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Declutter for Your Physical and Mental Health

When you're juggling all of your day-to-day responsibilities, it's easy to let things pile up - both figuratively and literally. The first thing to be postponed is usually self-care. That includes things like exercising, eating healthy, sleep hygiene, stress management, and maintaining a physical space conducive to wellbeing. Eventually, we let things like this go for long enough that we reach the point that we cannot take it anymore. However, by the time we decide we're going to do something about the literal piles around our home and start to declutter, figuring out where to start can be so overwhelming that we get stuck at that step and never make progress. Now that many of us are spending a lot more time at home thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, having a healthy and comfortable home environment is suddenly more important than ever. Not only do studies show that a clean home is correlated to better physical health, it is also a major factor in mental health and stress management.

Having a clean and clutter-free home is possible and will feel much more manageable when you break it down into small tasks that can be accomplished quickly.

The first and most important step in the process is coming up with a game plan. The key is breaking your plan down into the most basic steps possible. Rather than "clean kitchen," break the kitchen down into small areas, and then identify each task within each area that you want to tackle. For inspiration in creating your game plan, check out these resources focused on decluttering and keeping a clean house:

  • Unclutterer With a special focus on decluttering and cleaning, this is the ultimate resource to get you started.

  • Apartment Therapy You'll find lots of helpful cleaning and decluttering information here, plus additional resources on home-related topics.

  • The Spruce The Spruce is a treasure trove of information, covering almost any topic you can think of. This is always worth checking out, no matter what type of information you're looking for!

Make sure to take it one step at a time when you get started on implementing your game plan. If you don't feel motivated to do the work or feel overwhelmed, commit to doing just one task on your list. Since the tasks should be very small, that should be a commitment of 5 to 10 minutes of work, and you may find yourself deciding that you can do another task or two before you stop. Bring fun into it wherever possible to keep it from feeling like a boring chore. Put on an upbeat music playlist! Challenge other household members to competitions involving getting the tasks done. Take before and after pictures and show them off to your family and friends.

Finally, take breaks. Rome wasn't built in a day, and transforming your house into a relaxing and restorative home will take some time. Even after you've completed just the first couple of tasks, though, you'll begin to reap the benefits and build momentum to keep going.

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