Cleaning Your House Is Good for Your Mental Health

Of course, no one ever said parting with your high school varsity jacket or 16 pink lip glosses would be easy. In a study led by Rodriguez of 43,000 people across the United States, 20 percent said they had difficulty discarding worn-out or worthless possessions.

That’s one in five people who have trouble getting rid of things. Start with small goals — try 10 to 15 minutes a day of decluttering. “Pick a spot that will make you feel good every time you see that the area is clear and organized,” advises Rodriguez. Tackle one room (bedroom, office, kitchen) and one category (clothes, books, kitchenware) at a time. Professional organizers encourage starting with items that take up the most space (like bulky jackets) to make a big impact fast. “There is no better motivation than seeing an immediate payoff to your hard work,” says Rodriguez. Not only will you see the difference — you’ll feel it. —Paige Stables


Beauty editors aren’t the only people who are swimming in lipsticks and dried-out mascaras. The Home Edit organization pros, Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, share their tips for wrangling an over-the-top collection. —Jessica Cruel

Take stock of everything you’ve got

Empty your drawers or vanity completely every four months so you can assess your stash. “You want to assign a value to [everything] and decide what’s worth taking up space,” says Teplin. It’s also a good time to note expiration dates: Once opened, most products are good for about a year before bacteria starts to gather. If you’re aware of what you have and how long you can keep it, “you’re more likely to use it by the time it’s expired,” she says.

Prevent spills (or at least, minimize the damage)

You could have sworn you capped that toothpaste or concealer but, ruh-roh… your stuff is now a goopy mess. Minimize the fallout from leaks by using shallow bins or drawer inserts (The Home Edit has a line of drawer organizers). “[During your] clean-out, you can wash the actual container,” says Shearer. Bins also help keep things like Q-tips and cotton balls stationary to avoid toppling.

Store your stuff strategically

Have a special section for the beauty items you use every day, says Shearer. Then, group everything else by category — blushes with blushes, mascaras with mascaras, and so forth. “Functionality is key,” says Teplin, who suggests using baskets and purchasing clear dividers to further segment items.

Know when to refrain

Before you start shoving hotel shampoos into your carry-on, get honest with yourself: “[Don’t take it] unless you know exactly when you’re going to use it,” Teplin says.

This story originally appeared in the April 2021 issue of Allure. Learn how to subscribe here.

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