Stress-Free Holiday Cleaning Routines

Adopt these cleaning routines for a stress-free holiday. They make keeping a tidy house easier, even when you’re busy.

| November/December 2014

This holiday season can be different: Amid the parties, gift-making, dessert-baking and guest-preparing, you can be amazingly, serenely stress-free. How? By establishing routines to keep our homes running smoothly every day, we can reduce stress and devote our time and energy toward special seasonal activities with our loved ones, rather than chores. Try these tips to enjoy a holiday season that feels joyful instead of chaotic.

Streamline Your Home

Getting there requires some work, but not of the rushing, busy-bee variety we typically associate with a hectic holiday season. Instead, we need to strategize for long-term, day-in and day-out success.

If clutter is overwhelming your house to the extent that inviting guests over requires hours of cleaning, it’s time to simplify. “Too much stuff” is a problem in many households. A 2012 study by the UCLA Center on Everyday Lives of Families found that managing too much stuff can feel so overwhelming that it can actually raise stress hormones. Is clutter really worth added stress?

Keeping in mind that reducing your holdings can actually improve your health, take stock of your environment: Which items take up space but have little function? Let the holiday season’s spirit of charity inspire you to box up everything you don’t use regularly and donate it for another family to enjoy. Encourage the kids to get involved by going through their old books and toys and donating everything they’ve outgrown.

As you choose items to let go of, keep in mind that opening up free spaces in our homes can bring peace of mind. The idea that not every nook and cranny needs to be filled—or that every item needs to stay forever—can take some getting used to. It will likely take practice to lower your “stuff” threshold. Gretchen Rubin, author of Happier at Home and The Happiness Project, advises readers to keep an empty shelf somewhere in the house—one they don’t feel a need to fill with anything at all.

After you’ve pared back and given yourself some breathing space, consider implementing one or more of the following routines, all of which are designed to help keep your home in order easily.

12/4/2014 4:43:22 AM

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