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By Cara Greenberg
The stuff of family life — from excessive clutter to funky odors — can be domestic downers, whether you’re planning a romanitc evening or simply want your home to be a peaceful retreat. Here’s how to put the spice back in your home life.
Clutter be gone
Clutter is a national epidemic, and chances are you’re living with the disease. Well-meaning plans to organize and store it all (by purchasing more stuff, such as shelving units and containers) are essentially rotten at the core.
As Gretchen Rubin, author of the book Happier at Home, says, “If you plan to store something in an inaccessible place, why are you keeping it?”
Whatever form your personal excess takes — magazines, clothing, holiday decorations, or general bric-a-brac (flea-market addicts, we’re looking at you) — don’t underestimate the havoc clutter can wreak on physical and mental health.
Dust, mold, and mildew thrive in a cluttered house, seriously affecting air quality. Research shows that people who live with a high level of clutter are more likely to have headaches, asthma, allergies, and sleeping issues, not to mention feelings of low self-worth, fatigue, and depression.
As for your love life, Peter Walsh, an L.A-based organizational consultant, puts it bluntly: “It’s tough to make love in a pigsty.”
Don’t love it, need it, or use it? Get rid of it: to charity organizations, via online or yard sales, or right into the trash. Get rid of your rationalizations, too: “Maybe someday this will come in handy …” It’s your space and your life; live it now and live it freely, not bursting at the seams with useless objects.
Un-drecking the East/West Way
The queen of clutter-clearing is Karen Kingston, whose book, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, explores the psychological underpinnings of hoarding. Kingston provides a step-by-step, room-by-room walk-through of common clutter danger zones, from kitchen junk drawers to garages full of rusting tools.
A few of Kingston’s tips:
Sweeten the air
Once you’ve got a handle on the objects, consider the air around them. On a warm day, throw open windows and turn on ceiling fans to maximize fresh air circulating through the house.
Other sweet tips: