While some people used lockdown to declutter their homes, for the rest of us it was enough to get through work and home schooling, or adapting to work at home, or no work at all. But now that life is moving forward, if your home is anything like ours after being occupied 24/7 for 10 weeks, you might be keen to shed some of the stuff weighing you down and carry on the rest of 2020 feeling like an organised boss!
Luckily for us, Lauren Schnieider of Military HomeSearch in Colorado shared her incredible Declutter Your Home blog post with us, and it’s packed full of helpful advice for people wanting to refresh their home any time of the year.
Decluttering elevates mood
Living in clutter and mess causes anxiety and stress. It can increase dust in the house – especially in winter when windows and doors are closed more often – exacerbating allergies. It can also make your home more flammable and harder to exit should disaster strike.
It makes sense then to reward future you by decluttering your home or bedroom if you live in a flat. And if you have children, teaching them great habits while they are young will pay dividends for years to come.
The benefits to having a organised home are huge – and no, we’re not saying become a minimalist, simply refine what you already have to include only the items you need, want, use and love.
Here are just some of the benefits of decluttering
- Your house looks and feels better.
- Improves concentration because clutter and mess (like a wardrobe of clothes you no longer want) can be distracting because it represents work yet to do.
- Reduces stress and anxiety by replacing your home with a sense of order and stability. For mums this is even more important because messy homes can increase cortisol levels – the stress hormone.
- Sleep improves when a bedroom is empty of mess. Clutter can be overstimulating for the brain when ideally, a bedroom needs to be relaxing. A brain can interpret clutter as danger or a place where danger may hide while a tidy room send signals to the brain that your are safe and can rest easy.
- Discover what you already own by finding old treasure and jewellery or clothes you used to love and forgot you had – the ultimate wardrobe refresh that doesn’t cost a cent!
- As well as being dangerous as a fire hazard, a messy home is harder to evacuate should the need arise.
Create new monthly and daily habits
Forget the annual spring clean, which is onerous, time consuming and well, jolly hard work! And replace it with doing a little bit every two weeks or so. In other words, make it a lifestyle choice rather than something to do that feels like a chore.
Even better, create a daily habit of keeping shared spaces tidy, and your bedroom restful. Empty the bins, recycling, remove all items in the lounge and kitchen (like jerseys, jackets, shoes and bags), putting things away when they’re not in use, and the difference will be amazing and inspire the bigger jobs like a full wardrobe cull or storage cupboard clear out.
Rather than face an entire kitchen do-over, start small and go through the cupboards removing expired products and old herbs. Go extra creative and bring in baskets or boxes and create labels for each “section”, such as “Herbs”, “Baking”. Clustering items together in one cupboard or on one shelf will feel so much more organised.
A label-maker could be your new best friend. And Kiwi-owned ethical business TradeAid sells some incredible, durable baskets made to last and you’re supporting talented artisans for their handcraft work.
The little things make a big difference
How amazing do clean sheets feel? Incredible, right? Obviously you don’t want clean sheets everyday as that is unnecessary and wasteful washing, but you can make your bed neat and tightly tucked in everyday. It’s so simple but when you go back into your room to rest or sleep, it’ll feel calming and nurturing. It may even inspire the next steps like putting shoes away and tidying the bedside table. Makes you think…
For your dressing table, invest in some cute ceramic bowls to hold hair ties and bobby pins, or find something your love from an op shop. The New Zealand Made Products Facebook page has half a million people on it with incredible ceramic artisans that need support right now. Pop a note up asking for what you want and you’re sure to get a response.
Go seasonal on the closet
If a full wardrobe cull is just too overwhelming (we feel you!), at least do it seasonally. Swap your autumn clothes out for winter, then spring for winter and so on.
Then break up items to go through in clusters. Start with those 15 pairs of jeans… which ones still fit and you know that you’ll wear? Guaranteed when you try them on you’ll know pretty quickly whether you plan to wear them again (especially of they don’t do up and haven’t for years). Your local charity shop, Dress for Success or Women’s Refuge may be the best place for those ill-fitting jeans that someone else will love.
Next, start on the sneakers. How many is too many?
With every item, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I wear this?
- Do I love it?
- Does it fit?
- Is it comfortable?
If it’s a firm “NO!” to any of these, donate it. Clothes should be worn, if not by you, someone else can benefit.
Ditch the double ups
Kitchens are notorious for having two or three of everything. It’s time those items found a new home. The “spare” blender, the extra frying pan, the two woks… jump on Neighbourly and sell them or offer them free. And those cookbooks gathering dust… do they still suit your diet choices? Have you opened them in a year? It may be time to say goodbye. And that’s just one easy evening task ticked off the list!
These ideas are just the start. If you want to become a super organiser, jump onto Lauren’s declutter blog post here and learn from the best!
No good deed should go unrewarded so be sure to celebrate your declutter wins, no matter how small. We think our Decadent Banana Almond Soft Serve with Hot Chocolate Sauce makes the perfect congratulations treat. Indulge in the recipe below!
Banana Almond Soft Serve
- 3 bananas—peeled, sliced and frozen
- 2 Tbs agave syrup, maple syrup or honey
- 1 cup Unsweetened Almond Breeze Almond Milk
- 1 Tbs chopped candied ginger (optional)
- Warm Chocolate Almond Sauce or other chocolate sauce, for serving
- 1 cup Unsweetened Almond Breeze Almond Milk
- 225g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/8 tsp pure almond extract
- Pinch of salt
Banana Almond Soft Serve
In a food processor, combine the frozen bananas and agave and process until chopped. With the machine on, add the almond milk and puree until smooth. Add the ginger and pulse to incorporate. Transfer the mixture to a plastic container and freeze until firm but not solid, about 1 hour. Serve with chocolate sauce.
Heat sweetened almond milk. Add chopped bittersweet chocolate, pure almond extract and a pinch of salt. Let stand until melted. Whisk until smooth.
The chocolate sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. Reheat gently before serving.
From our love of Almond Breeze almond milk to yours…
Discover more almondlicious recipes by clicking here!