Setting intentions for the New Year is an excellent ritual to invite more mindfulness and care into your life. Many New Year’s resolutions are centered around self-improvement — and for good reason. It’s a new year and we want to use this opportunity to improve our lives and ourselves. But, intention setting doesn’t only adhere to personal growth, it can be incorporated into many areas of our lives, including our pesky household chores, such as cleaning.
“Most people clean their home or have somebody do their home cleaning for hygienic reasons,” explains Ana C. Andrés co-founder of Tidy Choice, a cleaning service based in London, UK. “However, cleaning can be much more than just tidying and removing dust, dirt, and mess,” she adds. What Andrés means is that cleaning can be intentional and bring about more meaning to our daily lives, especially when rooted in purpose.
Up ahead, we break down how to clean with more intention for a refreshed space in the New Year.
How to Clean with Intention
Bringing more mindfulness to every corner of our lives — including household chores — has its benefits. “By cleaning with intention, we set goals that give meaning tasks more meaning,” explains Andrés. “We can use cleaning as an effective means to an end,” Andrés adds, noting that being intentional with cleaning practices is a fun way to incorporate some other New Year’s intentions into our daily routines.
For example, “if we want to improve our mental well-being, we [can] use cleaning with mediation techniques to improve our mood, reduce our fatigue, and enhance our concentration,” says Andrés. “If we want to re-energize, we can use our weekly cleaning to rearrange our home space according to Feng-Shui principles to create the right atmosphere at home,” she adds.
And, if being more active in 2022 is on your list of intentions, Andrés even suggests looking at cleaning like an additional workout routine. For an added bonus, you can even wear ankle or wrist weights while scrubbing, vacuuming, and more.
Much like other intentions, it helps to carve out some time to jot down cleaning intentions. This could look like monthly cleaning goals or be as simple as a list of to-dos for your New Year’s house cleaning. When writing these intentions down, consider the why behind them.
For example, instead of writing down “clean the living room” or “rearrange the living room” on your list, make note of why you wish to have a clean and organized living room, such as “clean the living room so we feel more at peace after work” or “rearrange the living room so we have more space to practice yoga.”
Having a clear reason for your cleaning efforts helps with motivation and might even increase thoughtfulness as you consider your why while doing the task at hand.
Refresh Your Space for the New Year
According to Andrés, cleaning your home in January — especially rearranging your daily environment — can make you feel like you are starting “anew in a positive way.” This is especially true this month, not just because it is a new year but because of the season we are in.
“During winter months, we spend many more hours indoors,” says Andrés. “Living rooms become the core area for our recreation time,” she adds, noting that, for this reason, focusing on the common areas is a good place to start as it can create more Zen by way of “decluttering and tidying up” to bring “peace of mind and new energy to start the year strongly.”
In addition to focusing on common or gathering areas, the kitchen is a good place to give your home a reset, especially after the holiday season. “Over the holidays, fridges are full to the brim and become disorganized and dirty,” says Andrés. Giving your refrigerator a refresh can help you start the new year strong with not only a spick and span appliance but the ability to see your stock of high vibrational foods.
Another important area of the kitchen is the oven as “ovens are heavily used over the holidays,” says Andrés, noting that January is the best time for “a thorough clean.” As far as intentional organizing is concerned, focusing on the clutter in the pantry and your cabinet space also feels good this time of year.
Not only will it help reset things after a busy season of cooking, but it will help keep things organized during the colder winter months when homecooked meals are frequently on the menu.
Creating a Daily Routine
Giving your space a reset is one thing — keeping it up for the entire year is a whole other. “Keeping your home in shipshape all year round might seem like an impossible task but it does not have to be,” says Andrés, adding that there are a few ways to keep on top of it all and “easily make cleaning with intention part of your daily routine.”
Andrés recommends creating a schedule “to keep you on track” and to “reward yourself when all the cleaning is finished.” You also don’t have to do it alone, Andrés suggests getting the entire family involved in cleaning tasks to make it less daunting. And, if you’re someone who likes a challenge, another fun way to spice up the cleaning schedule is to “set a 10-minute alarm and see how much you can get done within that time.” Andrés says you can also add more joy to a cleaning session by listening to music, a podcast, or an audiobook while tidying up.
As for motivation, a little visualization doesn’t hurt. “Visualize a sparklingly clean home before cleaning,” says Andrés.