There’s a reason home organization videos on YouTube and TikTok amass millions of views. It’s the same reason Marie Kondo’s cleaning and organization hacks took off a couple of years ago—cleaning and organizing your home benefits your mental health in various ways.
With anxiety affecting 40 million adults in the U.S. every year and a further 17.3 million experiencing depressive episodes, mental health is something that must be taken more seriously.
But getting professional help for mental health issues is expensive. In 2019, mental health treatment and services cost a total of $225 billion. One therapy session can range between $65 to $250 on average, so it’s not very sustainable in the long run.
As such, if an activity as simple as cleaning your home can be therapeutic, it’s something you should look into doing more often.
Below, we discuss the mental health benefits of cleaning and decluttering your home.
Cleaning helps you stay physically active
It’s no secret that mental health and physical health are connected. Physical activities that involve cardiovascular conditioning release endorphins, which are hormones that reduce stress and offer a feeling of well-being.
Cleaning and decluttering are highly physical activities, often involving repetitive motions that involve your arms and core. These activities also often involve lifting furniture and various other things, which is a form of exercise in itself.
This goes to show that regular cleaning helps you to not only stay active, but also achieve better mental health.
Cleaning promotes meditation
Like we mentioned above, cleaning often involves repetitive motions. It’s an almost mindless task, allowing you to practice mindfulness and meditation.
The best thing about this is you can practice meditation while cleaning anything! Whether you’re washing the dishes, rearranging your shelves, or scrubbing the bathroom, you can lose yourself in the task, empty your mind, and just breathe.
Meditation provides plenty of benefits, including
- Better stress management
- Improved self-awareness and self-esteem
- Better focus and concentration
- Lower levels of anxiety
Decluttering improves your focus
If you’re already stressed, the best thing you can do for your mental health is to relax.
On top of that, clutter further overwhelms your brain because it processes the leftover glass of water on the table, piles of paperwork, and the overflowing trash bin beside your desk.
Paperwork and bills contribute mostly to the stress you feel when seeing clutter since they are also visual cues that remind you of things you’ve been putting off.
With a clean desk, room, and house as a whole, though, your mind is more at ease knowing everything’s in its place. If the space you work and live in is free of clutter that competes for your attention, you’ll have an easier time getting things done without stress.
A clean-smelling room can lift your mood
The link between people’s sense of smell and mental health has been long-established. Your olfactory response is directly linked to the brain’s limbic system or its “emotional center.” This is why things like aromatherapy can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
As such, a room that smells musty from lack of cleaning negatively affects your mental health. But if you space smells clean, like citrus-scented cleaning products, you can put your mind in a more relaxed and positive place.
Some scents of cleaning agents you can use that are especially beneficial for mental health include:
- Grapefruit for its invigorating and energizing effect
- Cedarwood for its stress-relieving scent
- Lemon for promoting calm and concentration
- Peppermint for stimulating clear thinking
A clean home leads to better sleep quality
According to the National Sleep Foundation, people who make their beds are more likely to sleep better at night. Doing so allows you to get into bed and sleep more quickly. 62% of respondents from the organization’s study said they sleep better in a clean bedroom.
When your bedroom is clean, with fresh sheets, tidy bedside table, vacuumed floor, and no piles of clutter laying on the floor, your mind can immediately relax upon entering the bedroom, which leads to better sleep.
In turn, a good night’s rest allows you to recharge both your mind and body. It also facilitates the brain’s processing of emotional information, which can reduce the severity of mental health conditions, such as suicidal ideas and behaviors.
The relationship between a clean home and your mental health is one that should be important not just to you but your whole family. When everyone’s doing their best to keep your home clean, everyone reaps the mental health benefits of living in a neat and tidy space.