Mess causes stress, and studies show that cleaning alone reduces stress levels. A clean home can even improve eating and exercise habits while boosting your happiness.
In a study published by the University of California, a messy home was proven to interfere with the body's de-stress hormone, cortisol's, levels simply because the thought of cleaning up stresses people out even if they don't plant to actually clean up.
In an effort to live happier and healthier, I decided that since much of my stress is linked to my messy home (and constant picking up after men and dogs), decluttering would be a good place to start. Especially when people with flawlessly clean houses seem to know how to effortlessly keep things clean.
Needless to say, I've been testing out some decluttering tips, reading secrets from my fellow neat-freaks, and embracing my cleaning habits. Consider this your home declutter checklist -- tips to maximize your happiness at home.
Here are the 15 tips I tried, loved, and highly recommend:
1. Keep a junk drawer, but make sure there's not an unnecessary amount of junk. Toss any spare equipment that came with furniture you had to put together, old batteries, or anything you don't need.
2. Only display photos with happy memories attached to them. Actually, you might as well toss photos that are reminders of sad memories. Why make yourself unhappy?
3. Underbed storage containers might not be great fung shui, but they're a lifesaver if you live in a small apartment with little storage. Use the unattended space for shoes, seasonal clothing, crafts, or anything else you don't need daily.
4. Get rid of books, movies, and games you don't absolutely adore. Better yet, take them to Half Price Books and swap them out for titles that will bring more happiness to your collection. Toss VHS tapes.
5. Toss any shoes and clothing that has holes, feel uncomfortable, or that you never wear. Say goodbye to the white pants you never wore, the 4-inch heels that hurt your feet, and the undies falling apart in your drawer. Don't forget to get rid of unneeded hangers too, or else they'll stack up against you.
6. Get things off the floor.
7. Organize crafts, pens, and desk tools. Toss what never gets used or donate what could be used.
8. Designate a place for incoming papers -- not the kitchen counter. Try folders with labels for bills, school papers, etc.
9. Unsubscribe from places that send you daily emails to delete for a digital detox.
10. Keep appliances, like the toaster, off the kitchen counter. In fact, only keep what you use every single day on the counter. Everything else either goes into a cabinet or gets tossed.
11. Broken items should go, including umbrellas, glasses with outdated prescriptions, old cell phones, etc.
12. Recycle old papers, like receipts, instructional manuals, or phone books. Shred any papers with sensitive info.
13. Make sure all food storage containers have a lid and discard extras. Tupperware lids are easily lost or broken, so you may no longer need them.
14. Throw out expired medicines, cleaners, foods, etc.
15. Find closed storage options for your 'dump zones' or areas you usually lay your bag/purse, keys, wallet, change, coats, etc.
What are your favorite cleaning or decluttering tips? Share your own neat-freak secrets in the comments below or tell me which tip you plan to try next.