How to Improve the Health of Your Home in 2022
A huge focus of my work as an interior designer is on helping people feel healthy and happy in their homes. It's something I'm passionate about. For that reason, I'm sharing a few tips of ways we take care of our homes so that our homes take care us. All of these tips will cost you zero dollars, and may even save you some money in the long run!
Design and Photography: Hackett House Studio
Before we get started, I'd like to share that this post is an unpaid collaboration with The Light House Co., a home wellness consulting firm based in Columbus, OH. The Light House Co. is an amazing resource for home wellness education. I'll be going live on IG with Tracey, founder and owner of The Light House Co. later this week! Details are at the bottom of this post.
Last week on the blog, I shared 5 Easy Things You Can Do to Refresh Your Home in 2022. At the start of every new year, I always get very excited to align my home with the fresh and new mindset that comes along with that feeling of a new beginning.
But a big part of feeling comfortable and balanced in our homes comes from what we do to take care of homes so that they can take care of us. Donald H. Ruggles, author of one of my favorite books , Beauty, Neuroscience, and Architecture: Timeless Patterns and Their Impact on Our Well-Being describes just how interconnected our outward surroundings and our inner well-being truly are.
The study of Neuroaesthetics is a relatively new field that looks at the neurological response we have to art, design and beauty. This field of experimental science aims to combine neuro-psychological research with aesthetics by investigating the "perception, production, and response to art, as well as interactions with objects and scenes that evoke an intense feeling, often of pleasure" (wikipedia). In other words, those good feelings you get when you walk into an art museum (or let's be honest, a freshly cleaned living room)... they've been proven. We now know that we receive shot of serotonin when we enter a well-designed space filled with beautiful objects and, alternatively, receive a shot of cortisol (the stress hormone) when entering a room that is cluttered, unorganized and poorly designed.
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I've seen health and wellness gurus talk about this phenomenon using the "fishbowl analogy". The idea is that if your goldfish is living in a dirty, murky tank it won't matter how many healthy ingredients or medications you add to the water, the overall environment will still be harmful. I think of our homes in the same way. Although doing things like updating your bedding or adding greenery is an amazing start to adding comfort to your home, what we're taking out of our homes is arguably even more important. The best part is, once you start living more intentionally you will experience a snowball affect of health and happiness!
Which brings us to the subject of today's blog post! It's important we take care of our homes in a few key ways. In turn, our homes will take care of us right back.
To start, here are 3 easy things you can do to improve the health of your home. These three things can be done without purchasing a darn thing and they can actually even help you save money!
Step 1: Purge, purge, purge.... and then purge some more.
If there's one thing from this list that will have the most impact in your home, it's to get rid of things that are literally weighing you down. Don't worry, I get it -- my amazon addiction is real too! But once you start purging you'll realize how easy it is to live more intentionally and how much better it feels to live with less.
To start, go through your closets and get rid of everything you haven't worn in a year. If you think you might still love it, I suggest moving it out of your main closet and into a closet in a guest room or storage space. One strategy that I use is to list these excess items for sale on Poshmark. My theory is that if I can make a little bit of money off it, I probably won't have as hard of time letting it go and I get to buy something new that I'll actually wear.
After doing this method long enough, you will actually buy a lot less over time and start to gravitate toward higher-quality items that will last much longer. You can apply this method to all areas of your home (like your jewelry, toiletries, linen closet, pantry, electronics, etc) and actually save money by buying less in the long run! It will also mean your decluttering efforts will get less intensive every year, as you have a lot less "stuff" that needs addressed.
Step 2: Organize EVERYTHING
Once you've purged until you can't purge any more, it's time to reorganize the things you are left with. Refolding items in drawers or organizing closets by color or item type will feel so good the next time you go to look for something to wear. Jewelry and accessories have a way of getting the messiest-- with chains getting tangled and earring backs getting lost. In fact, we often end up not even utilizing over half of the clothing and accessories we have for this reason! It feels like such a waste.
Once your closets are under control, move on to other areas of your home. Junk drawers can easily be organized using plastic bags and drawer spacers made from cardboard. Pantries will benefit from seagrass bins that keep similar items corralled in one spot. You may not be able to do every closet of your home all at once, but slowly implementing organizing systems over time will make a huge impact.
Step 3: Clean things you didn't know needed cleaning.
Your dishwasher filter, your washing machine filter, your dryer's lint tray and the dryer's exhaust pipe are all areas that often get overlooked in our homes. But who wants to wash their dishes with a filter thats clogged up with years of food gunk and bacteria?! I want to vomit just thinking about it.
If your front-load washer window is all murky and no longer see through, then how clean could your clothes be getting if they're just rubbing up against it fifty times each cycle?! YUCK! Paying attention to these areas of our home will have us feeling so much better about how we go about our day-to-day.
And while you're at it, go on a dust-busting mission. To start, disassemble your vacuum (yes, you can do this! See video above) and give it a deep clean. Then, take it all around your house with the hand-held attachment sweeping behind doors and around baseboards. Get underneath beds, behind dressers, and especially suck up any lingering dust in a/c vents or shower fans. While you're at, dust off door way trim and ceiling fans with a feather duster. You will be amazed at how clean and fresh your home feels after doing a dusting deep-dive!
Design and Photography: Hackett House Studio
The truth is, interior designers have been in the business of health and wellness since the beginning. I know that my work goes far beyond filling spaces with furniture and decor. The real work presents itself in achieving that shot of serotonin that is delivered when a space is balanced, beautiful and fluid. Thoughtful incorporations of color and texture, or even something as simple as remaining mindful about organization, are the kinds of details that elevate our homes from spaces that contribute to our stressful lives, to spaces in which we thrive mentally and emotionally.
Because this is a topic I'm so passionate about, I'll be going LIVE on Instagram this Friday with my friend Tracey, founder and owner of The Lighthouse Co., a home-wellness consulting firm. Tracey is a home-health guru and someone who inspires me daily with educational tips and resources for keeping our homes feeling light, stress-free and beautiful. We'll be sharing tips and answering all of your questions about how to improve the health of your home in 2022!
Don't miss it this Friday, January 22nd at 2:30pm on Instagram!
Hackett House Studio is a boutique interior design firm located in Columbus, Ohio offering full-service and virtual interior design services, as well as concierge interior styling. Please visit the services page of our website to learn more about us, and to inquire about working with us.