Woohoo! Spring is here! If you’re like me, you’ll start getting the spring cleaning bug the minute the sun starts shining. And did you know that April is Stress Awareness Month? What better way to “de-stress” for spring than by cutting clutter and using essential oils to create a “green clean” environment in your home? Whether you’ve been working toward an online aromatherapy certification and want to try spring cleaning inspired blends or you're a holistic health practitioner concerned about how dust mites can contribute to asthma, creating a clutter free house in spring is a fabulous way to de-stress and rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul!
I know spring cleaning can seem overwhelming (which is the opposite of what you need during Stress Awareness Month!). Not to worry! Here are my top ten tips for how to cut clutter and reduce stress for spring and summer fun!
1. Clear and cut clutter beneath beds. You don’t need anything stored under there. It’s bad feng shui. It gathers dust. And as I recently discovered, it makes a perfect home for moths!
We all need to store things, but don’t let “stored” items take over. Figure out how much storage you have for tubs. Buy a set number of plastic tubs that will fit in this storage. Write a list of the things you think you need to store. Divide up the tubs between the items on your list. Limit yourself to just the space you have in your tubs! Let yourself have a tub of clothes that you will fit in one day and a tub or two of clothes that are out of season.
2. Set up an eBay seller account or join a local Facebook buy/sell/trade list. Can’t find one for your town? Start one! Go through one room at a time with a basket (I like laundry baskets), and pick up anything you think you can sell. I find everyone in my family much more motivated to cut clutter when they know there’s a cash benefit! Set up an area in your office where you have some shipping supplies and goodies to sell. Make a pact to list two things a day until your clutter basket is empty. If you go two days without listing anything, everything in the basket should go to Goodwill. It’s a great motivator! If your kids are old enough, get them to help with listing. Don't forget about the eBay app, which makes listing items fast and easy. You’ll be amazed at how much clutter you’ve cut after two weeks!
3. Pick up rugs for the summer. Roll up and put away some of your rugs to give your home a more open, summery atmosphere. Sprinkle lavender Lavandula angustifolia (Mill.) essential oil on them before rolling up to repel moths.
4. Put away everything on your kitchen counters. Clean your backsplash and counter with a paste made from baking soda, water, and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil (I love sweet orange Citrus sinensis [Osbeck]). Now choose two things to put back on the counter! Your counters will look bigger and less cluttered. They will also be easier to clean. Cut the excess clutter by evaluating the items in your kitchen that you haven’t used this past year, and put them on Facebook buy/sell list or eBay.
5. Swap dark colored cushions for light cheerful ones. This is a fabulous way to brighten up any room for spring and summer, and the brighter colors will certainly have an effect on your stress levels. It’s amazing what a difference this makes without paint or a time commitment!
6. Deep clean your carpets. I love my Bissell carpet cleaner, but if you don’t have one, get an ecofriendly carpet cleaning company to come by! Check out Groupon for these services or call the company and ask if they’ll match the deals on Groupon. Many will! If a carpet clean isn’t in the budget, sprinkle baking soda mixed with a few drops of essential oil onto the carpet, leave a few minutes, then vacuum up.
7. Sort out your bathroom cupboards. Throw away any open makeup that’s over a year old. Toss mascara that’s more than 3 months old. And anything that is gunky, dried up, or crusty…throw it OUT! Any holistic health practitioner will tell you: old make-up and brushes are breeding grounds for bacteria, so make sure your supplies are fresh and new. If you have new items that you no longer want, consider donating them to your local women’s shelter. They’ll be thrilled to have them!
8. Use oxygen bleach powder on your grout. Mix this with a little water to a paste and scrub into grout with a toothbrush. Leave for a few minutes and then wipe off. No need for bleach!
9. Open all the windows! Interior air quality is a big issue in the U.S. Open your windows as soon as the weather allows and let some fresh air blow through. If it’s a sunny day, you’ll have the added benefit of stress reducing sunrays filling up your home with light! And if you have an issue with mold in your home, consider spring cleaning with tea tree Australia Melaleuca alternifolia essential oil. Try this fresh recipe!
Tenacious Tea Tree Cleaner
Tea tree (Au) Melaleuca alternifolia (Cheel) oil: 10-20 drops
Alcohol: 1 tablespoon
Water: 2 cups
Directions: Add alcohol and essential oil to spray bottle. Shake to combine then add water. Shake again. Saturate moldy areas with the spray and allow to sit overnight; wipe down area the next day.
10. Lastly, clear your mind and schedule. Look at all those “obligations” and “errands” that keep you running around like a chicken with her head cut off. How many of these stress producers are really necessary? One of the best ways to de-stress is to quit a few things and see how much time you free up. Set up some online grocery delivery services. I love OrganicsToYou.org here in Portland, and you may have something similar in your area. Not only can you have lovely organic whole foods delivered to your door every week, but you’ll cook more if you have supplies on hand. You’ll also be less tempted by the processed food at the grocery store!
I hope this list will help you de-clutter and de-stress this spring. De-cluttering and green spring cleaning may not seem like the ideal “stress reducing activities” for Stress Awareness Month, but you’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel once you’ve purged the unnecessary junk from your life and created a naturally clean atmosphere. It’s cathartic!
What are some of your tips for reducing clutter, spring cleaning, or de-stressing? Let me know in the comments!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I am the CIO of American College of Healthcare Sciences, the Institution that publishes this blog. However, all opinions are my own and I only recommend products and services that I personally have reviewed and believe will be good for my readers. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I may receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.