How To Create A Harmonious Home
Episode 8 is here!
Is your home a sanctuary or a prison right now? Maybe it is somewhere in between? Let The EmPOWERment Couple inspire you to improve your home life experience. Whether your home functions as your office, is constantly packed with kids, pets, and company, or you live alone, you deserve to live in a happy, healthy, and beautiful space. This won’t require a total makeover, but rather inspire some easy and inexpensive ways to improve your home using the five senses as your guide. Your sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, and extrasensory perception know what it needs to be happy. So, get your “does it spark joy,” feelings ready, and maybe a couple of loads of laundry to fold. This episode reminds us to, “get it done with fun!”
Are you creating harmony or discord in your house and what does a harmonious home look and feel like to you?
For us, a harmonious home is welcoming, inspiring, loving, safe, and fosters an environment where all of its inhabitants can grow into their highest selves. This includes all human and non-human family members such as pets and plants.
Harmony is defined as a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity. In music, harmony is defined as any simultaneous combination of tones, especially when blended into chords pleasing she to the ear; chordal structure, as distinguished from melody and rhythm.
The opposite of harmony can be described as disagreement, discord, dislike, hatred, incompatibility, cacophony, clash, or disproportion.
Is your home a sanctuary or a prison right now? Maybe it’s somewhere in between? We’d like to empower you to improve your home life experience. Whether your home also functions as your office or workplace like ours or is constantly packed with kids, pets, and guests all the time, or you live alone, you deserve to live in a healthy, happy, space.
We’ve lived in some chaotic places in our lives and one of the things that calm me is making my home comfortable, however small or big. Sometimes the best way for me to relax is to dive into creative projects like crafts, interior design, DIY, home projects and decorating, to make our house as harmonious as possible.
Have you Konmari’d your home? Have you decluttered? If you’re not familiar with Marie Kondo, she’s a #1 New York Times bestselling author of the book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” Get her book on Amazon here.
She also has a show on Netflix called, “Tidying Up,” and if you haven’t watched it, and you’re into organizing, it’s basically organizing porn. Watch this clip to see more.
The sentiment that we have adopted from her show, is to be grateful for what you have, and really love your home before cleaning it. This is how we have shifted our cleaning dread to cleaning joy.
Sometimes we look at our house when it’s messy and feel ashamed or embarrassed about the mess. Instead of the mind loop of, “ugh I hate this,” we suggest that you start the cleaning process by restoring your energy to appreciation. Instead of saying “I HAVE to clean my house” turn your negative stance into one of appreciation in that you GET to clean your own house, you GET to give energy back to the things you love in your home. One of our favorite mantras is, “get it done with fun.”
We’ve come up with inexpensive ways to improve your home using the 5 senses as our guide; touch, sight, sound, smell, taste, and extrasensory perception.
Everything is energy, so you need to physically touch the things in your home to give them your energy. You can monitor your emotions about your home by asking yourself how you are feeling. So let’s try it:
- When you picture being in your home, are you feeling negative, anxious, dread, or overwhelmed, or are you feeling excited, comforted, relaxed, nourished, and delighted?
- Then picture how touch plays a part.
Try these things out and see how they make you feel.
- Think about the fabrics that are pleasing to the touch like a nice throw on the couch.
- Think about what makes your home comfortable. Is it your bed, that chair you love, or a special place that you enjoy the sunshine in the summer or a warm spot in the winter. When we sacrifice our comfort this makes us want to be anywhere but home.
- Recognize what makes you feel like home. Is it warm clothes from the dryer, or the feeling of air on your skin from a fan or air filter while you sleep?
- What about your house attire? It may be the lounge clothes, PJs, slippers, or socks that enhance your home experience.
What are some healthy habits you can create that help you feel good in your home that relates to touch?
Here a few suggestions:
- Make your bed every morning. “A survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that people who make their beds every morning are 19 percent more likely to report regularly getting a good night’s sleep. People who were surveyed also reported benefits from having clean sheets — specifically, 75 percent of people said they get a better night’s rest when their sheets are freshly cleaned because they feel more comfortable.”
