We all know that self-care is good for us and helps us maintain our well-being, energy, and sanity.
Yet we often only turn to self-care as a last resort, or after reaching a breaking point in our lives, like crying after an overwhelming day at work or snapping at our loved ones because we haven’t slept or eaten well in days.
But what if we incorporated self-care as a regular practice, instead of waiting until our lives became overwhelming?
I know I’m guilty of putting off self-care activities because it feels like an indulgence, rather than a necessity. But maybe if I put the same stock into journaling or going for a run as I do my other obligations, the stressful moments in my life wouldn’t feel as intense.
Self-care is usually synonymous with face masks and long soaks in the tub, which we definitely advocate, but sometimes self-care is more practical. In fact, some people swear by the therapeutic and stress-relieving benefits of cleaning and organizing.
Taking care of the spaces we inhabit is a form of self-care.
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Sound crazy? Hear us out! There is emotional value in cleaning and organizing our space. Whether you’re scrubbing a bathtub or purging clothes from your closest or finally organizing that junk drawer that’s been driving you crazy, cleaning can feel so...cathartic.
If you’ve been struggling with work or family stress, the act of cleaning can feel as if you’re scrubbing away the stresses of your own life.
When we see a tidy and inviting bed, organized drawers, and neatly stacked books on our shelves, it makes us feel as if our own life is in order.
Afterwards, not only are you rewarded with a huge sense of accomplishment, but you get to bask in the fruits of your labor with a spotless and inviting home. Life feels easier when you can find the things you need.
Below, you’ll discover all the tips and techniques you can use to clean and organize your home in an intentional, self-caring way.
While we can’t promise that cleaning will change everything about your life, we can guarantee that you’ll feel like a huge weight has been lifted and that you’ll truly enjoy relaxing in your space.
The benefits of cleaning and organizing
Yes, cleaning your home results in a neat and tidy space, but it also comes with a surprising array of mental health benefits. Cleaning and organizing has been known to help:
- Manage your stress
- Empower you during unpredictable times
- Provide a comforting routine when you’re feeling anxious
- Give a huge sense of accomplishment and a mental boost to pursue other projects
- Increase mindfulness by focusing your mind and body on the task at hand
How to clean and organize your home
Okay, now it’s time to reap some of those cleaning benefits! Here’s our guide on how to manage cleaning and organizing tasks so that cleaning feels structured and satisfying, not overwhelming
Break down your project into simple action steps
Like any big goal or project, it’s easier to manage if you break it down into mini, actionable steps. When it comes to a cleaning/organizing project, it’s easiest to start by organizing your space by zones.
“Zone cleaning” basically refers to cleaning/organizing your home by space instead of cleaning by task. So instead of going through your house and picking up clutter haphazardly, you would focus on cleaning/organizing one room at a time.
This concentrated effort ensures that you actually accomplish cleaning one space, rather than having half-cleaned rooms throughout your house or apartment.
Here’s how to start:
Make a list of the rooms or spaces in your home so that you can organize them by zone.
- Kids' rooms
Then, create action items for each room. For example:
- Pull out pile of shoes, match pairs, find a spot for each pair
- Create a pile of clothes to toss, recycle, or donate
- Sweep floor / vacuum carpet
- Take kid toys back to kids' rooms
Next, designate a day to tackle each zone and then clean/organize your space on a weekly basis.
If you finish cleaning one zone and still have energy to do more, then by all means go ahead and add another zone that week.
When you complete each cleaning session, make sure to celebrate your achievement. After all, cleaning is no easy task, you’re working up a sweat and doing a lot of physical and emotional clearing.
Bask in your hard work by enjoying your space. Light a candle. Play soothing music. Read a book in your newly cleared, cozy nook.
Our spaces are often a reflection of our own inner lives. When life feels chaotic, our spaces look chaotic. But when we take care of homes, we fundamentally take care of ourselves.
Nurture your community
Even though it seems so mundane and simple, cleaning and organizing can be hugely uplifting and nurturing. Now think about how great it would feel to apply this energy and nurturing to the spaces outside of our home.
After you get your home in order, see how you can extend your efforts to your neighborhood or community.
Ask yourself: what are ways that I can take care of my community and the people around me? What do these spaces need? What can I do to help?
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Volunteer at a community garden
- Sign up to be part of a clean-up crew in your park or neighborhood. (If your neighborhood doesn’t have one, start your own!)
- Start your own Little Library
- Donate clothes
- Donate to a food drive or volunteer at a food bank
- Create kits for people in need (hand sanitizer, granola bar, hand warmer, socks, etc)
By nurturing our spaces and surroundings, we are nurturing ourselves by extension. By maintaining our homes and the communities around us, and restoring these spaces to make them warm, accessible, and inviting, we, in turn, can rejuvenate ourselves and our communities.