In Healthy Hints and Hacks, Lifestyle

Cleaning objects

On a mission to minimise, TEENA TOWNSEND looks at how we can keep the house tidy and well-maintained without being wasteful.

Easy steps to a less stressful clean

  • Start by creating a regular cleaning routine – daily, weekly, monthly and by season. If it’s planned and regular, it reduces stress and anxiety which can be overwhelming.
  • Spend less time cleaning. Clean more often but less overall – 15 minutes per day rather than once per week. That quick 10 minute whip around and tidy before bed can mean waking up to a better, more positive frame of mind each morning.
  • Understand the difference between tidying and cleaning. You can’t clean properly if things aren’t tidy or organised to begin with.
  • Reap the benefits – cleaning can also have the following health benefits: good exercise and physical activity, improved mental health, and lessened allergies and hayfever.


Clean for better health and a healthier environment

  • Reduce the sheer number of cleaning products used and needed for floors, windows, walls, kitchen, bathroom, and toilets. Many all-purpose products have multiple uses.
  • Reduce use of heavy and potentially toxic chemicals – vinegar, lemon, bicarb, salt, sugar all have many very effective uses.
  • Reduce use of disposable products – dryer sheets, paper towels, disposable bags, disposable razors. Swap paper kitchen towels for washable reusable cloths. Tissues for handkerchiefs. Invest in reusable batteries. Stop using single-use surface wipes and cleaners – they may be convenient but are not economical or environmentally friendly.
  • Switch to refillable containers, buy products in bulk and reduce packaging and waster.
  • Fill your home with indoor pot plants, which can filter and keep air clean and healthier.
  • Let the fresh air and sunshine inside where possible.
  • Use natural aromatics and fragrance oils alternatives instead of artificial or chemical based ones.


  • Keep your machines clean for better health and longevity. Clean your fridge, freezer, washing machine, clothes dryer, ovens and dishwashers regularly – the filters, trays, seals and so on. Floor drains too.
  • Clean and condition your leather chairs and sofas regularly for longevity.
  • Clean your mattresses, carpets, rugs and fabric sofas regularly for longevity and better health.
  • Invest in mattress and pillow protectors and replace your pillows every two years or so. Pillows do have expiry dates.
  • Check and set cooling and heating temperatures and thermostats on fridges, freezers, water heaters to ensure optimum performance.

Recycling and repurposing

  • Old towels cut into pieces make great cleaning cloths – ditto for old clothes, tea towels, PJs.
  • Old toothbrushes and paint brushes can also be put to a new use for cleaning in the home.
  • Old sheets and bedding can make perfect drop sheets, dust covers for painting and home maintenance tasks.
  • Kitchen containers – whether takeaway or just the unwanted variety, spare containers can be used for storage, cleaning, organising all over the home and garden. Ideal for toys, hobby items, the bathroom and hardware or handyman items and gardening items. Be creative about potential uses before disposing of them.
  • Buy recycled or secondhand products rather than brand new.


  • Everything has a place – there is no reason for things to be left lying around or for them not be able to be found when you really need them.
  • Try to get all the household members involved in the process – young and old. Educate everyone and assign tasks and responsibilities, ensuring age appropriateness.
  • Make your bed every day – not only does it make your room instantly tidier but it’s an immediate task completed which gives you a little mental boost each morning.
  • Washing and laundry – when possible, air dry your washing rather than using a dryer. Not only does it save energy and money but the sunshine is a natural sanitiser, making your clothes smell fresher. Airdrying also means your clothes won’t shrink or stretch out of shape.
  • Compost as much as possible – food scraps, coffee grounds, shredded paper and so on. If you’re not doing it already, make composting a non-negotiable habit which not only reduces waste but also enriches your garden.
  • Declutter and purge – sort through those cupboards and drawers and reduce what you have and get rid of what you don’t use or no longer need. Can it be repurposed? If not, then donate it.
  • Conserve water where possible – send grey water into the garden and try to avoid doing half loads of washing or dishes. Shower for a shorter time and check for wasteful leaks.
  • Remove hazardous waste from your home. Don’t stockpile batteries, old paint, motor oil or toxic chemicals in your attic or garage where they can leak and do damage to your health and the environment. Dispose of them responsibly and correctly on a regular basis. Contact your local council.

By reassessing our lifestyle habits and making improvements we can not only enhance our own mental and physical health, but can also contribute to a more positive impact on our environment and planet. The added bonus is that there’s often an economical benefit!

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