- Clean your floors regularly and remove your shoes at the door. It’s important to take your shoes off because scientists have found that shoes pick up harmful bacteria like C Diff, and E. Coli, as well as agriculture chemicals, so definitely set up an area to remove your shoes when you enter the house. Basically what scientists found is that the soles of your shoes are dirtier than toilet seats and that bacteria survive on shoes much longer. This is where touching a dirty floor can harm your health.
- Clean anything that you touch regularly, even pillows, chairs, couches, and things that are upholstered.
It is through touch, that we physically interact with the surfaces of our homes. If you know of a surface that creates a negative feeling such as a dusty countertop, a rough floorboard, or a wobbly banister, find a simple way to switch a negative into a positive. Create a 10-minute power session and dust the countertop, put a plush rug over the floorboard, and see if that wobbly banister can be remedied by a fresh set of screws! We often tolerate these small discrepancies, but over time, they add up, and bit by bit, they pull at your attention, and instead of feeling happy to be home, you may feel eager to escape.
What do you see when you get home? Is it a clean and tidy home? The goal for tidying is really making sure you’re only holding on to the things you love and enjoy using and the things you don’t, well it’s time to let it go. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
The winters can be lengthy where we live. So, after 5 to 6 months of being indoors with the windows sealed tight, spring cleaning is both exciting and necessary. If you’re not an expert on spring cleaning here are ten tips:
- Donate or consign any items that don’t need to be in your home any longer.
- Put seasonal items away as soon as possible.
- Prep spring necessities like bug spray, sunscreen, garden gloves, lake bags, or hiking packs and establish a place to put them in for easy use.
- Clean the windows and the window screens to let all the fresh air in.
- Change bedding to spring bedding and be sure you’re using breathable natural fabrics.
- Go through the junk drawer and reduce it to a tray. Chances are after you have put things back where they belong, everything you need in that drawer can live on a dinner-size plate or tray.
- Organize the pantry and the freezer to make space for the new season. Clean and prepare your canning, freezing, and storage to make space for preserving the upcoming harvest.
- Put winter bedding in storage as is and wash it ahead of next season. No sense washing before it goes in storage. We like to thank it for keeping us warm and cozy.
- Take plants outside and hose them down or mist and wipe down leaves. Plants get dusty too!
- Do a deep clean on anything that didn’t get attention during the winter months like carpets, rugs, drapes, or upholstery.
Cleaning Product Recommendations:
What are you cleaning with? Do you need to detox your cleaning products? According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are more than 85,000 synthetic chemicals in the products we consume and use on a daily basis. If you’re cleaning your home with a product that claims it is a disinfectant, cuts grease, kills mold, or is an antibacterial, it likely contains a pesticide and chemicals of concern. Studies show that cleaning with toxic chemicals can have adverse health consequences like lowered immunity and antibiotic resistance.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there isn’t enough science to show that over-the-counter antibacterial soaps are better at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water. Our top pick for cleaning our home is Branch Basics. We use their products to clean every single surface and item in our home from countertops, to dishes to laundry. You can get 10% of any Branch Basics starter kit using this link and code “Zuri” at checkout. With a starter kit, you can clean your whole house, do your laundry, wash your dishes, clean your mirrors, floors, and windows for several months for less than $50.
Branch Basics is a cleaner option because you just replace the concentrate and refill the starter kit bottles when needed. We like to use a few drops of essential oils in each bottle and we change up the scent to fit the job. But, if you’re sensitive to any smells, Branch Basics is odorless. The best part about this product is that you aren’t using toxic ingredients. You are also not wasting money on some name-brand product that doesn’t work as well as Branch Basics. The second best thing is you don’t have to waste more plastic bottles because you’ll only be using the concentrate to refill existing bottles. They even have fancy glass bottles that can be reused if you want to skip plastic entirely. You can get 10% off with this link, just be sure to use code “Zuri” at checkout to get that discount.
