Whether you are struggling with depression, have a new baby, or just have a chaotic life, the concept of cleaning and decluttering can seem like an overwhelming task that is simply outside of your reach right now. In fact, many people wrestle with whether or not cleaning should be a priority.
But, knowing that having a cleaner environment will help improve your mood and make your life more peaceful may make you want to pursue cleaning regularly.
Here are some ideas on how to incorporate cleaning into your life.
Most people put off cleaning because the task seems way too big to tackle. But instead of expecting to get the entire house into order in one weekend, start small and do just a little bit each day. In other words, commit to doing one thing around your home each day and before you know it, your environment will be much cleaner and less stressful in no time.
For instance, pick one thing you want to do each day and then follow through. One day you might wipe down all of the kitchen counters. The next day you might clean the toilet and wash the bathroom sink. The next day you might dust all of the shelves, and the next day you might pick up all the clothes scattered around the house and put them in a laundry basket.
The key is that you don't make your to-do list bigger than what you can mentally handle or you will just increase your stress rather than reduce it.
Set a Timer
Another option for getting a cleaning routine started is to set a timer and see how much cleaning you can get done in that period of time.
For example, set aside 15, 20, or even 30 minutes to clean. Then, set a timer and start cleaning in any area of your home. Start by picking up things that are lying on the floor or on the coffee table and put them away. When the timer goes off, you are done for the day!
Even though setting a time for a few minutes may not seem like much time, you can accomplish a lot more than you might imagine. Plus, you aren't overwhelming yourself by thinking that you have to devote three hours of your Saturday to cleaning. You get what you can complete and then you move on to something else.
Be Proud of Your Cleaning Supplies
When cleaning, use products that you enjoy, whether it be because of their fragrance, aesthetic, bottle shape, color, and so on. Remember, you want to make cleaning as enjoyable as possible, so use products that are not just effective but also pleasing to you.
Don’t Dress Like You’re Cleaning
Wearing dirty or raggedy clothes is too often associated with cleaning. By doing this, you’re establishing that cleaning is dirty (which it definitely can be) and less desirable than other household duties. Further, no one looks forward to a job that they would be embarrassed to be seen doing.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! The way you dress can drastically affect your mentality in doing something, so pick out some clothes that would make you happy to clean. Of course, you don’t have to wear your best outfit – instead, wear something that you would wear if you were going to lunch with a friend. Now you can feel better about the way you look when cleaning, which helps to set the tone for a successful and more fun cleaning.
Sometimes you are at a point in your life where cleaning is just not something you can handle on your own. Maybe you're recovering from a major illness, running your own business, raising a house full of kids, or trying to work and go to school. Whatever your situation, if you know you cannot possibly accomplish everything that needs to be done without help, then you should consider involving others.
Ask Friends and Family For Help
Although asking for help may be hard, most people are willing to help if you ask. So, talk to your partner, enlist your kids, or ask a friend or family member if they will help you get started. Plus, it's a lot easier to tackle big projects when you have the help of others!
Get Outside Help
If you have room in your budget, you also could consider hiring someone to clean your house once or twice a month. To keep costs down, consider having them do the hard tasks like cleaning the bathrooms only and then clean the other areas of your home on your own.
You also could consider getting a robot vacuum so that you don't have to worry about the floors. Look for ways to simplify the cleaning that needs to be done and it will become more manageable over time.
When Cleaning Becomes a Compulsion
Although there is nothing wrong with being a neat freak and looking to cleaning as a way to calm your nerves and destress, it does become an issue when your cleanliness and need for order in your home starts to become a compulsion.
For instance, if you won't go out with your friends or you cancel plans because you haven't finished all your cleaning tasks for the day or week, then that could be a red flag that your desire for a clean home has become a compulsion.
Likewise, cleaning can become an issue if it's impacting your physical health, feels a little obsessive, or is interfering with your schedule like making you late for work or school.
If you are unsure whether or not your cleaning habits are constructive or bordering on a compulsion, you may want to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional for advice. A therapist can help you determine which behaviors are healthy and which might need to be altered. They can also provide other coping mechanisms for depression, anxiety, or stress.
On Your Path to Cleaning Mastery!
If cleaning and decluttering helps ease your stress, reduces your anxiety, and lifts your mood, then by all means grab your cleaning tools and get started. After all, a messy or cluttered home can be distracting. Just be sure your cleaning habits aren't a crutch. You don't want to rely solely on cleaning to give your life order and predictability.
There are times when things won't go as planned and you won't be able to clean. So, make sure you are prepared if things don’t work out exactly as planned – it happens!
Conversely, if you are struggling with depression or another mental health issue and long for a clean and organized home, but just don't have the energy to do it, try starting small. Even if that means just picking up all the clothes off the floor on one day and loading the dishwasher on the next day, taking little steps to clean up your environment will feel more manageable and less overwhelming.
And, more importantly, it may even lift your mood to have taken a small step toward organizing and cleaning your environment.
All information provided by www.verywellmind.com.