Happy Inner Self

The Psychology of Cleanliness: How Decluttering Impacts Mental Health

The Impact of Cleaning on Mental HealthImagine walking into a cluttered and messy room. Your eyes dart from one pile of belongings to another, and your mind starts to feel overwhelmed.

The chaos that surrounds you seems to seep into your thoughts, making it difficult to focus or relax. As it turns out, this cluttered environment can have a negative impact on your mental health.

In this article, we will explore the various ways in which cleaning and decluttering can affect your well-being, as well as provide practical tips on how to incorporate cleaning into your life. Negative Impact of Clutter and Mess:

1.1 Clutter and Depression:

– Studies have shown that living in a cluttered space can contribute to feelings of depression.

The constant visual reminder of unfinished tasks and disorganization can lead to a sense of overwhelm and helplessness. – Clutter also creates a physical barrier that can make it difficult to relax.

Think about how you feel when you walk into a cluttered room versus a tidy, organized one. The cluttered room may make you feel agitated or restless, whereas the tidy room can evoke a sense of calm.

1.2 Fatigue and Cortisol:

– Living in a cluttered environment can also contribute to physical fatigue. Clutter takes up valuable mental and physical energy, leaving you feeling drained and exhausted.

– Additionally, clutter-filled spaces have been found to increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels can impair your cognitive function, hinder your ability to focus, and negatively impact your overall well-being.

Benefits of Cleaning and Decluttering:

2.1 Control and Mood Improvement:

– One of the benefits of cleaning and decluttering is that it gives you a sense of control over your environment. When you take charge of your space, you are more likely to feel empowered and motivated.

– Research has also shown that cleaning and decluttering have a positive effect on mood. As you clear away the physical clutter, you may find that your mental clutter starts to dissipate as well.

This can lead to an improved sense of well-being and overall happiness. 2.2 Physical Health and Focus Improvement:

– Cleaning and decluttering doesn’t just have mental health benefits; it can also improve your physical health.

Dust, allergens, and other pollutants tend to accumulate in cluttered spaces, which can trigger allergies, respiratory problems, and other health issues. – When your environment is clean and organized, you are better able to focus and concentrate.

A clutter-free space allows for clearer thinking and enhanced productivity. Incorporating Cleaning Into Your Life:

3.1 Starting Small:

– One of the keys to maintaining a clean and organized space is to start small.

Instead of overwhelming yourself with a massive cleaning task, break it down into smaller, manageable tasks. – Create a to-do list and prioritize the areas that require attention.

Tackling one task at a time will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and increase your chances of success. 3.2 Setting a Timer:

– Time management is essential when it comes to cleaning.

Set aside dedicated time for cleaning and use a timer to stay focused and on track. – Break your cleaning routine into smaller increments of time, and challenge yourself to complete specific tasks within those time frames.

This not only helps you stay motivated but also prevents cleaning from becoming an all-consuming activity.


Incorporating cleaning and decluttering into your life can have a profound impact on your mental health. By understanding the negative effects of clutter and mess, as well as the benefits of cleaning and decluttering, you can take proactive steps to create a clean and organized environment.

Starting small and setting a timer are simple strategies that can help you integrate cleaning into your daily routine. So why not start today?

Your mental well-being will thank you.

Involving Others in Cleaning

3.1 Asking Friends and Family for Help

Cleaning and decluttering can be daunting, especially when faced with large projects or overwhelming messes. One way to ease the burden and make the process more enjoyable is by asking friends and family for help.

Not only does this lighten the workload, but it also strengthens your support network. When approaching your loved ones for assistance, it’s important to be clear about your expectations and the tasks you need help with.

Communicate your needs and be specific about the areas that require attention. For example, if you’re planning a big cleaning project like organizing your garage or clearing out your attic, let them know the scope of the task and how much time you anticipate it will take.

Not only will involving your friends and family make the process quicker, but it can also be a bonding experience. Put on some upbeat music, provide snacks or refreshments, and make it a team effort.

By working together, you’ll not only accomplish more but also create fond memories. 3.2 Getting Outside Help

While friends and family can provide valuable assistance, there may be instances where outside help is necessary or preferred.

Hiring professional cleaners can save you time and energy, especially for deep cleaning tasks or when your schedule doesn’t allow for thorough cleaning. Another option to consider is using technology to simplify your cleaning tasks.

Robot vacuums, for example, can be programmed to clean your floors on a regular basis, freeing up your time and providing a consistently clean living environment. Additionally, there are various apps and online platforms that connect individuals with cleaning professionals who can help with specific tasks or provide regular cleaning services.

Before hiring outside help, it’s important to consider your budget and needs. Research local cleaning services and read reviews to find trusted individuals or companies that suit your requirements.

It’s also beneficial to clarify which tasks you expect them to handle and to establish clear communication about your expectations.

When Cleaning Becomes a Compulsion

4.1 Identifying Unhealthy Cleaning Habits

While cleaning and maintaining a tidy space is generally a positive habit, it’s important to recognize when it becomes a compulsion. Cleaning compulsions, also known as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), can have a significant impact on both mental and physical health.

