If your house is anything like mine, the new year brought abundant new forms of clutter. From holiday gifts to the long list of messy resolutions and hobbies to see through, my once comforting surroundings got out of hand – FAST. Luckily 2020 also brought new creative ways to tame such chaos to keep your sanctuary in tip-top shape with ease.
How Clutter Affects Your Mind
You may have heard something along the lines of a tidy room show a tidy mind, Science seems to agree. In 2011, a Princeton University study showed more clutter creates more stimulation that, in turn, competes for your attention even if we don’t realize it.
Another study looking at 60 dual income households showed cluttered spaces not only affect our productivity but our mood and health.
Three days after home tours, wives showing more cluttered home scores resulted in an increased depressed mood according to cortisol levels whereas the women with positive home results showed a decrease in depression in only a single day.
If that wasn’t enough to get your donation box out, among other concerns, Alice Boyes Ph.D. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and social psychology expert warns people of the strain clutter can put socially on households. As well as the numerous benefits like it’s energizing effects and stress reduction. Apparently, a cluttered space does indeed seem to lead to a cluttered mind.
How To Declutter – Three Methods
The KonMari Method offers a beautiful simplification to deal with an untidy home that focuses on grouping items by category. Pick a miscellaneous item to start with such as books and magazines or clothing and group them together. Sentimental items come next in which the tidying expert instructs “Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service – then let them go.
The 20/10 Method
The 20/10 Method is all about not overwhelming yourself. The word “cleaning” still reminds me of the torturous punishment given to me by my parents. The overwhelming mountain I had to climb before I could go out to play. This method is about blowing that mountain into manageable boulders instead.
Instead of taking the entire world on, pick a single task; fold that load of laundry and tackle those dishes then take a break to putz online or enjoy the weather and take a walk. Set yourself a timer, 20 minutes on and 10 minutes off, adjust it to meet your needs. The idea is not to overwhelm yourself.
Good Old Fashioned Checklists are another great option to get on track. Keeping yourself in motion is easier when you know where you need to go next. Having your objectives written down frees your mind to focus on one task at a time, prevents forgetting things, and grants a satisfying sense of accomplishment as you get to put that lovely check of completion next to your task. You can create your own list and personalize it to your specific needs or find one of the many ready-to-use lists available online.
10 Cleaning Tactics To Have You Organizing Like A Pro
1. Let the Steam Clean Your Microwave for You
Before you break your back scrubbing the caked on food from the inside of your microwave. Add one cup of water and one tablespoon of vinegar to a microwave safe container. Heat for several minutes. Carefully remove the cup with an oven mitt and wipe the built-up grime away with ease.
2. Make Your Own Homemade Stain Remover
Add two Tablespoons of Hydrogen peroxide to a 1⁄4 cup of baking soda until you get a paste. Use this paste tackle tough kitchen and bathroom stains like soap mildew and grease. For tougher stains, let the paste sit on the surface for several hours before scrubbing and voila! Just like new.
3. Use a Sock To Get between your blinds
Remove stubborn, hard to get dust from blinds by placing an old tube sock on your hand and Dipping it into a solution made from one part water to one part vinegar for easy cleaning and here I thought my sock puppet days were over.
4. Give Your Lampshades New Life With a Lint Roller
Fabric material can collect dust and many materials are easily ruined with liquids. Solve this by running it over with a Lint roller. Easy Peasy.
5. Dish Soap Works on Couch Stains
Dab a stain on your couch with Dawn dish soap, let it sit for several minutes. Wipe it away with a wet wash rag and wash the stain disappear with the soap.
6. Take Care of Hard Mineral Deposits with a Toothbrush
Take a wet toothbrush and add baking soda to the bristles. Polish away greasy grime and mineral stains until your faucets look brand new again.
7. Take a Vacuum to your Lint Trap
I recently did this and was shocked by how much debris came out of my dryer. Emptying the lint trap and wiping it down with a wet rag wasn’t enough. Making sure your dryer is clean of excessive lint is a must to prevent the risk of fires.
8. Use a Laundry Bag to Clean Small Toys
If you’ve watched a small child play you can imagine the microbial buffet that resides on their toys. Fear not though, placing small toys like legos or figurines can actually be cleaned by placing them in a mesh laundry bag before running through the washing machine or dishwasher.
9. Rubber Gloves work like a charm on Pet Hair
Pet lover rejoice, dealing with pesky pet hair covering everything just got a lot easier. Dampen a rubber glove before taking it furniture. The hair sticks to glove instead of the fabric.
10. When all else Fails, Use a Magic Eraser
Maybe my favorite store bought cleaning hack. Magic erasers are truly magical. They can be used on anything from baseboards, faucets, counters, toothbrush holder grime and more. It wipes away imperfections like regular sponges cannot. Always test it on an inconspicuous spot before going to town with it though as it can wipe away some varnishes.
Smartphone Meet Smart Home
It’s true, there seems to be an app for everything these days and the art of staying organized is no exception. Here are a few of the best.
A fantastic application used to keep an inventory of your home. You can keep track of items in your house by conveniently adding photos, serial numbers and warranty
information in one easy to find place. Sortly keeps track of your valuables in case there should be a need for reimbursement.
A great way to include the whole family in household maintenance. For $4 on iTunes this keeps track of regular chores by setting how often then need to be done, when they were last completed and by who. Toddy makes setting up an incentive program for little helpers as well as letting everyone know what it takes to keep the ship afloat.
The Perfect app for keeping organized with roommates. Keep track of simpler inventory like toilet paper and eggs and whose turn it is to purchase these items. Divvy up chores here can help prevent those harrowing dishwashing squabbles.
Sometimes there’s just not enough time to complete the tasks needed to keep an organized home. This is why I love TaskRabbit so much. It makes finding help easy and fast for jobs like setting up that new bookcase or fixing your garbage disposal pain-free. Find the average costs of projects and book them right from the app.
Gadgets Can Make Life Easier
It may seem counterintuitive to bring more things in but here are a few new toys that just might be worth the space.
Automatic Floor Cleaners
Robot vacuums like the Roomba or mops like the iRobot Braava connect to your wifi and get to work without you even needing to be home. Set them to a timer or to start at the touch of a button. Those tough to reach spots get a whole lot easier when you’re four inches tall. Control the robots from an app from your phone or computer.
Self Scrubbing Brushes
There’s no elbow grease needed with this modern marvel. Similar to an electric toothbrush the Sonic Scrubber as circular rotation bristles the does the hard work for you making tough jobs like cleaning the stove top seem effortless.
Window Cleaning Machines
Cleaning windows can be tedious and at times dangerous work. Now it can be downright fun with the Gladwell Gecko Robot Window Cleaner. Using a remote
control you can send the washable microfiber cleaners up to the very top of your window while you remain safe on the ground. Sensors automatically detect the edge of a window ensuring it stops when it needs to.
A Final Thought
Clutter affects us in more ways than we may realize. The benefits of keeping an organized home have never been so apparent. Luckily for us tried and true methods, techniques, gadgets, and apps are available to guide us. Truly achieving the organized sanctuary we desire has never been easier.
As Edmund Burke once said,
“Good order is the foundation of all things.”