Ways Cleaning Can Impact Your Mood
How Mess and Clutter Can Impact Mental Health
Clutter and mess can work against your mental health. They can leave you feeling like your work is never done. However, working on small cleaning tasks and decluttering tasks can have a huge impact on your overall mental health. We want to share a few of the reasons clutter and mess can work against your overall mental health. Here are eight ways clutter can have a negative impact on mental health.
Eight Ways Clutter Can Have a Negative Impact on Mental Health:
- Clutter over-stimulates the mind - When your home is over-cluttered or filled with mess, your mind can get overwhelmed with the excessive stimuli. This can mean a visual, olfactory, or tactile overwhelm. This means we are giving extra attention to stimuli we don’t need to.
- Clutter can be distracting - When you look at a great deal of clutter it can be difficult to feel motivated to do the things that need to get done.
- Clutter can make it hard to relax - Clutter offers the invitation to always do more, clean more, and keep up with more. This can make it hard to relax because it is always challenging you to do more.
- Clutter communicates that the work is never done - With clutter, you are looking at a lot of items that need your attention in one way or another. Either they are hard to navigate around or they need to be tidied more often than if there were less stuff.
- Clutter can cause anxiety - When looking at clutter it is easy to get overwhelmed with a feeling that you will never get through it all. It can trick you into thinking you will never be able to get to the bottom of a pile.
- Clutter can lead to feelings of guilt - When friends drop by or see your clutter there can be some feelings of guilt over the condition of the home. These feelings of guilt can be difficult to handle and leave you feeling less than.
- Clutter limits creativity - When your home is cluttered it can be hard to focus on creative outlets that bring you joy. It can be hard to find a space to work on these things that bring you more joy when you see clutter.
- Clutter can increase cortisol - Studies claim that cortisol can increase in spaces that are cluttered or messy. Higher cortisol can have a variety of negative health implications.
So How Do You Overcome It?
When you are feeling low it can be easy to know that these things are true. It can be a lot harder to overcome the clutter and mess. While the smallest tasks can feel daunting, making small changes to the house can make big changes for your mental health. Even though it feels impossible, it is not. We have some tips for overcoming cleaning apathy.
Tips for Overcoming Cleaning Apathy:
- Smart small - It can be tempting to look at the bigger picture and get overwhelmed. When you have cleaning apathy, messes can feel like they are taking over. Instead of starting with larger jobs, try to find a small job you can conquer in a short amount of time. This might mean dealing with a pile of mail, cleaning off a side table, or taking out the trash. Starting small can fuel the motivation to take on bigger jobs.
- Finish an entire load of laundry - If laundry has backed up it can feel near impossible to conquer. Don’t focus on the whole pile. Instead, pick out some of the clothing you know you need or a few comfort items. Run a full load of laundry from start to finish including folding and putting it away. This simple action can help you to want to take on more.
- Work in zones - Sometimes the entire house’s messes can get to be too much. Instead of taking on the entire house, pick a zone to work in. For instance, you might take some time to work on the bathroom. Stay in the bathroom and only work on using home care cleaning products in that room. It can help to have a laundry basket on hand for items that need to go to other rooms so you can stay focused on the job at hand.
- Start to declutter - Clutter can make a house feel so much messier! Pick one item and work to declutter that as a starting point. This might mean dealing with paper clutter first and either filing it or throwing it away. Another big form of clutter that can lead to more stress is clothing. Take some time to ask yourself honestly if it’s something you will actually wear. One simple way to work on clothing clutter is to fill a grocery bag each day with items you don’t need and donate them.
- Pick that ONE area - We all have one area in the home that has to be clean for the house to feel clean. For some, that’s a sink filled with dishes while others are bothered by items left on the floor. Instead of working on the cleaning projects you think you “should” focus on, take some time to focus on cleaning and decluttering that one area as your starting point. It can make a world of difference for you and your peace.
Give yourself grace!
When you are working to overcome cleaning apathy to feel better in your home, don’t let the guilt over any messes that have built up stop you. You are not meant to conquer it all today. The goal is to find small ways each day to make things a bit better than they were the day before.