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Clean Your Space
Clutter, clutter, clutter everywhere!
I don’t know about you, but when everything is messy, filled with junk, or generally disorganized, I my stress levels get pretty high.
There is something especially wonderful about watching a space go from cluttered to clean. When it happens, I feel like I can breathe again.
Not only can I function more efficiently within my space, I can also think more clearly because everything is where it belongs and I can find what I need.
Researchers Stephanie McMains and Sabine Kastner (2011) took a look at our ability to focus around clutter. Guess what they found?
We are more likely to be focused when there isn’t a lot of clutter. Also, when there is clutter, we are more likely to be distracted.
(Want to read more? Check out their full research article here).
I just love living and working within mostly empty spaces. Simplicity is wonderfully calming.
So how does something like cleaning get to be a self care practice??
1. Cleaning relieves stress
Like I said above, the outcome of cleaning can be a great way to promote a more relaxed self. However, the action of cleaning can also be relaxing. Maybe it’s the cardio involved in some cleaning tasks. Or perhaps it’s because we are focused on completing a single task instead of attempting to multitask.
For me, cleaning helps me process a stressful situation. As I’m scrubbing, mopping, folding, or vacuuming, I have time to focus my thoughts on whatever is bothering me. And it feels fantastic to do that while doing something good and productive.
2. Cleaning helps us take ownership
Have you ever heard someone say “well, that’s not MY mess” or “that’s not my responsibility”?
Cleaning helps us better appreciate what we have. We learn about each crack and crevice on our plates. We discover the ins and outs of our carpet (and that one corner that catches ALL the dust). We better understand what surrounds us each day and how to treat our living environment with care.
When we clean, we are caring for what we have, whether it’s rented, owned, or borrowed. We send a message to ourselves that we are capable of responsibility. And that’s really empowering.
3. Cleaning promotes routine
I’m a huge fan of finding a balance between routine and spontaneity. Whenever I err one way or the other, I find myself craving that balance. Too much spontaneity makes me want routine. And vice versa.
Cleaning on a regular basis can be a snippet of your every day routine. Even constant travelers can use cleaning as part of their routine. Finding something to tidy up each day, regardless of where you are (home, the airport, a hotel, an RV, etc.) can promote routine even when the rest of your life is all over the place.
I’ve been there- no routine, no regular plans. It’s great at first, but then the desire for regularity kicks in.
Maybe cleaning is the key for finding that routine, however small it may be.
4. Cleaning promotes a healthy environment
This one should be pretty straightforward. Cleaning gets rid of dirt and grim. And it prevents bugs, bacteria, or pests from cohabiting in your dwelling.
No one wants a rat in their kitchen.
Also, cleaning promotes cleaner air (aka less dust) which then promotes healthier lungs! Cleaning also helps prevent us from stepping on something, tripping, or similarly injuring ourselves.
I have a few suggestions for anyone ready to get cleaning:
1. Switch your perspective
Stop considering cleaning a chore. Start thinking of cleaning as a practice in self care. Remember how you will benefit mentally from the act of cleaning.
2. Start small
What do I mean? For starters, start doing small tasks if cleaning really isn’t something you do regularly. Don’t overwhelm yourself! The purpose of this practice is to promote a better and healthier you.
Also, I mean start by doing a bunch of the quick and easy tasks first. When those are all done, and you take a step back, I’m quite certain you’ll notice a huge difference without having had to expend much energy!
So what might this cleaning look like?
It will be different for everyone, but here are some starting ideas:
1. Clean your sheets and make your bed. It’s hat simple. If this isn’t something you do regularly, try it!
2. Clean one room of your house at a time.
3. Make a calendar of when you’ll clean certain rooms or items.
4. If you can, get cleaning supplies that make you excited. As an example, I get excited when I’m able to use good for the earth cleaning supplies.