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June 12, 2015
So, I have to admit that I’m not exactly a domestic goddess. Sure, I’ve got my moments of Martha Stewart-esque cleaning, decorating and cooking manias. But on the day to day, I probably verge on the messy side more often than not. I don’t mind a little creative mess, and as a mother of a 2 year old, I have to keep my tidyness expectations in check. Messes will happen. Often. Often involving tomato-sauce covered food being flung across a room or the bathroom being casually flooded.
There’s one thing though that drives me crazy…and it’s pretty esoteric as far as housework goes: I can’t stand it when the energy in my apartment is out of whack. Sometimes it’s due to accumulating clutter, which is when spotting the issue is easiest. Often it’s because of too many houseguests coming in and changing the environment in subtle ways. Sometimes it’s just this yuckiness after an argument, sickness or stressful period. Or, it could be this murkiness after a particularly lethargic day or two. It’s not always visible at first, but there it is: this blah, stagnant something (Chi? Prana? A little stormcloud?) that hovers in the corners of my home like invisible, but no less sticky and annoying, cobwebs.
Am I talking about Feng Shui? I don’t think so. From what I know about Feng Shui, it seems far more specific than the feeling I am talking about, what with angles and meridians and South-West corners. (And what I’m talking about really is just a feeling.) It’s like all of a sudden, I want OUT of my apartment. I hate it…I see no beauty anywhere around me, and everything is cause for annoyance. I am stressed just standing there…even with my eyes closed.
This drives me crazy because it completely changes my mindset, and it just does so in a creepy way that takes me off-guard. When the house has this weird, stressful vibe going on, unless I am mindful about it and get it in check, will affect how I eat, how I take care of myself and how I talk to my family. It will affect my energy, how I work and whether or not I decide to go for a run that day, or unroll my yoga mat. I lose motivation and get swallowed up by the lazy stormcloud of yucky energy. (Or whatever it is.) And if I let this messy energy do it’s thang for a few days? I will break out. It never fails. Talk about adding insult to injury.
Here are three easy that I completely shift the energy in my home, and how you can too. Set a timer for ten minutes, and do these three things:
There’s something magical about vacuuming, something that a good sweep n’ mop can’t quite compare to. It’s like everything negative just gets sucked right up through the vacuum and whoooooosh! Instant happiness. Never fails for me. I find vacuuming to be like exercise though, when I am in a slump. It’s so difficult to get started, but I never regret it afterwards. Just pull it out of the closet, plug it in and get started. Don’t look back.
Tip: Unless you foresee this as a bad idea for your particular vacuum model (as I’m no vacuum connoisseur), put a few drops of essential oil directly onto the fabric filter that sits inside the dust-chamber (or whatever you want to call the belly of the vacuum.) Every time you vaccum, your home will be filled with a delightful scent!
2. Clear off one “major surface”.
You should absolutely aim to clear off ALL “major surfaces” of your home, and rid it of junk and clutter, but if you’ve got exactly 2 minutes to spare, then just aim for the largest surface in any given room and clear it off. If things have gotten stagnant, you may be clutter-blind to all the little thing-a-ma-jigs hanging out on your dresser, kitchen table or coffee table. Throw out or put away everything you collect from the surface, then clean that surface with a bunch of love and attention, using slow motions and great care. Seriously, just pretend your doing something sacred. Then, create a simple vignette on that surface: a beautiful bowl filled with fresh fruit, or a vase with flowers (can never go wrong there!), move a beloved artful object into that space (after dusting it off). Your mood will instantly lift.
Tip: Use natural cleaning products you can make at home, such as a little diluted vinegar and water with a few drops essential oil to clean pretty much anything. Yes, the smell of white vinegar will quickly disappear, and it’s better than inhaling a bunch of toxic fumes.
3. Change the air.
I’ll just say it: When I go to someone’s house, the first thing I notice is how it smells and the relative freshness. If I go to a smoker’s home, I am instantly grumpy if there’s second-hand smoke present (and will proceed to fake-smile and make comments until I can escape….terrible for all involved.) I recoil at staleness, cat-pee smells, dog-breath, old-cooking scents that linger and dirty bathrooms. I swear, I am not a snob and generally don’t judge a person’s home in terms of style or anything. But scent. Good god. Scent. I think many people have become nose-blind to their home’s scents. (Isn’t there a commercial about this right now? Whatever, it’s so true!). Refresh the air in your home as soon as you suspect that creepy bad-vibe sinking in like the awful houseguest it is…all it takes is one minute!
Tip: Open windows and burn a little incense, candle or do a quick smudge. Get a small table-fan to circulate air around your home. I recommend Palo Santo for smudging, as white Sage has a bit of a weedy-scent, and although it’s powerful for a smudging ritual, if you just want an aroma-change, I’d stay away from it. Use an essential oil diffuser (note: this isn’t the one I use as I can’t find the brand and model I use, but mine is also glass and wood like this one…except mine was 5x the prices….yikes.) As for simple essential oils, citrus and lavender mix well together and aren’t very pricey, and evergreens are always refreshing. If you’re using incense or are smudging, walk around your home to get the smoke in different corners, where bad vibes may be lurking.
Switch up the scent in your home and you’ll feel an instant change in the whole energy on your house.
These three tips take less than 10 minutes to accomplish and the result? You will feel less stress at home…and less stress at home? Means better skin for you.
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