As millions of Americans have recently discovered with all the attention that a certain Netflix show is getting, decluttering is an essential part of improving your mental and physical health. Many people don’t even realize just how many belongings they’ve accumulated over the years and how few of those possessions actually get used.

While collections, items of sentimental value, and seasonal items are obviously safe from the trash bin, it is important to take a good look at your home and all the things you’ve filled it with and ask yourself if it’s truly necessary in your life. Not only can it help relieve feelings of stress and anxiety, but decluttering can also improve your physical health and help you and your family breathe a little easier.

The first step in decluttering is to assess each room in your home. You’ll want to take a look at the area as a whole and not as a collection of individual items; this will help you see how much room you have and what could be better utilized. If your kitchen counter is full of appliances, mail, and odds-and-ends, think about storage solutions that would make the space more organized (and consider how much you really use that toaster oven).

Taking control of your health starts with some great cleaning and organization. Here are some helpful ways you and your family can get started.

Get Some Help

It’s often difficult to figure out which items you should keep and which ones could be donated or thrown out, so it helps to get assistance from someone who isn’t close to the situation. Ask a close friend or family member to help you make some decisions, especially if you have items that could be handed down to loved ones.

Jewelry that’s been in the family for generations, artwork, and photo albums are all contenders for family members, while appliances that don’t get used often and books that aren’t part of a cherished collection can be donated. While you pack away these items, ask your friend to dust and wipe down the shelf they were on. This will help you get things clean while reducing feelings of anxiety or depression at the same time.

Invest in the Right Vacuum

Many vacuum cleaners claim to be “all-in-one” appliances that will work just as well on hardwood floors as on carpet, but hardwood can be a bit tricky to clean. It’s best to invest in a hardwood-specific vacuum that will be up to the challenge of keeping your floors free of dust, pet dander, and fur, as well as the allergens that can come in on your feet and through open windows. This will help your family breathe easier and reduce the risk of asthma.

Keep Bacteria at Bay

Giving your home a good deep-cleaning is the best way to prevent harmful bacteria from taking hold, especially in the kitchen and bathroom. Mold, salmonella, and E-coli are some of the most common troublemakers in the home, but keeping cooking utensils, food prep areas, and spots that hold wetness (such as the bath mat) clean will help prevent any issues. Wash towels, washcloths, and throw rugs often and use hot water and bleach to clean any areas that raw meat and unwashed fruits and veggies have come into contact with.

Get Organized

Once you’ve cleaned and decluttered every room in your home, it’s time to get organized so you can maintain everything. The kitchen and entryway are common areas that most people have trouble with in terms of clutter, especially when young children live at home. Utilizing bins and shelving to keep things neat will allow you to find things easily and give you some peace of mind when it comes to your cleaning schedule.

Decluttering and giving your home a deep clean can do more than give you a nice place to relax; it will also clear your mind and allow you to keep yourself and your family healthy. Start in one room and work your way out to avoid becoming overwhelmed, and remember that the right organizational solutions will help you keep things neat.

Alice Robertson began her career in the home organization industry as a professional house cleaner. After cleaning and organizing her clients’ homes for years, she decided to open her own home organization business. Over the years, she has built an impressive client list, helping to make spaces in homes and businesses more functional. She recently created tidyhome.info as a place to share the great cleaning and organizing advice she has developed over the years.

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