Declutter to Destress

Clean the stress out of your life with spring cleaning

By Kelsey DeClue

Spring cleaning — embraced by some, loathed by others.
A recent survey conducted by OnePoll revealed that 55 percent of Americans polled feel that spring cleaning is the most dreaded time of year. However, the physical and psychological benefits associated with cleaning and organizing can’t be denied. So those who struggle with the possibility of having to dust, scrub, declutter and reposition may be comforted to know that professionals are available to make suggestions and lend a helping hand, when needed.
“With spring cleaning, there’s a sense that things are new,” said Tricia Duncan, BA/OBHP, mental health coordinator at Johnson Memorial Health. “Everything is waking up from the wintertime. People are starting to be more active. I think increased daylight, warmer weather and that sense of renewal motivates a lot of people.”
Siblings Troy Tumey and Holly Stalets know firsthand the importance of cleaning and organizing, no matter the time of year. In fact, as co-owners of The Cleaning People in Franklin, they’ve made a career for themselves based on helping others with commercial, residential and construction-based needs in those areas.
“We do 14 to 16 houses per day, five days a week. Businesses, too,” Stalets said. “We have staff for day and night work. We’re very blessed.”
Georgie Salazar, owner and founder of Georgie’s Organizing and Decorating, also believes there’s strong public demand for decluttering services.
“In the last couple of years, I’ve probably worked about 200 jobs, mostly on the organizing side,” she said.
For many people, figuring out how and where to get started is the most challenging part of the cleaning process.
“Get rid of the things you don’t use,” Stalets said. “I understand because my husband is one who has trouble letting go of things, but you have to get the clutter out so you’ll know where other things should go. Just doing that will make your life less hectic.
“We always say if you categorize things and put them where they go, your life will flow better.”
Salazar agreed but admitted, sometimes, people create more work for themselves because they take the wrong approach. In fact, she said one of the most common problems she encounters is that homeowners have a tendency to buy storage containers before they begin the organizational process.
“They buy before they purge items and when that happens, many times they purchase the wrong size of container,” she said.
Ultimately, the idea is to get organized, reduce stress, eliminate clutter and potentially save a little money.
“When I arrive at someone’s home, it’s important that I find out what their goals are and what’s causing them stress so I can eliminate the problem,” Salazar said. “I need to understand how they live, function and use everything in their house. If it’s something they use often, it needs to be at their fingertips. If not, it can go higher up.”
Aside from not knowing where or how to get started, Tumey and Stalets said there are other barriers that frequently discourage homeowners from cleaning and organizing.
“What I’ve noticed is that when you clean your own home, you get distracted easily and before you know it, time gets away from you,” Stalets said. “When we’re cleaning a place for someone, we don’t get distracted because the phone or doorbell rings.”
“Turn the television off and put your phone away,” Tumey added. “Focus on one room at a time and complete that room before you move on to another.”
It’s also important to remember that the spring-cleaning process shouldn’t necessarily be limited to interior spaces.
“Sometimes people ask us to sweep and mop their garage,” Tumey said. “We’ve also done porches and outdoor areas.”
Duncan agreed.
“To me, spring cleaning should always include the outdoors as well,” she said. “Being outdoors decreases depression and stress.”
According to Duncan, the benefits of cleaning and organizing interior and exterior spaces go well-beyond what the eye can see.
“Our environment can affect us in positive and negative ways,” she said. “Physical clutter creates extra clutter for your brain.”
“Cleaning can help you clear your head and help bring you into the present moment.”
Duncan also believes that cleaning and organizing helps give individuals a sense of control and accomplishment, which can lead to improved confidence and creative thinking.
“Cleaning can also help with nervous energy,” Duncan said. “If you’re experiencing stress or anxiety, cleaning is a good way to work that out.
“We live in a chaotic world. Being in a clean and organized space can increase feelings of calmness and contentment. It can also improve sleep, especially if you declutter a bedroom,” she added.
Duncan also said cleaning can be used as a tool to bring family members closer together.
“It’s great if you can involve others in the process because that will get everyone in the household working toward the same goal,” she said. “Working together as a team can improve relationships.
“When you involve kids, you have to make it fun. By getting them involved, you’ll instill habits they can carry into adulthood.”
Of course, it’s also important to realize that taking the wrong approach to cleaning and organizing can actually lead to negative results.
“If you start out too big, the whole process can be overwhelming and make you feel less confident,” Duncan said. “It’s important to start small and set achievable goals. Break things down into small tasks. As you accomplish each one, you’ll get a boost of confidence that will help propel you forward to the next task.”