Indoor Air Quality:
Toxic cleaners also add to poor indoor air quality. According to EWG, “inhalation of airborne particles is linked to coughs and respiratory irritation, as well as more serious long-term consequences including lung disease and cancer.” And while we are on the tip of recommending products, the best product to clean up the air in your home is an Intellipure Air Filter. We have talked about this device a lot because it has made such a significant difference in the cleanliness of our home. This device is 40 times more efficient than conventional HEPA filtration systems. People say you are what you eat; and we agree. But, we also believe that you are what you breathe! Let’s face it, you only eat three times per day, but you breathe twenty times per minute. You can get 10% off of any Intellipure filter using this link and code “Zuri.”
Why do all of this spring cleaning? Well, we’ve already shared that everything is energy and your home needs good energy from you to continue to share good energy back. Dusty houses host dusty stale energy. Keeping things clean and organized is good for you!
Science Says Cleaning Is Good For Your Mental, Emotional, and Physical Health:
A 2010 study published in the scientific journal, “Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, researchers used linguistic analysis software to measure the way 60 individuals discussed their homes. Women who described their living spaces as “cluttered” or full of “unfinished projects” were more likely to be depressed and fatigued than women who described their homes as “restful” and “restorative.” The researchers also found that women with cluttered homes expressed higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.”
Restorative is a keyword to take away from this study. You want your home to be a sanctuary and unfinished projects and clutter can drive anyone crazy. We can definitely attest that once our unfinished projects are done, we feel accomplished and grateful, which in turn allows us to work hard, and rest well.
“Nicole R. Keith, Ph.D., research scientist, and professor at Indiana University, found that people with clean houses are healthier than people with messy houses. Keith and her colleagues tracked the physical health of 998 African Americans between the ages of 49 and 65, a demographic known to be at an increased risk for heart disease. Participants who kept their homes clean were healthier and more active than those who didn’t. In fact, house cleanliness was even more of a predictor for physical health than neighborhood walkability.”
If you work from home, this study about having a clean environment to work in is for you.
“In 2011, researchers at Princeton University found that clutter can actually make it more difficult to focus on a particular task. Specifically, they found that the visual cortex can be overwhelmed by task-irrelevant objects, making it harder to allocate attention and complete tasks efficiently.”
If you haven’t fallen in love with the organization here is a reason to get on board the tidying up train.
“Darby Saxbe, a psychology professor at the University of Southern California recently published research about having a clean house and mental health. She reported that “(Cleaning) gives people a sense of mastery and control over their environment. Life is full of uncertainty and many situations are out of our hands, but at least we can assert our will on our living space. Clutter can be visually distracting, too, and serve as a nagging reminder of tasks and chores undone.” In other words, when you feel that urge to clean and declutter when you’re stressed out, there’s an underlying basis for it.”
Aside from having a cleaner home, the relationship between a clean house and mental health can help us reduce anxiety and other mental health issues.
According to the ADAA, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “the physical action of housekeeping and the end result of a cleaner home help relieve stress, anxiety, and depression. When stress affects the brain, the rest of the body suffers the consequences as well. The physical benefits of exercise like cleaning house are well established, from reducing fatigue to improving concentration.”
Here’s another perk, cleaning your home is also good exercise. Exercise like housekeeping produces endorphins which improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.
“Scientists have found that regular participation in an aerobic exercise like scrubbing and mopping has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects. If you can clean for just twenty minutes a day, you can reduce stress, clutter, and relationship friction. Vigorous cleaning like scrubbing floors is an outlet for negative emotions as you burn energy and occupy your mind with the task at hand.”
It’s all about deliberate action and adding our mantra back in here, “get it done with fun.”
“A study published in the journal Mindfulness found that participants who engaged in mindfully washing the dishes — meaning they took a moment to inhale the scent of the soap and to allow their skin to absorb the warmth of the water — reported a 27% reduction in nervousness, along with a 25% improvement in “mental inspiration.”
