Expert advice for decluttering your home and mind
When your home is cluttered and disorganised it can have a detrimental effect on your mental wellbeing and can increase feelings of anxiety.
Our homes often reflect our inner state and can be a reminder of what we are not dealing with; it’s easy to become overwhelmed and to feel anxious and stressed.
Spring is the ideal time to clear the clutter, deep clean and reorganise your home. As the seasons change and brighter weather comes, the daylight and longer days can give us a bit more energy and motivation to reorganise our homes.
We’ve asked 4 experts why spring cleaning might have benefits far beyond keeping your home clean and tidy.
“Spring cleaning can provide a sense of accomplishment.”
Dr Sara Tookey, a clinical psychologist at True North Psychology, says:
“Spring cleaning your home can definitely have a positive impact on your mental well-being. Research has shown that a cluttered and disorganised living space can contribute to feelings of stress and anxiety, while an organised and tidy environment can have the opposite effect.
“Spring cleaning can also provide a sense of accomplishment and control over one’s surroundings, which can be particularly beneficial for those experiencing feelings of anxiety or helplessness. The act of cleaning and organising can be a mindful and meditative activity, and may also provide a sense of catharsis by letting go of items that are no longer needed or have negative associations.
“Nevertheless, it’s important to note that while spring cleaning can be a helpful tool for improving mental well-being, it’s not a substitute for professional help or self-care practices like exercise, meditation, and therapy. It’s also important to approach decluttering in a balanced and realistic manner, rather than using it as a way to avoid or distract from underlying emotional issues.
“Overall, spring cleaning can be a useful tool for improving mental well-being, but it should be combined with other self-care practices and used in conjunction with professional support if needed.”
“Clutter can put us into a state of stress.”
Kiri McLaughlin, a counsellor at Mindful Messages, says:
“Clutter can accumulate in our homes, daily household tasks can become neglected and disorder can be present for so many reasons, or a combination of factors that will be personal to each individual or household. Living daily in an environment that is stressful, can have a negative impact on our lives, and how we feel, think and act.
“It can be draining of our energy, time, money, relationships, work-life balance, and draining on our mental health. What can become a vicious cycle is important to break, regain control, and improve mental health and well-being. Living in an environment with chronic clutter and disorganisation increases the levels of cortisol (stress hormone) released in our bodies. Increased cortisol levels in our bodies can increase physical and mental illnesses. Essentially, clutter and disorder put us into a state of stress.
“Taking control of the clutter and disorder can therefore have a beneficial impact on both our mental and physical health. Go gentle with yourself on your journey of decluttering, take your time and celebrate wins even if they feel small.”
“Decluttering our home can increase our ability to focus.”
Professional organiser Catherine Hamilton-Cooper from Tidying Time says:
“Decluttering our home can increase our ability to focus, boost our ability to process information, increase our productivity, and help us gain a sense of accomplishment and control.
“Unsure of where to start? Any area that is a health and safety hazard should be addressed as a priority. Following that a good place to start is an area where you will achieve a quick win, so start easy and definitely don’t start with sentimental items.
“Visualise what you would like the area you are going to work on to look like; it’s good to have a picture in your mind for what you aiming for. Keep this realistic. Start at a time of the day when your energy levels are highest. You want to be ready to make great progress, so feeling fresh and energised will set you off to a good start.”
“Spring cleaning your home can support healthy habits.”
Decluttering coach Julie Leonard says:
“Reorganising your home is something that you can take action on right now. When we feel anxious we often worry about things that may or may not happen and that we cannot control. Spring cleaning is something that you do have control over and it feels great to be proactive in your life.
“With spring comes lighter linens and brighter colours and these improve our mood. I spend April and May swapping out my winter clothes and accessories for my spring/ summer clothes, deep cleaning my apartment, and tidying, decluttering, and reorganising my home.
“Spring cleaning your home can support healthy habits, too. An organised, clean, and stocked kitchen, for example, supports healthy eating. Sports clothes easily reached in your wardrobe can make motivate you to exercise. And a calm, clutter-free bedroom may improve your sleep.
“It takes time and energy to maintain your home, even more so when you maintain clutter or you can’t find something. Taking the time now to spring clean your home will free up time and energy to focus on the more important and enjoyable parts of your life, which in turn will improve your health and well-being.”
Do you need support?
Samaritans: call 116 123 (24/7)
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