Declutter Your Home, Declutter Your Mind
Spring is a Time for Renewal
As we awaken from our Winter hibernation, we welcome Spring and all that it has to offer – sunlight, growth, and feelings of renewal. Along with these more positive aspects, many of us dread the obligatory “spring clean”. While spring cleaning may seem like an endless, arduous task, there are many benefits to a tidy home beyond mere appearances. Read on to learn more about the numerous benefits that a clean home can offer!
Improved Respiratory Health
When thinking of air quality, outdoor air may be the first thing that comes to mind. However, our indoor air quality is just as important, and is well-within our capacity to change. Within our homes, we have a constant supply of environmental toxins. Things like smoke, dust, pet dander, and household cleaning products all contribute pollutants to the air that we breathe daily!
For those with chronic respiratory conditions, like asthma, or seasonal allergies, these pollutants are especially important to consider. Research shows an association between indoor air pollutants and lower oxygen saturation, and worsened symptoms in childhood asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) (1).
The good news is, there are several very simple ways to increase your indoor air quality. Dust and clean your vents regularly, vacuum, purchase an air purifier, or add some air-purifying plants to your décor!
Imagine: it is Friday night, and you have invited guests over for dinner. You are on your way home from the grocery store, only to remember that you have forgotten a crucial step – you have forgotten to clean the house!
Well, you are not alone. A poll conducted by the Huffington Post showed that “worrying [my] home isn’t clean or organized enough” is the fifth most common stressor among men and women.
Additionally, a 2010 study in the New England Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that women who perceived their homes to be messy, had increased levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, throughout the day (2).
Dysregulated cortisol levels can have a very negative impact on our health and predispose us to many chronic health conditions, by changing our physical brain structure and altering our immune system. Improving stress by reducing clutter may be an effective way to help manage yours.
A 2011 study in The Journal of Neuroscience found that clutter decreased the processing capacity of the brain (3). Clutter adds to our distractibility and makes it challenging for us to focus on the task at hand.
Many of us have continued to work or attend school remotely, post-pandemic. Having a space where we can focus on the tasks at hand is more important than ever! If you are struggling to focus in your current space, decluttering may help. Limit the items in your workspace to things necessary for work and see if your productivity improves!
Sleep experts agree that a cluttered space may impact your ability to fall asleep and the quality of the sleep that you get. As previously stated, clutter contributes to both stress and poor concentration. Both things have an impact on our sleep!
One study found a considerable relationship between insomnia and hoarding behaviour (4). We all have things that we have a hard time getting rid of – who knew that it could contribute to our sleep?
Your sleep environment plays a large role in your sleep quality, and sleep is a fundamental aspect to self-care. Put away the clothes sitting on your dresser, dust your nightstand, make your bed. Anything that makes your bedroom feel like a “sleep sanctuary” where you can escape the stressors of daily life.
While not necessarily intuitive, research suggests that living in an uncluttered environment may encourage healthy choices and behaviours. One study demonstrated that those living in an uncluttered environment were more likely to choose healthy snack options and were more generous in the form of monetary donations (5).
Many of us aspire to lead a healthier life, but do not know where to start. The idea of beginning a new diet, starting an exercise routine, or introducing mindfulness practices may feel intimidating or time-consuming. We can get a head start on our health journey by keeping our home clean and tidy!
Cleaning as an Act of Self-Love
In my own personal experience, I feel happier and more peaceful when living in a tidy home. I sleep better, my stress levels are lower, and I can leave the stressors of the day at the door before entering my oasis.
I talk often about the importance of establishing feelings of safety, and that extends to my physical space as well. My home is where I rest, decompress, and fill my cup with things that I love. Taking care of my home is just one of the many ways that I endeavour to express love for myself.
To Learn more about natural ways to spring clean your environment – download our FREE Home & Body Detox guide.
Also, check out other ways of supporting and improving your mental health, get on the wait list for my next Moving Beyond the Mental Health Label group program
- Maung, T. Z., Bishop, J. E., Holt, E., Turner, A. M., & Pfrang, C. (2022). Indoor air pollution and the health of vulnerable groups: A systematic review focused on particulate matter (PM), Volatile Organic Compounds (vocs) and their effects on children and people with pre-existing lung disease. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(14), 8752. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19148752
- Saxbe, D., & Repetti, R. L. (2010). For better or worse? coregulation of couples’ cortisol levels and mood states. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(1), 92–103. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0016959
- McMains, S., & Kastner, S. (2011). Interactions of top-down and bottom-up mechanisms in human visual cortex. The Journal of Neuroscience, 31(2), 587–597. https://doi.org/10.1523/jneurosci.3766-10.2011
- 4. Raines, A. M., Portero, A. K., Unruh, A. S., Short, N. A., & Schmidt, N. B. (2015). An initial investigation of the relationship between insomnia and hoarding. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 71(7), 707–714. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.22161
- Vohs, K. D., Redden, J. P., & Rahinel, R. (2013). Physical Order produces healthy choices, generosity, and conventionality, whereas disorder produces creativity. Psychological Science, 24(9), 1860–1867. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797613480186