Having a calm space to enjoy at the end of a long day or somewhere to play with your kids on the weekend is something everyone should have. Whether you live in a tiny apartment in the city or a big house out in the suburbs, there is plenty you can do to make your home healthier and happier.
Make Your Home Healthier and Happier
Think about all the different aspects there are to homemaking. They can really impact the way you live your life. Your home is a work in progress. There will always be something you can do to make it just a little bit better.
Focus on the basics, the things that everyone can do no matter where you live. Here are some basics that are cheap, easy and, actually, kind of obvious once they’ve been pointed out!
Bring in Plants
Plants are having a moment right now, which is crazy since they have been a huge feature on the planet since, well, forever. But since we have finally noticed just how good they are for us, we should definitely be making the most of using them.
Plants are great for reducing air pollution and work perfectly in city homes – you just need to find the right plant for your space. Think about the way that Singapore property has been developed over the years to get some inspiration. Huge tower blocks are being covered in shrubs, flowers and even trees to make the most of every space. You can do a similar thing by adding plants to your balcony and lining your window sills with herbs.
Actually, herbs are another way you can add to your healthy home vibe. There is no better way to add flavor to your meals than by adding fresh herbs. When you grow your own, you know exactly where they have come from. Mint is one of the easier herbs to grow since it is basically a weed, but try other plants like oregano, basil and thyme for some great flavors that work with everything.
Of course, not everyone is a gifted gardener, so if you are looking for a cheap and cheerful plant that won’t take much looking after, an indoor grass is a good way to start. Grass is quite happy to grow in a pot and will make it very clear when it needs water (hint: the blades will look sad). You can get all kinds of different colors and leaf structures to create a pretty display in your home for very little effort or expense.
If you are lucky enough to have a garden, you should also make the most of this space. Though a lawn might seem most practical, adding borders will bring you more opportunities to grow different plants and trees. Fruit trees are always satisfying to grow and many are hardy enough to withstand the odd ball or two flying their way.
Try putting a seating area into your garden too so that you can make the most of good weather. Early evening sunshine is an ideal time to top up your Vitamin D levels while the sun isn’t so hot that it will burn. Eating outside is always a nice way to get back to nature and avoid the temptation of screens indoors. Get some comfy chairs and an umbrella to protect you while you eat.
Clean up the Clutter
There’s a lot online about being messy. Is a cluttered desk a sign of a cluttered mind or is it more to do with being creative? Does hoarding run in the family? Is it a coping mechanism or is it a symptom?
To be honest, there is probably a lot of psychoanalysis that could go into this, but if there is one thing that we do know, it is this: clutter = dust. Where there is a lot of stuff, there is a lot of potential for the dirt to build up. Unless you are really willing to move all your clutter to clean under it and then put it back every time, it’s probably time to get on top of your stuff before it gets on top of you!
How to declutter
If you are planning a full scale declutter, the best idea is to work gradually, doing one room at a time. Go through all your things methodically answering these 3 questions:
- Do I love this?
- Do I need this?
- Will I use this?
It sounds silly, but this is a good way to sort out your priorities and figure out what should stay and what should go. Of course, you should also think about when it is time to let some things go too. For example, many people keep things from their childhood or even their parents’ childhoods because they are nostalgic. You probably never look at those things or do anything with them. It might feel strange not having them, but if you want to clear your house of some baggage, think carefully about whether these things really bring you joy or if you are just keeping them out of habit. A good decluttering can be just the catharsis you need.
Once you have reduced your clutter to a more manageable size, you should think about storage solutions to hide things away when they are not in use or to display the things you love so that you can enjoy them all the time. Thinking about storage after you have sorted things out is a crucial point to remember – you don’t want to buy storage for the things you don’t need!
When everything has a place, cleaning and dusting will be much, much easier. Instead of having to move everything all the time, you should be able to just run a damp cloth around your surfaces. In fact, you might just manage to reduce your cleaning time to just 1 hour. You might even be surprised at how quickly your breathing improves and how much more energy you will have!
Make Space to Relax
What is a home for? Sleeping safely, entertaining friends, building a loving family? We could all agree on those things, but the overriding theme that ties all these ideas together is that you need a space to relax.
Your home is a space that is just for you and those you love. You don’t need to be on your guard here or trying to live up to anyone else’s expectations, You can do what you like, be who you are and let your usual defenses drop. That’s why it is so important that you create a space where all those things come naturally.
Not every space can be for relaxing. You will probably want to concentrate while you cook in the kitchen, or do some work in your office! However, your bathroom, living area and bedrooms should all be designed with peacefulness in mind. Everyone has a slightly different idea of what this means, but in general, anything that makes your shoulders drop and your face settle into a smile is a good thing.
On that theme, soft furnishings are a great way to go. In your bedroom, for example, it is usually better to keep the room cool use layers of bedding to sleep at a comfortable temperature. This helps your body relax and gently allows you to drift off into a deep and refreshing sleep.
Turning down your thermostat a bit and going for throws and cushions on the sofa will help you breathe better and avoid headaches. This doesn’t mean that you should be shivering. Putting a sweater or socks on or cuddling up in a blanket is often a much more comfortable way to stay warm.
Another good way to ensure that your home offers you a relaxing space is to make sure that you are surrounded by the things that make you happy and reflect your personality. This means something different to everyone, but think in terms of the colors you might choose for each room or the pictures you want to hang on the walls. There is no right answer. Go with your gut.
With a healthy home comes a healthy family and a healthy lifestyle. Your home is where you live so much of your life and spend so much of your time that it needs to work for you and with you. Rather than shrugging and making do, look around and see where you can make some simple changes to improve your quality of life. These changes don’t have to be expensive to be effective.