Wiping the Slate Clean: De-Cluttering the Home For a Fresh Start

It’s been four years since Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up hit the bestseller’s list, but the de-cluttering movement isn’t going away anytime soon. Converts of Kondo’s KonMari method say taking inventory of each and every object in your home and determining if is “sparks joy” is hugely satisfying and rewarding. While this minimalist form of organizing might be too extreme for some, there are life-changing benefits to de-cluttering your home or workspace. Tidy spaces are aesthetically pleasing, but they also decrease stress and free up mental and actual space for doing the things you love. Without realizing it, excess clothing, memorabilia, papers, and other possessions you don’t love or use can create anxiety.

To jump-start the process of letting go of all that STUFF for the right reasons, take our hands-on workshop “Getting More From Less” on Thursday, February 15, 10am – 12pm, at Rodgers Ranch in Pleasant Hill. Pre-registration is recommended. Denise Koroslev, president of Rodgers Ranch has taught this class for a couple years and has countless tips to point you in the right direction. A representative from Republic Services will even tell you where to recycle everything! For more information and registration, go HERE

While you're tackling that clutter, you’ll no doubt come across products in your your bathroom cabinet, closet, or garage and wonder if you’re inadvertently storing toxic chemicals. A cursory glance at things like toiletries, carpet cleaner, and furniture polish shows a litany of ingredients we can’t pronounce, let alone define. What impact do these chemicals have on our long-term health? If inhaled, do household products like paint, which may contain VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), affect the nervous system? Many of us have heard about phthalates, often labeled innocuously as “fragrance,” but it’s easy to forget they are endocrine disruptors in disguise. How do they impact growing children and teenagers going through puberty?

Our decluttering instructor happens to also be an expert on toxic chemicals in the home, and her “Guide to a Healthier Home” booklet lists chemicals commonly used in household cleaners and their possible affects on health. She encourages consumers to become avid label readers and regularly check ingredient lists. If a label has “warning,” “poison,” or “danger” on it, reconsider its use; not only can products be harmful to us, they can be toxic to marine life after making their way to our water supplies. Even “natural,” “organic,” “biodegradable,” and “cruelty-free” labels can be unregulated. Look for certification by the EPA’s Design for the Environment program (DfE), which indicates fewer environmental hazards, or the Leaping Bunny Logo (see below), the only internationally recognized symbol that indicates no animal testing was done during product development. Check out the Environmental Working Group website (www.EWG.org), which is a wealth of information for safer personal care products.

For a simple and non-toxic laundry detergent, here’s Denise’s recipe:

Mix together ½ cup of baking soda, ¼ cup of Borax, 3 Tbs. of bar soap grated on large opening of cheese grater (will look like coconut), and a few drops of essential oil like lavender (optional). Use ¼ cup per laundry load.


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