Now that spring is here, everyone you know is starting to de-clutter and tidy up in an annual tradition known as spring cleaning. As it starts to warm up outside, we crave a less cozy and more cohesive home. And, although it can seem like a daunting task, there are plenty of ways to make it a little less overwhelming. Plus, a good de-cluttering session can work wonders for your mental health.
Here’s how to make spring cleaning easier—and why you should do it.
Mental Health Benefits of Cleaning
You’ve heard it before, but it’s true! Cleaning is great for your mental health. An organized, tidy environment helps us feel better, but the act of cleaning itself is equally beneficial.
For one thing, cleaning is a workout. It may not seem like it, but when you clean, you’re up and moving around, so you’re burning calories. Thus, the physical act of cleaning is a natural way to release endorphins, the brain’s feel-good chemicals.
The extra endorphins alone are enough to provide a boost in mood, but on top of that, cleaning is a mindfulness exercise. It allows you to clear your mind while clearing the clutter.
Clutter is linked to a whole host of negative emotions— depression, anxiety, guilt, irritability, and stress. Which is not surprising—just think of how stressed you feel when you see dishes piled up in the sink!
Research has found that clutter causes a spike in cortisol levels (that’s the stress hormone). Women, in particular, experience higher levels of stress when their home is messy or disorganized.
So, doing a little spring cleaning can help reduce your stress and benefit your overall wellbeing.
No matter how good you are at multi-tasking, your brain just isn’t. If there are multiple visual stimuli in an environment, your brain has a hard time attending to any given task. And that’s what clutter is – a lot of visual stimuli strewn about. So, when your home or workspace is disorganized, it makes it way harder to focus.
Spring cleaning, then, can actually help your productivity – especially if you work from home.
Cleaning provides an immediate sense of accomplishment. It’s one more thing on your mental ‘to-do’ list that you can check off. Which is why it always feels so good when you’re done.
That sense of accomplishment is incredible for your mental health – it can help you feel more productive, satisfied, and happier.
There have been plenty of studies to suggest that decluttering can promote a better nights’ sleep. And honestly, it makes sense. First of all, there’s the mindfulness aspect of cleaning. It also helps reduce overall stress. Both of those things are linked to improved sleep.
But on top of that, a clean environment is a calming one, which makes us feel more peaceful and centered.
Spring Cleaning Tips
Break it Down
Getting started can be the hardest part—you see a whole house that needs to be tidied up and, of course you feel overwhelmed. Where do you even begin!
Well, with one small task at a time. Take your list of projects and break them down into smaller chunks. Carve out a little bit of time each day to do some cleaning. Ten minutes is a good place to start. It’ll feel way easier to do everything on your list if you know you only need to do it for 10-mintues at a time.
Work in Rounds
I know a lot of spring cleaning tip sheets suggest doing one room at a time, but I personally think there’s a better way: one task at a time.
So, one day you might do the dusting. Dust one room, then move to another room and dust there too, and so on and so on. The next day, vacuum the same way. Then a day spent Windexing mirrors/windows or getting rid of the items you don’t need, etc. etc.
You get the picture.
Listen to Music
Sure, cleaning can be cathartic, but it can also be super boring. Make it more enjoyable for yourself by listening to music, a podcast, or even an audio book. That way, you’ll be entertained while also being productive!
As soon as you finish one task – or one 10-minute chunk of time – give yourself a reward. Maybe that’s a snack you love or a TV break or just give yourself a compliment!