Mike likes to visualize the plates, pots, and pans caked with old habits, and bad memories, that he gets to wash off and watch dissolve or wash down the drain. While I scrub the dishes, I also scrub my mind.
Let’s look at how a dirty home can create discord in a relationship.
“The University of California gathered thirty couples for a study on stress hormones. Those who described their house as messy or chaotic showed increased levels of cortisol, a steroid hormone produced in response to stress. The study also found that women were more adversely affected by clutter than men. The evidence shows that decluttering and other housekeeping reduces cortisol levels and are healthy habits to adopt. But the benefits of a clean home also extend to your physical well-being.”
The relationship between a clean house and mental health is one that should be important to your whole family. We all love a cleaner, more organized home and we typically feel more at ease with less clutter. When you consider the overwhelming benefits—better physical health, improved mental health and a cleaner, healthier environment, it’s easy to see how keeping a home clean can keep minds calmer and relationships strong.
Are you surrounded by busy city streets or maybe even a freeway? If so, you’ll want to add some sounds in and around your home that restore your sense of hearing to pleasing things. We’ve identified some good sounds that you can add in here:
- Sound machines or apps
- Windchimes. This is the outdoor windchime we have at our house and it has a beautiful sound.
- Water features
- Music- playlists, especially for cleaning, tidying, or tasks that you do not enjoy.
- And silence can be powerful here too, so meditating or clearing the normal sounds with noise-canceling headphones. If you have a busy home, create a silence ritual where for 10 to 30 minutes, you silence TVs, stereos, appliances, or anything that creates noise. This is an opportunity to listen to the stillness that your home provides you.
Although you may not be able to control irritating sounds that come from outside your home, you can control the irritating sounds that come from inside the home. Take an inventory of any indoor sounds that irritate your nervous system. Many of these sounds can be fixed with simple remedies like using headphones or lowering the volume on the tv or stereo. Other sounds may require setting some house rules, especially if you are sharing it with a roommate, husband, or children.
Here are some of our house rules.
- No yelling at one another (adults)
- No screaming (kids)
- No advertising or t.v. with commercials
- No news
- No jolting alarms
- No junk t.v. with arguing or violence
Since everything is energy and your senses are extra sensitive, these things will create discord in the home. Here are a few sound sensory tools for your ears to help you feed your mind with good sounds that set a peaceful and productive tone.
- Playlists. Use our Sucky Task Awesome song playlist here.
- Inspiring movies
- Comedy to binge while doing laundry, we have a comedy list here to use for all your cleaning needs.
Mike always wears this necklace called a love tuner that Zuri purchased for him as a gift. It is a mindfulness tool that looks like a whistle or flute that plays a single tone, the 528hz frequency, the so-called “Love Frequency. So if you need a good gift we highly recommend the Love Tuner and it’s available on Amazon here. Listen to the episode at the 35-minute mark to hear the sound.
Smell is often considered one of our most powerful senses, and both good and bad smells tell us a lot about the world: what we should eat, even whom we should kiss. When it comes to our homes, if a space smells fresh, that’s a great sign. If the smell is bad, we feel uneasy.
Did you know that smells enhance the taste? When eating, our food releases aromas that travel into the nose. The sense of taste has five categories: salty, sweet, bitter, sour, or savory. However, when your nose smells food, it sends messages to the brain where the information is combined with taste receptors, enhancing the experience. That’s why when we eat something that smells bad, we plug our noses to reduce the odor.
Does your house have a bad scent?
Have you ever noticed a weird smell when you get home from a vacation? Well, that’s what your house smells like all the time to people who don’t live there. That’s because the longer you’re exposed to scents, the less you’re able to notice them. “It’s called sensory adaptation, or informally, “nose-blindness.” The more time we spend around familiar objects, the less likely we are to realize that they stink. Sensory adaptation is common to all the senses. This “nose blindness” is actually adaptive, because when regular smells fade into the background and an unfamiliar scent pops up such as smoke, we notice it more.” But it can also mean that your stuff smells and you don’t even know it. It may be why someone isn’t visiting you more. So let’s look at some bad smell offenders.