Some signs that your cleaning habits may be unhealthy include spending excessive amounts of time cleaning, feeling intense anxiety or distress if cleaning rituals are not completed, and neglecting other important activities or relationships due to cleaning. If cleaning starts to interfere with your daily life, it may be time to take a closer look at your habits.

4.2 Seeking Professional Help

If you suspect that your cleaning habits have become compulsive or obsessive, it’s important to seek professional help. Consulting with a doctor or mental health professional can provide you with the guidance and support needed to manage and overcome these behaviors.

A mental health professional can help identify the root causes of your compulsions and develop coping mechanisms to reduce their impact on your life. They may suggest alternate strategies, such as practicing mindfulness or engaging in relaxation techniques, to help manage anxiety and provide a healthier balance in your cleaning routine.

Remember, seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness but a proactive step towards your well-being. Reach out to trusted professionals who are specialized in treating OCD or related disorders.

With their guidance, you can learn to manage your cleaning compulsions and establish healthier habits that promote both mental and physical wellness. By involving others in cleaning and recognizing when cleaning becomes a compulsion, you can cultivate a cleaner and healthier living environment while safeguarding your mental well-being.

Whether it’s asking friends and family for assistance or seeking professional help, remember that you are not alone in your journey towards a clean and balanced life.

Cleaning as a Tool for Stress Relief

5.1 Using Cleaning as a Destressor

Many people find that engaging in cleaning activities can serve as an effective stress reliever. When you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, cleaning can provide a sense of control and accomplishment, helping to alleviate stress and improve your overall well-being.

Engaging in cleaning activities, such as tidying up your living space or organizing your belongings, can have a calming effect on the mind. The physical act of cleaning can serve as a distraction from negative thoughts and worries, allowing you to focus on the task at hand.

As you tackle each cleaning task, you may find that your mind becomes more clear and your stress begins to diminish. In addition to providing a distraction, cleaning can also offer a sense of achievement.

Seeing the progress you’ve made as you clean and organize your surroundings can give you a boost of confidence and a sense of control over your environment. This sense of control can contribute to a greater overall sense of well-being and help to reduce stress and anxiety.

Furthermore, the act of physically cleaning and moving your body releases endorphins, which are natural chemicals in the brain that help elevate your mood and reduce anxiety. So, by engaging in cleaning activities, you’re not only creating a cleaner space but also giving yourself a natural mood-enhancing boost.

5.2 Understanding the Limits of Cleaning

While cleaning can be an effective tool for stress relief, it’s important to recognize its limits and avoid relying solely on cleaning as a coping mechanism. It’s essential to have a well-rounded set of coping mechanisms in your arsenal, as different activities and strategies may work better for different individuals.

Cleaning should be seen as one of many tools in your stress relief toolbox. It’s important to find a balance between using cleaning as a destressor and ensuring that you have other coping mechanisms available to you.

This could include activities such as exercising, practicing mindfulness or meditation, engaging in hobbies or creative outlets, or spending quality time with loved ones. Another important aspect to consider is managing your expectations when it comes to cleaning.

While cleaning can provide a sense of control and accomplishment, it’s essential to remember that it’s impossible to have a perfectly clean and organized space at all times. Striving for perfection in cleaning can sometimes lead to increased stress and frustration.

Instead, focus on small steps and progress, celebrating the achievements and improvements you make along the way. Additionally, it’s important to be mindful of your energy levels and not overexert yourself with cleaning.

While cleaning can be beneficial for stress relief, it’s important to listen to your body and not push yourself beyond your limits. Pace yourself and engage in cleaning activities that are manageable and enjoyable, rather than feeling obligated to do more than you can handle.


By using cleaning as a tool for stress relief, you can create a cleaner living environment while also improving your mental well-being. The act of cleaning can provide a sense of control, distract your mind from stressors, and offer a feeling of accomplishment.

However, it’s important to recognize that cleaning is just one method of stress relief, and it’s important to have a balanced set of coping mechanisms in your toolkit. Understanding the limits of cleaning and managing your expectations can help prevent stress and frustration.

So, go ahead and use cleaning as a destressor, but remember to also engage in other activities and take care of yourself in various ways to achieve a well-rounded approach to stress management. In conclusion, cleaning and decluttering have a significant impact on mental health.

The negative effects of clutter, such as depression and fatigue, can be mitigated through cleaning and organization. Taking control of your environment not only improves your mood but also enhances physical health and focus.

Incorporating cleaning into your life can be achieved by starting small and setting a timer, making it a manageable and productive activity. Involving others in cleaning, whether through help from friends and family or professional assistance, can lighten the workload and strengthen support networks.

However, it is important to recognize when cleaning becomes a compulsion and to seek professional help if needed. Cleaning can also be used as a tool for stress relief by providing a sense of control, accomplishment, and distraction.

While cleaning is valuable, it should be viewed as part of a comprehensive approach to stress management, alongside other coping mechanisms. So, embrace the benefits of cleaning, but remember to maintain balance and prioritize self-care.

A clean and organized space can truly transform your mental well-being.

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