For most of us – whether we are high flying business executives, overworked interns, or stay at home moms (or dads) – our day to day lives are busy: really busy. There seems to be a non-stop stream of things that need to be done, and what’s more – this stream often rushes along a circular path. As each week draws to a close with a million tasks completed, another day is dawning that signals the start of a new week and a million more tasks we have yet to begin. Working hours increase year on year, not to mention people’s appetites for instant gratification, leading to the demands on your time growing ever greater. On those rare evenings when your diary shows a blank page or the kids are staying at their granny’s, you need to grab a few precious hours of ‘me time’ and relaxation. Coming home to a messy or unclean environment will sap any energy you may have left to enjoy and make the most of your respite from the rat race. Even worse – waking up in this kind of environment each morning will set you up for a bad day making everything seem twice as stressful. Your home should be your haven – a den of tranquillity away from the shouted demands of the outside world; here’s how to make sure that it is.
Clutter is the enemy of a peaceful mind. It is difficult to focus, relax or unwind if everywhere you look there is ‘stuff’: piles of it on shelves and surfaces, overflowing from drawers, or scattered about the floor. Sort it out by being ruthless. Get rid of things that serve no purpose – such as ornaments or decorations. Look out for things you never use. These might be anything form sporting equipment, musical instruments or art supplies, to DVDs, games or even books. Decide whether you would really like to start using them or if they were an impulse buy to fit in with some craze. If you could start using them and this will be possible with a little life organisation keep them and put them on display ready to use. If not – get rid of them! De-cluttering does not only apply to objects.
In order to make time to start doing activities you enjoy and that enrich your life (i.e. to start using your equipment) you will also have to de-clutter your mind and your schedule. A great way to do this is to delete or limit your time on social media profiles (no more focussing on gossip, comparing yourself to others, or worrying about who likes your posts) and entertainment accounts (how many hours do you realistically waste on Netflix or NowTV?).
Make it easier to do the things that need doing by eliminating surplus tasks or products. By completing chores and everyday tasks more efficiently, you will have more time to relax or pursue your interests. Tiny changes to your routine can make a big difference overall. For instance – putting dirty laundry straight into the washing machine and pressing go when it gets full saves the hassle of sorting through the washing basket. If you prefer to separate coloured and white washes, invest in a laundry hamper that is dived into sections to save you the effort of sorting. Another tip is to only buy one bottle of surface cleaner – trust us, this will be fine for all rooms and all surfaces. Look for ways you can make life simpler around your home or scour the internet for inspiration.
The big 5
These are 5 daily tasks you should never skip. Each only takes a few minutes to complete, but as soon as you miss it for a day – things start to pile up and get messy. Making sure you always do these five things will work wonders for keeping your home environment in order and your stress levels down. Make your bed in the morning, do the dishes when you have finished eating, pick up laundry as you go or put worn items straight into the washing basket, wipe down countertops after use, and vacuum common areas. Keeping a small ‘Dust Buster’ handy will help you to stay on top of vacuuming in areas where it is required regularly without lugging around the full-sized hoover.
Surround yourself with goodness
Lastly – to encourage a positive state of mind and healthy lifestyle – surround yourself with things that make you feel good, promote health, and most of all do not lead to guilty feelings. Fill your fridge with healthy foods and snacks, and make sure your fruit bowl always has something in it. Throw out junk food or sugary snacks. The effect that these have on your mind, body and overall wellbeing is ultimately detrimental. Put up bookshelves or inspirational art; set up an easel in the corner; map out how you would like your life to look and put up a flowchart of how to achieve this; invest in an exercise bike you can ride in the living room in front of the TV. In short make sure that the first thing you see when you walk through the door is something that inspires you to make the most of your evenings off in whatever way brings you the most enjoyment and the greatest feelings of pride and achievement.