mind – if you’re not sure whether or not to keep something, hold it tightly to your chest. If you don’t feel a deep emotional attachment to the object (if it doesn’t “spark joy”) you can discard it. You might even create piles based on how much joy something sparks in you!
You’re going to go room by room, cleaning out clutter. It’s often a good idea to create three piles for this clutter – keep, donate, and trash. Plan out which rooms you’re going to tackle when – to keep a positive mindset, it can be helpful to start with an easier task and work your way up to bigger tasks. You’ll have more room to sort through stuff, and whenever you feel down you can look at what you’ve already accomplished in order to put a positive spin on things.
Set goals for yourself – “I’ll reduce the clutter in the master bedroom by 70% within the next week” is a good example. SMART goals are perfect here – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
You’ll also want to buy any necessary supplies in advance. You may need gloves, garbage bags (of two different colors for garbage/donate), cleaning supplies, and boxes. Also, you may need to rent a dumpster.
Create a schedule (if that’s your thing) and get started!
One of the most exhausting things about cleaning is that constant decision making – decision fatigue is a real thing, and it’s why so many powerful people have incredibly simple wardrobes. One way of avoiding this fatigue is by creating guidelines that make your decisions for you well in advance. You might, for example, decide to donate any clothes that you haven’t worn in the last two years.
Take Regular Breaks
To make the work you’re doing a bit less difficult, it can be helpful to take regular breaks. One way you can go about this is by using the Pomodoro Technique: you work for 25 minutes, break for 3-5 minutes, then work for 25 minutes again. After doing this about four times consecutively (about two hours), take a longer break of about 30 minutes, then get back to it.
There are a number of other timeboxing techniques you can use, and those who don’t love scheduling can abstain from these techniques altogether – just remember to take regular breaks if you need them to keep your energy high.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
There’s strength in numbers – and resilience too. You can ask your friends and family for help with your cleaning project, especially if there are heavy things to lift. Offer them their pick of the donation pile, some free food and drinks, and make an event of it.
Don’t feel like asking your loved ones to give you a hand? Consider hiring outside help. There are junk removal services and cleaning services that can help you make short work of the mess in your home.
Look at Your Donation Options
There are many different places you can donate used clothes, books, electronics, and other unwanted items to. What’s more, many of these services will actually pick up donations from your home, which can seriously reduce the amount of work you have to do. These options vary from region to region, so you’ll have to do a bit of research, but it’s well worth the effort.
Keep Things Tidy
Cleaning out junk can be a bit of an ordeal, and once you’ve done it, you don’t want to have to do it again. Take this opportunity to review your storage options and your buying habits. When you’re going to purchase something, ask yourself if you really need it. If you do really need it, ask yourself if there’s a similar item that you can replace with the item you’re purchasing. Let’s say you update your wardrobe with a new shirt – is there a similar shirt you can get rid of? By constantly ridding your home of things you no longer need, you can avoid having to do a bunch of work all in one go.
Now that your place is cleaned of junk, you can imagine all of the different ways you can use your space. New furniture? New paint? Renovations? The sky’s the limit. You may notice improvements to your mental health, and more joy in your day to day – it’s well deserved.
About The Author: Kiara is a writer based in Canada. She writes articles with a focus on marketing and home improvement for a variety of businesses. Some of her favorite pieces can be found on the Pinnacle Painting’s website.
Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash
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