You don’t have to completely redecorate or renovate your home to make it feel fresh, new, and clean. There are tiny changes you can make that will transform your space and increase your health and well-being at the same time.
Most everyone is guilty of sticking things in places they don’t belong, if only to brush them aside for the moment. The stack of papers in the corner of your kitchen counter, the unwanted gift that has lived in a drawer for the past three years, or that smelly candle that has been sitting unused on your end table since 2012. We simply don’t realize how these items are weighing down our home and being. A quick declutter can utterly transform your home and your mindset in a single day. While you’re at it, think about the toxic impact of all the odds and ends that populate your home and clear away unwanted contaminants. Here are a few places to start:
- Paperwork and mail – Paperwork tends to attract dust and mites, leading to increased allergic reactions and poorer indoor air quality. If there are items you’d like to keep, use a scanning app on your smartphone to scan in important items and then recycle the whole lot.
- Knickknacks – Over time, a lot of mismatched decor and knickknacks pile up around the house. First look at each object and analyze its potential toxicity. Scented candles, store-bought potpourri, and most petroleum-based (plastic) decor items contain toxins and may even contaminate the air. Throw those out first. Then, analyze if your remaining decorative elements coordinate well into your overall color scheme and design direction. Donate or recycle anything that is unnecessary or incompatible. If you have a lot of decorative items that you just love, put some away in storage for a while. When they come out again, they will seem more interesting! If you like, replace a few items with these all-natural alternatives.
- Closets and junk drawers – Old clothing, worn shoes, or unused coats and scarves may be just a few of the extra items that make the hall closet difficult to close. Make an inventory of the contents of your closets and drawers and keep only what you’ve actually used in the last year or so. You may want to be on the lookout for potentially toxic materials that may be living in your clothing and leaching into your skin. Some examples are fake leather, artificial dyes, and flame retardants . Keep only those items you actually use that won’t damage your health; donate the rest.
2. Maximize Light
Natural light is an integral component to a healthy household. Maximize light by changing out heavy, opaque curtains and blinds with light, transparent varieties. Remember to choose textiles that are created with all-natural fabrics and dyes. Also, the strategic placement of mirrors as decorative elements may reflect light and portions of the room to make spaces feel larger.
3. Change Up Color Scheme and Artwork
You can instantly update the look and feel of a space by changing up the color scheme. Swap out old throw pillows, rugs, and blankets for ones in new, brighter colors. Switch old wall art for fresh finds. Make your own throw pillow out of an old sweater in no time, or build a simple wall hanging by pressing natural elements like dried flowers and leaves into a glass frame. Have children? Frame their paintings to make a wall collage of original artwork. And don’t forget the framed family photos!
4. Remove Electronics
Of course it would be unreasonable to completely remove electronics from your home, but put them away. If possible, find an entertainment center that will hide televisions, cables, and gaming consoles when not in use. Confine phones and computers to a desk or, even better, inside a desk drawer. Replace electronic temptations with interesting books, old-fashioned board games, playing cards, and other healthy pastimes.
Pay extra attention to the bedroom! Screens and electronics in the bedroom may suppress levels of melatonin – the hormone that helps you sleep. Keeping screens out of the bedroom could improve your sleep patterns and your overall health. If you must keep any electronics in your bedroom, it is advised to turn them off about 2 hours before sleeping.
Look for more ways to maintain a healthy, happy home on the Living Clean Blog: