5 Ways to Revitalize Your Home For the New Year
There’s no doubt about it, we could all use a fresh start this coming year. The best place to begin? Try inside the four walls where you’ve spent more time than you ever thought possible! We asked experts in the cleaning and clearing realms for their tried-and-true tips on cleansing your living space so that you have the stamina to focus on what truly matters. So break out the palo santo and get ready for a more blissful 2021.
Kick Out the Clutter
“Your house is a sanctuary and recharging station. If it’s in disarray, you’re going to feel it—even if it’s on a subconscious level. Every evening after dinner, do a ‘Dirty 30.’ Set a timer for 30 minutes, then put everything in its place: dishes, the laundry, files, the mail, you name it. Think of it as doing a favor for your future self—if you can find things more quickly and easily, then you’ll be more productive and calmer overall.”—Alejandra Costello, Colombian-Italian organization expert in Purcellville, Virginia
“Clutter is so symbolic of other areas in our life. If something’s broken and you’re holding on to it, don’t settle. You’re worth more. Recycle it, donate it. Give yourself permission to have beautiful things. When our children see that, it affects their self-worth too.”—Nicoletta Daríta de la Brown, Panamanian-American shaman, energy healer, and mom of four in Baltimore
“There’s power behind our intentions—we attract what we manifest.”—Alondra Alberti, holistic architect and interior designer
Let the Light In
“Don’t underestimate the power of natural lighting to uplift and illuminate, especially when you’re restless or dealing with difficult emotions. If you don’t have many windows in your house or they’re all on the same side of a room, hang mirrors opposite the windows to reflect the sunshine and make the whole space feel brighter and more open and harmonious.”—Alondra Alberti, Dominican holistic architect and interior designer in New York City
“Many cultures revere the moon, and for good reason. It’s believed that opening windows during a full moon helps release what’s stagnant in your home. The moon shines bright to show us the way out of an old cycle and into a new one, and it teaches us the meaning of letting go to make space for what we truly want in life. As you gaze at the moon, ask yourself: What do I need to release? What would I like more of?”—Annie Vazquez, aka Annie the Alchemist, a Reiki-certified Cuban-American wellness guru in Miami
Mark your calendars! The next full moons are December 29, 2020 and January 28, 2021.
Pay Attention to Aromas
“Purifying your home is a great ritual to introduce on December 31 as you make way for a new year. You can light palo santo sticks, which have been used since Incan times, as an incense for spiritual cleansing. First, outline your silhouette with one. Then go from room to room, saying a mantra, like ‘I ask you, Universe, to release the energy from my home and replace it with a fresh one filled with love, happiness, and good health for 2021.’”—Vazquez
“Whenever you can, pick a scent that reminds you of something or someone you love to spruce up your environment. I still use my mom’s cleaner recipe: ½ quart warm water, 4 tablespoons vinegar, 20 drops lemon essential oil, and 20 drops lavender oil.”—Diana Rodriguez-Zaba, Mexican-American founder of the cleaning company Service Master Restoration and mom of two in Chicago
Scents can make us feel invigorated, relaxed, and even loved, according to research. No wonder we can’t resist smelling newborns!
Shift the Mood
“Growing vegetables or plants—even if it’s just on your balcony or over the kitchen sink—is really so important. We need to see signs of life, especially when we’ve been so cooped up. Watching a living thing blossom grounds us in the fact that time passes and that it’s okay. Every day is a new beginning.”—Alberti
“Fresh flowers look beautiful and are also tied to our chakras, which are zones in the body that can sometimes become blocked and affect emotional balance. Pay attention to the color of flowers you gravitate toward—it can give insight into your chakras. For example, one week you might be attracted to roses that are red, which is connected to your root chakra and may mean you need more security and stability. Regardless of which flowers you pick, remove any thorns before placing the blooms in your home, as they can create a static feeling.”—Vazquez
“We give so much love to our kids but sometimes forget there’s a child within us who needs nurturing too. That’s why I advise surrounding yourself with memories from your youth. I keep a photo on my desk of 3-year-old me at my grandma's house in the Dominican Republic. It reminds me of how far I’ve come, and that those big and boundless dreams I had as a child are still valid.”—Alberti
Bust That Dust
“You’re probably catching all the obvious spots in your regular cleaning, but don’t forget overlooked areas, such as baseboards, door trims, and picture frames. Save time by using an old dryer sheet—it works better than a rag because it has a little bit of oil to capture dirt. You can also use a hair dryer on hard-to-clean surfaces like window screens.”—Rodriguez-Zaba
It’s not just a nuisance—dust can contribute to allergies and even worsen asthma symptoms.
A version of this article originally appeared in Parents Latina's December/January 2021 issue as “Good Vibes Only.”