Stress is practically endemic to modern living. There are always tens of things that need doing around the home: dishes need to be washed, the AC filter needs to be changed, clothes need to be put away, the coffeemaker needs to be shut off. The list can go on and on, but you can make some positive changes in your living spaces that will help you cope better with the anxiety of navigating your busy, noisy life.
1. De-clutter to de-stress
Decluttering is more than just the buzzword du jour. There’s ample evidence that clutter can amp up stress in our lives. When you can’t even make your way to the front door without tripping over a pile of bills, it’s going to cause anxiety. Meanwhile, clutter can also attract dust and germs, which can affect asthma and other respiratory conditions.
If your home is overrun with excess bric-a-brac, start by clearing out just one space that can help you gain a foothold over your stuff. Make sure to throw away anything you don’t really need. Stop hanging onto things you might one day need.
2. Harness the positive power of light
Dim and dark interiors can really send a positive mood plummeting. Exposure to natural light isn’t just a nicety — it’s necessary to overall physical and mental health. For instance, an often quoted study that demonstrates just how vital sunlight is to our wellness is this one that looked at jail inmates. Just allowing prisoners access to a window with a view reduced their calls to the infirmary significantly. Take your cue from these scientific findings and let the light into your home by replacing heavy curtains and shades with lighter, sheer window treatments.
3. Use color as a bad mood buster
Have you ever walked into a restaurant or bar and suddenly felt like you had boundless energy? The color of the interiors may be the root cause — many proprietors use stimulating colors, such as red, for restaurant interiors to ramp up their patrons’ interactions. While everyone has their own personal relationship with color, the wrong hue in a space can really bring you down.
In general, light blues and greens dial up the calm throughout a space — these are all colors readily found in nature, so they invoke the soothing experience of walking through the woods. Stay away from black and yellow interiors, however, as these colors may spur feelings of frustration, anger and depression.
4. Add some functionality
Irritation thrives in spaces where you can’t even complete a simple task — if the pots and pans are always falling down, or you have to sort through a full pantry just to get dinner started, you’ll likely find yourself worn and grumpy before the food is even served. Draw pullouts, mounted hangers and sliding shelves can all bring ease to the kitchen area, while an overhead shelf running the length of your closet or around your bed helps take care of little-used objects in the bedroom. You can even go ahead and shop some smart home devices to help you automate certain tasks around the home.
5. Use the right tools for cleaning
to help you get the best out of your cleaning to further improve your home, here are the best tools recommended to clean some of the most dust-prone parts of your home:
Close your blinds and then wipe them with a dryer sheet! It’s best to start at the top and clean each slat individually, moving from left to right. Bonus: The dryer sheet will stop static, preventing dust from accumulating on the blinds in the future.
Light fixtures and ceiling fans.
Light fixtures and ceiling fans are a pain in the you-know-what to clean. Since they’re difficult to reach, they wind up collecting dust like Michael Phelps collects gold medals. To remove that dust, reach for baby wipes! Look for baby wipes that are labeled “all natural” and test them on a small, inconspicuous area before going at an entire surface. The baby wipes will clear away grease and grime along with the dust.
Dust can damage electronics because it stops essential components (like fans that prevent overheating) from working properly. To keep your smartphones, computers and TVs dust-free, purchase a can of compressed air to get in between the cracks. Tip: If you just want to wipe down a screen, avoid paper towels, which can leave scratches. Instead, use a microfiber cloth!
If you have a couple of shelves in the house packed full of picture frames, souvenirs and other keepsakes, it can be seriously time consuming to take each individual item off the shelf. Instead, dust around them with a microfiber cloth. Once your shelves are clean, grab a few paintbrushes! Leave your valuables where they are and clean those nooks and crannies with the precision of a paintbrush! The smaller the brush, the more detailed you can be when cleaning your knickknacks.
Clean cobwebs from ceiling corners by attaching an old sock to a yardstick or broom handle with a rubber band. This method works great for cleaning underneath your refrigerator and kitchen stove, too!
No matter which method you choose to go with, a few mindful, intentional changes in your living spaces can hugely affect your overall mood and comfort level — and that’s definitely worth the time and effort!