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How Spring Cleaning Can Support Your Mental Health

How Spring Cleaning Can Support Your Mental Health

Spring cleaning is about more than just ensuring your home is neat and tidy. This annual decluttering ritual is actually great for your mental health. Your home should be a sanctuary that you look forward to returning to at the end of a long day, but it’s hard to feel relaxed when everything’s a mess.

Let’s look at how spring cleaning can be a type of mental health self-care, then create an action plan to help you declutter with confidence.

Reasons Why Spring Cleaning Can Give You a Mental Health Boost

A study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, a noted academic journal, looked at how 60 women described their homes. Those who described their spaces as “cluttered” or full of “unfinished projects” had higher rates of depression than those who described their homes as “restorative” and “restful.”

How can we explain these results? Let’s look at some of the ways cleaning supports your overall mental well-being:

  • Decluttering enhances productivity and focus. Clutter can be overwhelming and make it difficult to concentrate on tasks. By minimizing visual distractions, you create an environment for increased productivity and enhanced focus. 
  • A clutter-free space facilitates decision-making. When your environment is organized, you are less likely to feel overwhelmed by choices—leading to quicker and more confident decision-making. 
  • Decluttering boosts your mental energy. Clutter consumes mental energy as your brain constantly processes the visual information in your surroundings. A tidy space reduces your cognitive load to free up mental energy for more important tasks and creative thinking. 
  • Clean spaces help you be more creative. A clutter-free environment can stimulate creativity by providing a clear canvas for your thoughts. Without the distraction of clutter, your mind is free to explore new ideas with less stress and anxiety
  • You’ll sleep better in a clutter-free room. A calm and organized bedroom allows your mind to unwind, promoting a more peaceful and restful sleep. Improved sleep quality is well documented as an important part of mental health.
  • Cleaning gives you a sense of control. When the rest of your life seems complicated, organizing and decluttering your living space provides a tangible way to exert control over your environment. 
  • Decluttering provides a sense of accomplishment. Tackling clutter and maintaining an organized space can provide a sense of accomplishment. This sense of achievement contributes to a positive feedback loop, encouraging ongoing efforts to maintain a mentally supportive environment.

Why Some People Struggle to Contain Their Clutter

Keeping a neat and tidy home is about more than just sticking to a cleaning routine. If you find yourself struggling to keep your clutter under control, there may be emotional factors that are holding you back. For example:

  • Sentimental attachments may make it hard to let go. People often form emotional connections with items, associating them with memories, experiences, or even people. The fear of losing these connections can hinder the decision to declutter.
  • You may be afraid of waste. Some people struggle with decluttering due to a fear of wasting money or resources. The mindset that every item might have a future use or be valuable in some way can lead to excess clutter.
  • Procrastination can be tempting. The sheer volume of your possessions can make the thought of decluttering an entire space overwhelming. This feeling of being inundated by the task can lead to procrastination—making you avoid the process altogether.
  • You might be a perfectionist. Perfectionistic tendencies may lead to unrealistically high standards for decluttering. The fear of not doing it perfectly or achieving an idealized level of organization can prevent any progress in the decluttering process.
  • You could have unrealistic expectations. Expecting instant results or a perfect outcome can set you up for disappointment. Decluttering is often a gradual process, and unrealistic expectations can discourage you from starting or continuing the effort.

Working with your therapist to address the emotional factors that are keeping you from having an organized living space can help you better understand how to move forward.  

Tips to Help You Declutter With Confidence

No matter what your space looks like at the moment, you’re not doomed to live with clutter forever. If you’re ready to tidy up your home, here are some tips to help you tackle your spring cleaning:

  • Set realistic goals. Begin decluttering by focusing on a specific area or task, such as a single drawer or a small corner of a room. Accomplishing smaller tasks provides a sense of achievement and motivates you to continue decluttering other areas gradually. These cleaning goals can be part of your overall mental health goals.
  • Create designated spaces for everyday items. Every item should have a designated home that makes it easier to find and put away. Pretty baskets and boxes are a simple way to keep small items organized, and it’s easy to find affordable versions at any discount store or thrift shop. 
  • Clean in short bursts. Set a timer for 15 to 30 minutes to concentrate on a specific area. This approach prevents burnout and makes decluttering feel more manageable.
  • Use the 12-month rule. Consider the frequency of use when deciding whether to keep or discard an item. If you haven’t used or needed something in the past year, it may be time to let it go.
  • Implement a “one in, one out” policy. For every new item you bring into your home, commit to removing or donating an existing item. This is an easy way to prevent unnecessary clutter by encouraging thoughtful consumption and ongoing organization.

Get the Support You Need to Move Forward

If mental health issues are keeping you from leading life to the fullest, don’t struggle alone. Eagle View Behavioral Health helps clients address substance use and/or mental health disorders with compassionate, multifaceted care. Contact our Bettendorf, Iowa, facility to learn more. 

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