Here’s the problem with spring cleaning…it’s springtime, when it’s lovely outside. Who wants to be sorting through the linen closet or knee deep in the long-forgotten Lego and missing-pieces puzzle drawer when it’s sunny April day and 70 degrees (finally)? But summertime in the Lowcountry—that’s a different story. Perfect for staying in the nice air-conditioning and tackling those closets, drawers and piles in the corner. And while it may not feel as healthy as being outside getting fresh air and aerobic exercise, decluttering actually has important health benefits.
Clearing out unneeded clutter and getting your home environment organized is a boost for both mind and body. It can help lift the mood and make you feel less burdened or distracted by your surroundings. Messy, cluttered environments can add to a sense of chaos and amp up anxiety, especially for those with attention disorders or depression. Having to navigate around obstacle courses of piles and clutter can also be dangerous; clearing things out can help reduce the risks for falls, especially for older adults or young toddlers. Getting rid of the clutter means it’s also easier to clean more efficiently, and can help eliminate germs and dust.
Plus, when it’s not a chore or burden to try to locate things, like for example, that can of tennis balls or your swim goggles, then it’s much easier to go exercise. It’s hard to go for an evening walk when you can’t find that other tennis shoe. Likewise with countertop items. If your medicine cabinet is organized, then you’ll be more likely to take your medicine or vitamins. And who enjoys cooking if first you have to sift through every cabinet to find your sifter? If your pantry or refrigerator are organized and easy to navigate, and if you can enjoy being in a clean, clutter-free kitchen, chances are preparing healthier home-cooked meals will be a less stressful, more pleasant experience.
A few tips from experts like Marie Kondo, author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up – don’t just go buy big plastic tubs or boxes and transfer junk to the attic—that just creates clutter elsewhere, for later. Take time to actually throw things away; give or donate furniture, books or clothing to someone who can use them. And tackle just one room or even one corner at a time. It can be overwhelming, so stay focused and set small goals.
So when the heat has you beat, cool things off inside with decluttering exercises. It may or may not get your heart rate up, but it can definitely help you keep your stress levels down, boost your mood and give you a clean start.