The Bad Smell Offenders:
- Toxic cleaners
- Molds and mildews
- Dirty dishes
- Diaper bins
- Dirty laundry
- Cat boxes and dirty animals
- Dirty refrigerator and old food
- Clogged garbage disposal
Our least favorite smell is an artificial fragrance that they put in products for the home, like trash liners or Swiffer mops. Basically, anything that has a chemical scented “air freshener” we stay away from. We don’t recommend fragranced or perfumed products because they contain harmful endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
Smell Good Tools:
Are you wondering how to add some good smells into your home and remove the bad? We’ve linked some products and tools below to take the guesswork out of finding things to make your room fresh and beautiful smelling. Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and we will earn a commission if you purchase through the links on this website. Please note that we’ve linked to these products purely because we recommend them and they are products we trust. There is no additional cost to you.
Here are some safe “smell good” tools:
- Simmer organic or homemade potpourri on the stove.
- Open the windows
- Add a few drops of these Organic Essential Oils from Cliganic to a misting bottle and water, then spray the room.
- Baking soda on the carpet ahead of vacuuming and a scoop in cat boxes mixed with litter helps as well.
- Add fresh eucalyptus stems and leaves to a vase or use in your shower by hanging on the nozzle.
- Add these all-natural beeswax votive candles to a bowl of coffee beans to remove any bad odor.
- Bake 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract for 30-60 minutes in a baking dish
- Create baking soda pouches with a few drops of organic Cliganic Essential Oil to your trash can.
- Activated charcoal pouches can be hung around the home. We recommend this pouch set on Amazon.
- House plants, you can purchase these or see if anyone is giving them away on Craigslist or Facebook marketplace.
- Intellipure Air Filters can actually eliminate bad odors like mildew or pet dander scents out of your home environment.
- Essential Oil Diffuser: The best diffuser we’ve found is this one from Vitruvi. We found that a lot of devices either don’t work or leak water or are not esthetically pleasing.
- Organic essential oils can be used in many creative ways beyond just a mechanical diffuser. You can also add them to reed diffusers in votives but the scent will not be as strong using this method. Our top pick for essential oils comes from Cliganic and this set will get you started on your aromatherapy journey.
- Candles that are safely scented. We like Aira candles and this honeysuckle one is the perfect spring scent. Just click through to Amazon if you’re looking for clean-burning candles with therapeutic grade essential oil blends. These candles are hand-poured 100% soy candle wax, paraffin-free, and it burns for 110+ hours.
- For laundry, we add the Cliganic Organic Essential Oils to these organic premium wool dryer balls rather than artificially scented chemical dryer sheets. We like to use Branch Basics for washing too and simply add the Essential oil to the laundry bottle.
- For our Branch Basics bathroom cleaner, we add a touch of peppermint, tea tree, and oregano essential oil to cut out any harmful bacteria lingering. This also makes the bathroom smell great!
Have you heard of aromatherapy? Experts believe certain smells can soothe people’s emotions through aromatherapy. You’ll want to experiment with essential oils to see how you like to use them best. We add them to our unscented Branch Basics cleaning solution for laundry, surfaces, bathrooms. When purchasing essential oils it is crucial to purchase certified organic so you’re not using toxins as aromatherapy. Our top pick for essential oils comes from Cliganic and this set will get you started on your aromatherapy journey. The great thing about this set is that you can create all of the blends listed below using this organic starter kit. Researchers have created essential oils of flowers and plants that trigger responses in the brain. If you’re suffering from one of these ailments or looking to boost an area, these are some common essential oils to use.
- Confidence Blend: Frankincense, Jasmine, and Sandalwood.
- Depression Zapper Blend: Sage, Jasmine, Lavender, Citrus (Grapefruit, Lemon or Orange) Rose Geranium, and Sandalwood.
- Happy Boost Blend: Chamomile, Jasmine, and Rose.
