The Mental Health Benefits of Spring Cleaning

Spring is finally here. The days are longer, the weather is warmer, and our windows are open as much as possible. And many of us are planning our annual weekend of spring cleaning after a long winter of being cooped up inside.

Sure, cleaning isn't super exciting for most people. But it not only tidies up our space, it also benefits our mental health. It can help reduce stress and anxiety while creating positive feelings of accomplishment that can boost your mood. In fact, residents in a 2021 study in China were more likely to report good health when living in tidy homes. 

Here's an overview of some of the mental health benefits of cleaning and decluttering your space.

Sense of order and control

When we feel like our lives are out of control or if we're struggling with some uncertainty, cleaning can be a way to assert control. Cleaning gives us a sense of mastery and control over our own environments.

A study by the University of Connecticut found that in times of high stress, people default to repetitive behaviors like cleaning because it gives them a sense of control during a chaotic time.

Plus, clutter and disorganization can be really distracting and make it hard to focus or complete other projects.

Boost your mood

Cleaning almost forces us to slow down, which can calm us during overwhelming situations. This can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, and even boost our mood.

Plus, studies have found that having clean sheets and making your bed are associated with a better night's rest. And, when you get more rest, that provides a whole host of mental health benefits, including a better mood.

Another study found that people who were mindful when washing dishes—they took the time to smell the soap and take in the experience—reported a 27% reduction in nervousness, along with a 25% improvement in "mental inspiration."

Increase your focus

When you're not distracted from a cluttered environment, you can focus on more important tasks, like work. A clean space can even make it easier to relax during your down time. If your living room isn't full of clutter, you can watch TV or read in peace because your eyes aren't constantly scanning the room, thinking about the mess. 

Having too many items in our field of vision distracts the brain’s processing capacity, according to a 2011 Princeton Neuroscience Institute study. Clearing away clutter allows our brains to focus on items and tasks one at a time.

Plus, organizing important documents, clothes, food and magazines make these items easier to find. And decluttering helps eliminate the stress that comes with frantically searching your house when you need to find something fast.

Sense of accomplishment

Our brains are hardwired to set and achieve goals. Many psychologists consider realistic goal-setting to be an important factor in overall happiness and satisfaction.

While spring cleaning can feel like an overwhelming task every year, try starting out small. You might fail to accomplish overly ambitious tasks, which could lead to disappointment. Don’t commit to a house-wide deep clean on a single Sunday afternoon. Break the job up into smaller tasks over several days, like a weekend or two.

When you successfully declutter your space, you increase positive feelings of accomplishment.

Promotes even more positive changes

Sometimes, a big change like a deep spring cleaning encourages us to re-evaluate our current routines and make new, healthy changes in our lives.

Consider spring cleaning as an opportunity to adopt other mental health-boosting activities, like journaling, exercising, or spending more time with loved ones. Whatever it might be, spring cleaning can help put you in the mindset of change and improvement.

We hope these mental health benefits will help motivate you to tackle your annual spring cleaning tasks. At OnSite Wellness LLC, health and wellness is our specialty.

Incorporating a wellness program at your workplace can have massive benefits for your employees in managing their health. Contact us to learn more!