Everyone’s familiar with Spring cleaning, but why not get ahead during the stagnant winter months? With the start of 2014, let’s welcome nothing but good vibes in the comfort of our homes. Read ahead for a guide explaining how to improve your environment with cleaning ideas, decluttering techniques, and a few all natural solutions.

1 Cleaning

Besides routine cleaning which might involve the dishes, sweeping and mopping or de-cluttering, a deep clean asks more of you. Pick a few chores and aim to complete them by the end of the week.

If you live in a larger home, feeling overwhelmed, wondering where to begin, try taking it one room at a time. Then focus on one SPACE at a time (Thanks Nate Berkus). For instance, begin with the dishes in the kitchen, followed by knocking out the counters and then mopping the floor. Break everything down.

Here’s a small list of areas to get you started.

A. Ceiling fans

B. Baseboards and corners of every room

C. Doors and door frames

D. Inside of cabinets

E. Shelves in the fridge

2 Declutter

De-cluttering differs from cleaning with attention dedicated towards organization. After the house is clean, move on to the de-clutter phase. Some examples of what to de-clutter follow:

A Paper piles (You know, the ones with bills, cards, magazines and other items from the mailbox)

B Pantry and fridge

C Bathroom Cabinets and Jewelry Boxes

D Closets

E Office area

3 Basic Feng Shui Techniques

When’s the last time you rearranged your furniture? Don’t let the words “Feng Shui” intimidate you; the rules of engagement are fairly easy to understand. Check out this website for practical Feng Shui guidelines.

All we’ve completed so far is the bedroom, but since the bed now resides in the correct spot, our quality of sleep has improved tremendously the last few nights. Your bed needs space on both sides, as if someone could enter the bed on either side of it. Don’t place the bed beneath a window or in line with doorways. It’s amazing how a seemingly small difference can create a noticeable impact.

4 Natural suggestions

For those interested in aromatherapy, try Sandlewood, Patchouli and Tea Tree Oil. Sandlewood is known to reduce anxiety and stress, acting as a calming agent, while Patchouli (a floral fragrance) eliminates fatigue and physically can reduce bloating and cellulite. If you have any weight loss goals in mind, Patchouli works wonders. Lastly, Tea Tree serves patients as one of the most popular and effective treatments. The oil is recommended to boost immunity and fight infections. If you don’t apply these fragrances topically, you can always burn a candle instead. Click here to read more about essential oils.

After cleaning and de-cluttering the house, be sure to try white sage. The USDA’s historical account of sage dates back to the Cheyennes, and they insisted upon it’s use for cleansing and clarification purposes. The leaves are burned to purify people, spaces, and other items such as livestock and and rifles. Furthermore, sage is predicted to rid things of negative vibes and bad energy. We saged our house after the first three steps and enjoyed the most peaceful night’s sleep we had experienced in awhile.

On a side note, we enjoy the aesthetic appeal of fresh flowers in our home. One of my resolutions for 2014 includes expanding on indoor gardening knowledge for presenting seasonal floral arrangements. Mother Nature Network lists 15 Houseplants for improving the quality of air, and feel free to review this link as well, which explains how to make your house feel more cozy.

If you have suggestions concerning how to ring in the New Year, please share!

IMAG4607Before and after photos of the bedroom