No doubt about it: keeping your house clean is an uphill battle.
Not long after sorting the mail, you find bills and letters piled up on the kitchen table. After washing load after load of laundry, you spot three pairs of socks stuffed under the couch. Even though you’ve canceled your subscriptions, you still haven’t read your most recent magazines, and they’ve completely covered your coffee table.
Unfortunately, when that pile of dirty dishes starts to rise, so do your stress levels. The more clutter, the more anxious and irritable you feel.
Don’t worry-you’re not alone.
Why Mess Leads to Stress
According to a recent survey conducted in behalf of Huffington Post, nearly 47 percent of adults experienced some level of stress regarding home organization. And of those adults who reported stress, 87 percent of women and 81 percent of men reported that home upkeep was enough to trigger anxiety.
Sherrie Bourg Carter, Psy.D. explains that clutter can have a large impact in how we feel about our homes and ourselves. Messes do more than look bad on the surface-they influence our thought processes and make it difficult to relax.
Messes creates visual, olfactory, and tactile stimuli. When your home fills with clutter, your brain goes into overdrive to process your surroundings, resulting in unsettled emotions and restlessness.
Clutter is a physical reminder of unfinished projects. They constantly signal to your brain that you still haven’t replaced that missing light bulb or donated those old shirts. Instead of focusing on more important projects, you find yourself guiltily thinking about the last time you took out the trash.
Waste of Time
Overflowing piles of papers and out of place toys intrude upon the open spaces in your home. This makes it difficult for many people to think creatively and work efficiently, resulting in wasted time. Furthermore, disorganization also makes it difficult to find items you need quickly, such as important receipts lost in the paper pile or keys buried beneath your Blu-Rays.
Ways to Keep Calm While You Clean
While messes and clutter can have a negative impact on mental health, many homeowners find it equally stressing to constantly clean a dirty home. They struggle facing the enormous project before them, and they feel weighed down and embarrassed by the mess.
Fortunately, these tips can help you keep calm while you clean.
Break Larger Projects into Smaller Tasks
Whether you have a full-time desk job or you work full time watching your kids, you likely don’t have time to set aside an entire week, or even just a weekend, to clean your entire house in one go.
Rather than cleaning as much as you can for as long as you can, break up your larger cleaning projects into smaller daily tasks. For example, instead of completely emptying the fridge and wiping it from top to bottom, try wiping out the crisper drawers one day and then throwing out expired food the next.
Distract Your Mind
For many people, cleaning is a mind-numbing chore. As you start scrubbing the floors or tackling the toilet, you might start thinking about how you’d much rather watch your latest TV show or catch up on your Twitter feeds. Boredom can quickly make a 5-minute task feel like a 5-hour job, which will only add to your frustration.
Rather than letting your mind wander, make cleaning more entertaining. Turn up your stereo while you dust and jam to your favorite tunes. Pop in your headphones and listen to an audiobook while you mop the floors. Perhaps learn another language as you empty your closet of old clothes and shoes.
When In Doubt Throw It Out
The more items you have, the more items you have to clean. As you sort through the clutter, don’t scramble or waste time trying to find a space for everything. If you don’t use it, want it, or need it, then you need to get rid of it.
If your items are in fairly good repair, consider donating them to a local charity or selling them online to earn a little cash on the side. If you use something rarely, consider storing it in the garage or the back closet. Put a date on the box when you store it, and if you don’t use that item in a year, chances are likely that you don’t need it and can easily donate it.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
These tips will help you cut back on the clutter and subsequently cut back on the stress. However, some jobs are too big to handle alone. If you find yourself struggling to keep up with the chores, don’t be afraid to ask your family for help. Encourage children to pick up their own toys, and consider creating a reward system to promote clean habits.
And if you find that you’re still stressed when you clean, remember that you can always hire a professional team from McMaid to do the job for you. You’ll be amazed at how quickly McMaid’s team of highly trained maids can set your house in order once again.