Spring Cleaning and Mental Health: Decluttering Your Mind, Body, and Soul

Why does it feel so good to do a spring cleaning each year? Why throw out items you spent time collecting? Why do you spend hours or days cleaning every part of your home, knowing it will eventually get dirty again? And most of all, how do spring cleaning and mental health impact your life?

Spring Cleaning and Mental Health

Some reports say the answers lie within your mind and that your living environment directly reflects your mental health. Based on this theory, if you have a lot of unanswered emails or voice mails, you have disconnected from others socially. If you struggle to stay focused, you are more likely to lose essential items, like your car keys.

The COVID pandemic is an example of how what happens in your personal life is directly related to your mind, body, and soul. Remember the people hoarding toilet paper? Their minds were filled more with fear than faith, understandably. It was a scary time for the entire nation.

If you were on social media during the pandemic, you likely saw multiple posts from people reporting they are gaining weight by being forced to stay home. Was that the cause? Or were they experiencing mental health setbacks due to being stuck in a chaotic environment, and overeating was a coping tool?

Knowing the state of your home is connected to your mental health means you can take control over both. You can clean your house and your mind, body, and soul. You can start fresh and experience renewal this Spring.

What Does It Mean to Declutter?

When you walk into a cluttered, disorganized room in your home, your brain interprets it as not being finished. For most people, having unfinished business makes them uncomfortable. They feel like there is always something looming over their heads. Over time they start to feel overwhelmed, and just the thought of the clutter causes anxiety.

To declutter means to remove unwanted or unnecessary items so you can find the space more enjoyable and valuable. Declutter is a verb that applies to your mind, body, and spirit.

Below are suggestions to help you declutter internally and externally.

Stop Trying to Multi-Task

Science proves the brain does not multi-task. Your brain can quickly shift from one task to another, but it cannot possibly do multiple tasks at once. Your boss may like it when you “multi-task,” but you are teaching your brain to lose focus and attention. This can be a big problem, especially when cleaning your home. It can interfere with your brain’s executive functioning.

You will find yourself disorganized and surrounded by many unfinished projects, leading to anxiety and depression. It’s much better for your mental health if you stick with one project and see it through to completion, which will lead to a feeling of reward. With each task completed, the more reward you feel.

Declutter for Your Physical Health

Your mental health is directly related to your physical health. Studies show the cleanliness of your home affects your physical health also. One study found participants with clean, tidy homes were in better health than those with cluttered homes.

Mindfulness has been practiced for ages to improve overall health. There are mindfulness techniques you can implement while cleaning your home that will positively impact your physical and mental health. The key is to engage your senses in every task. If you are doing laundry, take time to smell and feel your clean clothes as they come out of the dryer. If you are gardening, feel the dirt and literally stop and smell the roses.

Something as simple as having clean sheets on your bed has a domino effect. You sleep better, which means your brain can restore your body to good health. Good sleep also means your mood will be better. You can concentrate and focus and be more productive.

Declutter to Reduce Stress

Studies on stress reveal people with cluttered living environments have higher cortisol levels, the stress hormone, fatigue, and depression. Anytime you engage in physical activity, even for a few minutes, it reduces stress. Exercise releases endorphins, chemicals in the brain that act as natural pain relievers, helping you rest better and improving your mood.

Get creative when cleaning and find ways to add in extra physical activity. Dance while you mop, designate one day a week for arm exercises by cleaning using your hands only. Double up the times you go up and down the stairs by taking two or three pieces of clothing to the laundry at a time rather than the whole basket. Come up with fun ways to increase your heart rate while cleaning.

Declutter to Clear Your Mind

As you clean your house and get rid of unnecessary items, you realize you have more space in which to move around and enjoy. You have more space to enjoy. The same can happen mentally. You can declutter your mind by letting go of thoughts preventing you from enjoying life.

If you list the thoughts clouding your mind, you may find many of them relate to the problems within your home. Cleaning, organizing, selling, donating, and organizing are just a few projects floating around in your mind. Completing those tasks frees space in your mind that you can replenish with healthy, positive thoughts.

A clear mind can also help you connect spiritually, allowing you to send and receive healing messages, gratitude, and peace.

How to Start Decluttering Your Mind, Body, and Soul

Your house didn’t become cluttered overnight. Your mind and body didn’t get cluttered overnight. Therefore, it will take time to declutter each. Start with small actions. The first week, take fifteen minutes a day spending time decluttering your home. Then spend another fifteen minutes in activities to declutter your mind, body, and soul.

If at any time you struggle with the process of decluttering, reach out to a local mental health specialist for guidance. A counselor can equip you with skills and resources to help you make this year’s Spring cleaning the most beneficial for your overall health.