Every year January first comes around and we all make a few pacts to try new things, work out more, and clean up the home and declutter. But let’s face it, unless we’ve perfected our ability to set reasonable goals or have an instant discipline make-over come 12:01 on the new year, we struggle to keep our promises and don’t always persevere through the year with our goals. I get it. Truly. I was a habitual nail biter for 28 years and finally decided, after many wishful attempts in the past that lacked any real motivation, to quit the habit. I was determined, and from past experiences, knew what I would be battling. Surprisingly the first month was easy, even the second month but the following months when I started to lose the gleeful pride in my accomplishment, it became harder in times of stress or during those suspenseful movies that always got me before. Those were the true tests. I’m happy to report that it’s been four years and I’m still determined to not bite my nails. So far so good. Not everyone decides to do an annual spring cleaning or declutter their home for the new year but I think you should reconsider. Not only for your mental health but it could help save your physical health too!

          Mold is one of those substances that can grow in the smallest spaces in areas easily overlooked while doling out severe damage to our bodies. Having clutter free homes gives us easy access to areas where mold is most likely to start growing and gives you an advantage to not only spot potential mold but also prevent mold growth when leaks or unwanted moisture is present in your home. 

          Keeping a clean home not only helps you stay organized and healthy but did you know it also helps with your mental health? When our brains have less to focus on or notices and more clean, straight, and visible lines from a tidy home they are less taxed. If you’ve never noticed or taken the time to try, here’s a challenge: Declutter and clean either your bedroom or your entryway where you come home to every day. Pay attention to those times- waking up in that like-new room, or coming home from a long day to a crisp, tidy entryway. IT makes a huge difference! Still not a believer? Remember your kindergarten classroom or seen one recently? Nearly all the walls are covered in colorful posters about numbers, letters, animals, etc. It’s busy and all the edges or potentially clean lines outlining the room are dissected and full. Where do you look first? Are you quickly drawn to look somewhere else? What if you only have a couple minutes to take it all in, will you be able to remember it all? Now in contrast, think of a decent hotel room. You walk into the room and notice the walls are simple, the furniture is minimal. You can clearly see the lines of the room and likely remember the room far more accurately in a couple minutes than the kindergarten classroom. Not only can you remember it better but how do you feel? Calm. Peaceful. Relaxed. It’s not just that one room has a bed and no pressure to learn new things but your brain isn’t working on overdrive to catalog and store an immense amount of information. 

          When we take time to declutter our homes it helps declutter our minds. It’s an easy way to set ourselves up for success. Here are some practical ways you can begin to declutter. Begin in your closet! Taking inventory and removing old or unwanted articles of clothing is a simple and quick way to make a big difference. Less clothes means less laundry, I’m already a genius! Also, for those of you with children, letting them see you take the initiative to declutter sets a great example. It may seem like an easy task to go for all those toys they opened and looked at once since their last birthday but this way they’re following your lead plus it’s a great segway to let them get involved and help declutter their things. Next tip: find a spot in the house that needs work- as big as a bedroom or as small as a junk drawer and dive right in! Depending on the amount of time you have available for decluttering, pick wisely. You don’t want to start in a room only to get it half finished because your schedule couldn’t allow you to properly finish. Personally, I love starting in closets. They’re mostly contained and I can knock one out in a day- usually. Lastly, I suggest saving papers for the end of the process. They are naturally more time consuming because reading is involved and with important paperwork you want to organize a system so they are safe but easily found when needed. I hope these tips encourage you to make a cleaner home making all those potential places for mold growth easily visible. Remember, prevention is the best medicine.