Many people in modern households are overwhelmed by cleaning their homes. The business of life quickly reverses any effort they put into tidying, and those who fall behind feel buried under piles of unfolded laundry and the clutter that collects on every flat surface.
Although cleaning a disordered home may feel pointless, individuals who put in the time will reap a host of health benefits. It turns out that the overwhelm caused by messy and cluttered spaces can affect people’s bodies as well as their minds.
Take this as encouragement that even small steps are worth it. In fact, catching up on the work may be exactly what people need to regain a sense of peace and wellbeing in their homes. Here are five ways that organizing your home makes you happier.
Your surroundings are under control
Although the choices people make on a daily basis matter, many things are entirely out of an individual’s control. Take the weather, for instance. Regardless of circumstances in the wider world, however, keeping their house clean and decluttered is something people can control.
A 2009 study on clutter revealed that women who described their home in primarily negative terms had higher cortisol levels than those who felt good in their homes. These findings suggest that even if someone’s home is relatively clean, negative feelings about not being in control of their home space could still create daily stress.
In times of stress, many individuals actually revert to cleaning as a way to relieve their feelings. While they might not know how to solve a friend’s emotional crisis, they can scrub all the grime off the bathroom floor and regain some sense of control over life.
You’ve accomplished something
Individuals who keep their homes clean are more likely to have high self-esteem than those who live in messy dwellings. This is because clean individuals have accomplished something they wanted to do, and they feel good about it.
Believe it or not, accomplishments in housework can boost an individual’s confidence in work, social situations, and times of stress. A neat environment can become a mastery experience that bolsters a person’s belief in their ability to handle many other life situations.
Keeping a clean home feeds into self-talk that can influence a person’s belief about themselves. For example, individuals whose homes are clutter-free don’t have to deflect as many thoughts like ‘You’re so behind on life,’ ‘You’ll never catch up,’ and ‘You can’t let anyone find out what your house looks like right now.’
Your productivity is boosted
VeryWellMind writes that ‘to the brain, clutter represents unfinished business.’ When a person’s space is overfilled with belongings, it can be challenging for them to focus and complete tasks quickly. So, it makes sense that organised homes free up mental space for the people living in them.
While focus can be developed with practice and discipline, it’s much easier for a person to pay attention to a project if fewer items are present to distract them. Because visual clutter can so efficiently scatter a person’s focus, it’s essential to keep studio apartments organized and clutter-free.
Although multitasking may sound productive, completing one job at a time actually leads to higher productivity and cultivates mental peace. People who have tidy homes are able to focus on one productive task at a time, free from the mental busyness that’s caused by a messy space.
Your body is healthier
In the early 2000s, researchers at Indiana University decided to try to answer the question, ‘Is organising your home good for your health?’ They found that people who live in clean homes were more active, and therefore healthier.
Researchers were unsure if this was because cleaning is an active activity or because people who are already more active tend to clean more often. Regardless, the study showed a strong correlation between people’s health and the state of their environment.
Clean homes also support human health because their state of order reduces stress for the people who live there. Stress is regulated by the body’s endocrine system and negatively impacts every part of the body, from disrupting hormones to suppressing the immune system.
Your mind is healthier too
In addition to promoting a feeling of accomplishment, a clean space can improve individuals’ mental health. As previously discussed, people who live in clean environments feel better about themselves. However, they’re also more likely to get a good night’s sleep, which is essential for mental wellness.
A study by the National Sleep Foundation showed that people who kept their sheets clean, made their beds, and organized their bedroom space were more likely to experience a good night’s sleep. This is another way how home organisation improves your mental health.
In contrast, some research suggests a connection between unhealthy mental habits like hoarding and poor sleep. People who don’t get enough sleep may have trouble making clear-minded decisions, which can lead to a vicious cycle in which belongings and mess continue to pile up.
Is organising your home good for your health?
Mess is an unavoidable part of life. However, by maintaining an organised space, people can improve the quality of their lives and experience a deeper level of satisfaction with daily life.
No home will ever be perfectly clean, and that’s okay. However, the time spent fighting the mess is definitely worth it and can impact people’s physical and mental health in many beneficial ways. Start small, and watch that pile of laundry shrink one small fold at a time.
Ginger Abbot has written for The National Alliance for Mental Illness, HerCampus, Motherly, and more. When she’s not freelancing, she works as chief editor for the learning publication Classrooms, where you can read more of her work.