Keeping your home clean is always an important practice, but is drastically more so during a world pandemic. Keep yourself and your family guarded against COVID-19 first by making sure your home environment is free from dirt, germs, and extra clutter. If you make a grocery store run, keep hand sanitizer or a tube of clorox wipes in your car cup holder to kill any germs on your hands before you even walk into your house. This is not only a great practice for times like these, but for everyday, especially in the winter months when a variety of bugs are going around. Make your home a safe space from any unwanted germs!
Regular cleaning routines will make all the difference in your home. Make a practice of wiping down surfaces regularly, especially ones that come in contact with food items, like counter tops. This is important especially now, as National Institutes of Health suggest that the coronavirus can live for two to three days on plastic and stainless steel surfaces. If you leave the house, it’s a good idea to change your clothes when you get home to keep any contracted bacteria away from couches, beds, chairs, and any other furniture your clothes may come into contact with.
If you or a family member is sick, make sure to wipe down door knobs, handles, light switches, and keyboards frequently to eliminate spread of even the common cold. Contracting sicknesses like the flu or a cold can weaken the immune system and can make the body more susceptible to viruses like COVID-19. Keeping your home a safe place from bacteria will not only reduce possibility or spread of sickness in your house, but it’ll make you feel better about the environment you’re spending most of your time in.
Beyond good cleaning habits for seasons of sickness, keeping a clean, organized home has also been linked to happiness and stress reduction. Those who keep their homes neat and clean tend to be healthier and more active according to a study led by NiCole R. Keith, Ph.D. When you think about your own home, do you feel restful and relaxed? Or do you feel anxious because you “have too much stuff” or “can never keep things put away”? If you can identify with the second option, you’re not alone. So what can you do about it?
The key to keeping your home clean and organized is staying on top of your list. Little tasks daily will make a world of difference. Do this instead of saving all of your cleaning for one day of the week. You may feel overwhelmed by the time you reach your designated cleaning day, then get little done because you feel overburdened, have little motivation, or maybe just don’t know where to start. Instead, for example, wake up early one day and do the dishes that have been piling up in the sink over the past few days. Then when you are finished eating breakfast, wash your plate and fork right away to keep your sink clean. From there you can develop a practice of cleaning your dishes after each meal instead of letting them sit for days. This will make a world of difference regarding the smell of your kitchen! Practices like these, cleaning up after yourself daily, will result in better habits and cleaner living spaces!
“(Cleaning) gives people a sense of mastery and control over their environment. Life is full of uncertainty and many situations are out of our hands, but at least we can assert our will on our living space. Clutter can be visually distracting, too, and serve as a nagging reminder of tasks and chores undone.”
– Darby Saxbe, a psychology professor at the University of Southern California
If you’re looking to keep your home clean at a deeper level, sit down at the beginning of your week and write a list of tasks for each day going forward. Maybe each list only has two or three items on it depending on your schedule. That way, you can get a lot done throughout the week without setting a ton of time aside to knock out a massive list. From there, you can repeat the list weekly, developing a new routine for yourself, and soon you might not even have to refer to your list anymore. That’s how you’ll know you have a clean home!