Is your home a stress-free place where you can relax and enjoy your life? My guess is probably not, especially if you are reading this post. I believe there is a connection between how we feel and our surroundings. If we are surrounded by chaos and clutter, toxic people, and stress, our home will be one of the places this shows up.
You are most likely exhausted from the dirt, dander, and disorganization. You feel frustrated coming home to a cluttered mess where you can’t locate items or feel overwhelmed by how much you need to do to get it to a place where it doesn’t feel like a combat zone. You try to motivate yourself to clean, but what’s the point? The house never stays clean and you continue to feel like you can’t keep up with it. You are unmotivated and so you shove your feelings aside and live in the madness of your mess.
There’s nothing wrong with you. Take a deep breath…it will be ok. I promise.
5 Stress-Free Tips for a Peaceful Home
Even the best of us struggle to keep up with our homes. Some people hire house cleaners. Some people live in a mess and do nothing. Then there are people, like most of us, who try, but it never seems like enough. Let’s find out how to change that.
1. Discover Your Priorities & Values
Everyone has priorities even if they don’t write them down or set goals for them. If you play video games instead of going to work, you are prioritizing entertaining yourself over hard work. You might not admit that to yourself, but we do make choices every day like this and we place value on certain things and not others. Take a look at your choices. Every choice starts in our thinking. If we think something is dumb or not worth it, we probably won’t do it. Why do you think certain items exist in your home? Why do we keep useless cords, broken toys, or even socks with holes in them? What about the floral sweater your grandma gave you? Is there a reason you keep these things when you don’t use them?
Try exploring why you might keep things like that. Explore your choices. I bet today you’ve already made several choices. What to eat for breakfast, what to wear, if you should get to work earlier so you can leave earlier, if you should return a phone call, and many more. How did you reach those decisions? Did you plan them out or was it simply second nature?
In the book, Mindful Simplicity by Yolanda Acree, she says,
The more you live in agreement with your priorities and values, the simpler your life becomes. When you live in harmony, you can make judgement calls and problem-solve easily without stress, doubt, or the need for external confirmation. (pg 24)
The first step is to identify your priorities. Some things are important. Some things aren’t. Some things are urgent, while others aren’t urgent at all. Do you quickly respond to choices or do you think them through? This plays into things like shopping. Do we buy things on a whim or do we think through the buying process and if we really need that item or not? This will tell us if we are impulsive and prioritize instant gratification or not. If we are slow to think through buying decisions, we’ll be slower to collect stuff too.
2.) List Your Priorities & Values
We can’t live in the past or change it; We can’t live in the future. All we have is this very moment. The last few seconds of our life is gone. We can’t take it back. So all we have is RIGHT NOW. What can we do right now to prioritize and live our values?
Take a moment and list your priorities. Let’s focus on important matters that can also be time-sensitive and urgent. We can ignore areas that aren’t important and don’t require our immediate attention. Think through your priorities in these categories:
- Family Life
- Time Management
You could also include your career, finances, shopping, food/diet, and relationships, but I want to focus on the above for the sake of brevity.
Here’s an example of my priorities:
- Home – clean house, clutter-free, organized (and can locate things)
- Family Life – avoiding “busy”, making memories, laughing more
- Time Management – time for myself, time for work, time with my family
Since I’ve now listed the things that are important and possibly time-sensitive or urgent, I now can base decisions on those priorities and values. If someone says, “Hey, can you spend an entire Saturday working on this project” and it’s not a work project or a family project, then I can say “no”. If my child says, “Mom, can we go to a movie together?” I can happily agree because it meets my priority for family life and time management.
3. Evaluate Your Home Life
Think about one of your values or priorities when it comes to your home. Maybe you want a cleaner home or to be more organized. Let’s work with that.
I want to focus on having a clean house, but I have too much stuff. So the place I’d start is by looking at each area of my home and considering what can stay and what can go. I also will look at what each space is used for. The living room is for relaxing, watching TV, or spending time with my family. The office is used for work, school, and blogging. My kitchen is used for cooking and sometimes entertaining.
Consider your family as you go through this as well. What do they need? What are their activities? How do they use these spaces? Keep a list to refer to.
4.) Remove the Clutter
While it’s not in the scope of this article to cover removing clutter, the main idea is to take it slow. You can’t declutter your entire house in a day. Maybe pick one shelf or one small area to work on each week. Or you could set a goal of getting rid of one bag of “stuff” each week. Whatever is easiest for you as long as you don’t put off the problem of clutter. Once you figure out your plan, consider where these items will go:
Throw away broken, old, messy, and items that can no longer be used. Ripped socks, underwear, stinky shoes, wrappers, and chewed up dog toys are some examples.
Items can often be donated if they are in good or new condition. Check with places like Goodwill for a list of items they will take. Other places will pick up items from your home. Again, be sure to consider what they are willing to take and don’t give them your trash or unused items.
Paper, glass containers, cardboard, and other items can often be recycled. This is a great way to help the environment while cleaning up your home. In our city, we have an environmental center that takes chemical containers, batteries, computer parts, or light bulbs. It’s free and has been a life-saver for getting rid of useless items we don’t want around our home. Also, check if your city has any kind of appliance take-away. They do this annually in some cities and it helps so you don’t have to pay to get rid of old appliances.
If you are up to the task, you can also try to sell some of your items. I’ve done this with books and expensive items, but it requires time and energy to set them up and arrange. Look online at Nextdoor, Facebook Garage Sales, and other online venues where you can list for free.
5.) Decorate Your Home
Once you start clearing out areas of your home and are happy with the result, you can think about decorating each space how you want it to be used. Refer back to the notes you took on how the area is used as this will help you to design the space for the most effectiveness.
Here are some ideas:
- Swap out old knick-knacks and seasonal items for more meaningful items. Instead of displaying store-bought items, why not take a nature walk and collect wildflowers to display? Did your child create an art school project? This might be something you want to display instead.
- Re-arrange the furniture for a new look
- Display your favorite books on a shelf
- Swap out your decor with a friend
- Create your own decor with items you have laying around
Instead of making purchases, try to be creative and use meaningful items to create your space. If you are an artist or creator yourself, you could use your skills to brighten up your room. Try to avoid making more purchases and instead opt for meaningful art, books, music, or whatever you are into.
Stress-Free House Cleaning
This article didn’t cover house cleaning techniques, chore lists, or the like but I would like to send you my free Organization Guide that helps you break down your tasks into achievable, daily goals. Keeping up on the housework is important. Even though decluttering will eliminate most of the mess, you still need to keep your house clean and have a system that allows you to live stress-free. The dishes and laundry won’t do themselves.
Check out this list and get help with:
- Organizing your to-do list
- Prioritizing tasks and their urgency
- Creating a weekly schedule
- Maintaining your home and well-being