- Bug Off Blend: Lemongrass, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Geranium, and Tea Tree Oil.
- Anxiety Melter Blend: Cedarwood, Frankincense, Lavender, Orange, and Rose.
- Memory Boost Blend: Jasmine, Lavender, Lemon, and Rosemary.
- Stress Less Blend: Chamomile, Frankincense, Lavender, Citrus, (Grapefruit, Lemon, or Orange) Rose, and Sandalwood.
Taste is such an important part of the senses and without it, we wouldn’t survive. So, in your home, you can either create a delicious food haven for your tastebuds or a food desert. Your taste buds should be just as excited to be home as the rest of you. Here are a few tips to keep your taste buds happy.
- Make home-cooked meals regularly. There’s a reason why they call it home-cooked because it evokes a sense of comfort and familiarity. If you’re looking for recipes we have a lot of them on our recipe page here.
- Grow fresh herbs on the windowsill as it can take the taste of any meal up a notch.
- If you’re able to, plant an organic garden so you always have fresh food options. You don’t have to have a huge plot of land, because you can grow a lot in a container garden. You can also grow microgreens on your counter that are nutrient-dense and super tasty. This is the starter kit we use for growing microgreens on our counter.
- Have things to nosh on and on display like organic cookies or brownies. If you listened to the show, this is the cookie recipe we referenced.
- Batch juices, or salads in a jar so you’re appeasing your need for quick snacks packed with powerful nutrients. Batch cooking, in general, is a powerful time-saver and it ensures you’re eating healthy. You can make two to three large meals and eat off of that for the week or freeze for busier times.
- Seasonal fresh food as snacks will help you feel comforted and keep you healthy.
Questions to ask:
When examining taste, you can make a list based off of the questions:
- Are you nurturing your tastebuds with things that make you feel good?
- What tastes are creating harmony?
Above the 5 senses rests our sixth sense. We are vibratory beings that emit and respond to vibrational frequencies. The 6th sense refers to our ability to feel, or sense, vibrations. Everything has a vibrational frequency. Some are so subtle that they are nearly imperceptible, while others are profound enough that they can’t be ignored. Some frequencies will resonate with you creating a soothing, loving feeling, while others will not and create feelings of anxiousness and discomfort. Here are some tools to help create harmony in your home for your sixth sense:
- The smudging ceremony is a custom used for centuries by many cultures as a way to create a cleansing smoke bath that is used to purify the body, aura, energy, ceremonial/ritual space or any other space and personal articles. We like this smudge kit on Amazon for those looking to experience a full smudging ritual.
- Crystals carry with them their own vibrational frequency. There is a wide variety of crystals, and each has its unique properties such as an ability to energize, heal, and protect. Many believe that the placement of specific crystals can help cleanse a home or add intended energy to a space. For instance, placing Black Obsidian in your entryway absorbs outside negative energy. Placing citrine in our office invites creativity and prosperity. Place Rose Quartz in the bedroom to infuse this space with love.
- Feng Sui is a system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy (qi, or chi), and whose favorable or unfavorable effects are taken into account when staging homes and designing buildings. If you’d like to learn more, we love this book available on Amazon with this link, called the Feng Sui bible, and have benefited from its teachings in our home.
- Practicing gratitude by thanking your home every time you leave and return will bless your home with positive energy
- Bringing good energy in and keeping bad energy out. This may seem like a no-brainer, but don’t invite people into your home that have bad vibes.
- Meditating and holding space for love and happiness to flourish in your home.
- And most importantly bring in love. You can be a being of love by expressing it in your home daily, sharing it with everyone and it will radiate throughout your home.
We hope this blog was valuable in helping you appreciate your home even more and to create some spring cleaning inspiration. Maybe we even helped you set some new house rules or inspired your next crystal shop adventure. Whatever it may be, we would love to hear your feedback. If we did help you, we have a request, as a new podcast, we need your help. Can you rate and review this show on iTunes? Thanks for reading!