This Valentine’s Day, eliminate romance-killing stress.

This week most couples will make room for love and more romance. One of the best ways to do that is to eliminate some of the typical things couples argue about, that could wreck a perfectly good Valentine’s Day. One of those things is clutter: too much stuff makes it hard to find what you need. That kind of frustration leads to short fuses and arguments, not romantic gestures. Then there is the care and maintenance of said stuff and tensions around that. See where I’m going?

Americans spend 2.5 days a year just looking for lost items. Getting rid of unnecessary stuff would reduce the time spent on this, as well as the stress and disagreements that come with having and managing this stuff.

The worst time of day to deal with clutter is in the morning.

Take the pressure of trying to get somewhere in limited time and throw in unplanned minutes hunting for lost items or cleaning something from dinner the night before… Many couples start the day off negatively. Think about your last tense rush out the door when you were hunting for something and argued with your partner over who had it last or moved it somewhere silly.

Imagine being able to enjoy breakfast together with a conversation, instead of cleaning last night’s dinner pots while bumping into each other with a piece of toast hanging out of your mouth. What if the transition out the door was smooth enough to chat about the day ahead and wish your partner luck, sending them off with hugs and kisses? This counts as more romance. These are the smaller demonstrations of love and gratitude that experts consider important for nurturing relationships.

Here are six things you can do to simplify your home and mornings, and help eliminate romance-killing stress.

  1. Put your coat and outerwear away – in a designated spot – when you come home.
  2. Put your work bag/laptop in a regular, out-of-the-way place.
  3. Place your phone, keys, wallet, security pass, transit pass and other essentials in a pre-ordained spot.
  4. Clean-up the dishes and put away the leftover food immediately after dinner.
  5. Run the dishwasher overnight.
  6. Set out your clothes for the next day before bed.

These aren’t complicated things and, for some, may even seem downright obvious. But, often we don’t do the obvious and leave home in a bad mood. Working together as a couple to make your home life as simple as possible paves the way for more romance. It will create more time and energy for the things that really matter, and leave you in a better mood for celebrating love. Nurturing relationships is just one of the hidden benefits of decluttering.

Who wants to be spending their time and energy looking for things anyway?

The key is to start small and create new habits. If you like these steps, here are a few more to simplify your home. If you would like more help, I’m happy to chat.