Begin 2023 in a fresh and healthy space… and let go!
Do you have a toxic relationship with your own life? Now is the best time for a clean-up, says Zanzibar-born wellness coach Fatma Zaidi, and shares her ideas.
Fatma Zaidi, wellness consultant, born in Zanzibar, living in Toronto
Some call it spring-cleaning, some the great year-end makeover, others simply feel they have enough unhealthy stuff in their life and want to get rid of it. I was born in Zanzibar and I now live in Toronto. I recently visited the island to reconnect with my family’s roots and stayed in Fumba Town. When I was looking for green home cleaning products there were very few. And I noticed a lot of pesticides and chemicals used in homes. That’s why I am happy to share some detox secrets with readers.
Why declutter now? First, you have to start sometimes! Second, because it’s that time of the year again, time to let go of what is stressful in your life. And you’ll see - a few simple changes will improve your home and life immensely.
Declutter your space
Let’s start with home sweet home. A loving and healthy home needs constant attention to become a healing space for its inhabitants. I often remind my clients of the importance of creating an environment that supports our health and happiness.
In Indian and Chinese traditions, homes go through a deep cleaning before big festivals to provide an auspicious space inviting love, joy and abundance. “Clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fuelled by procrastination”, says book author Christina Scalise, one of my favourite quotes.
Begin by looking around your home and write down the answers to these questions: What is not serving me anymore? What is my clutter telling me about my life? What are the values I want to express in my home? You will be surprised by your own answers!
Decluttering is an on-going process. Choose one area to start with, depending on the time you have - pantry, fridge, closet, drawer, toy box. These are easy to finish in a few hours to a day. It will leave you with a sense of accomplishment. Prepare three boxes or bags and start dropping items that you are very clear you don’t want anymore, differentiating between discard/recycle, donate or sell. One bag for each. Start with at least two areas before X-Mas, continue in the new year and you are all set for change!
Books can be donated to the new Fumba Town Library. Contact Sharmin Ebrahim Esmail for more info. For all other items, nearby Fumba village, mosque and schools are happy to receive your donations.
Next step: detox your cleaning stuff
As a women’s and wellness coach I am passionate about the quality of products we use everyday. The very products that are supposed to keep our homes clean and healthy can be harmful to us and the earth’s ecological system. Many cleaning supplies or household products can irritate the eyes or throat, cause headaches and other health problems, including cancer releasing dangerous chemicals, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), ammonia and bleach. Try to avoid such chemical superbombs. Make sure to look at labels when purchasing anything. The American Lung Association advises, “choose products that do not contain or have reduced amounts of VOCs, fragrances, irritants and flammable ingredients.” Try to avoid using air fresheners, I know it’s hard and they can be so tempting. Use incense instead. One recent study of a science group in the US found the effect of cleaning products on respiratory systems to be “as damaging as smoking twenty cigarettes a day”.
Homemade solutions are the alternative to many of your chemical killer cleaners. My two favourites are a self-made all-purpose-cleaner and a Rose window cleaner (see box for recipes).