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Improve Your Mental Health by Organizing Your Home
Improve Your Mental Health by Organizing Your Home

One of the biggest crazes to emerge in the last few years is the concept of having a clean, organized, and clutter-free home. While it might seem normal to most people to keep their space clean, this trend goes a step beyond vacuuming and dusting. Most people keep objects for far too long, shoving them in attics, closets, and corners. However, this has a massive negative impact on mental health. Surprisingly, one of the best things you can do for your mental well-being is simply getting organized.

01

Make your bed

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You can probably guess what a few of the benefits of house organization are, but one might be a shock: your quality of sleep improves. A study from the National Sleep Foundation found that people who made their beds regularly were more likely to report getting a good night’s sleep. Plus, almost 70% of participants stated they felt that having a clean room is important in sleeping well. Because their brains feel more comfortable in organized environments, they were able to relax more and sleep better.

02

You keep focused

Rearview shot of a young woman using a computer while working from home AJ_Watt / Getty Images

Another of the more interesting pluses of keeping tidy is that it helps you maintain focus. According to a 2011 study from Princeton University, people lose focus when there are many objects around them. Specifically, task-irrelevant objects overwhelm the visual cortex, making it difficult for us to pay attention and complete tasks. As fun as your desk decorations might be, you’ll probably find that having a neat, simple work area lets you stay focused and complete your tasks faster.

03

You'll feel better

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One of the biggest issues with the modern world is the realization of just how many people have depression without any means to help manage it. Those with depression often find it difficult to perform most tasks, especially cleaning their homes. Often, this leads to a home full of clutter and messes. A 2010 study from Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that women who viewed their homes as “cluttered” or full of “unfinished projects” were more likely to have symptoms of depression. They also had higher levels of the hormone cortisol, which the body produces in response to stress. While the full nature of this relationship is still a mystery, there are clear links between depression, stress, and clutter. Experts at the Anxiety and Depression Association of America suggest that cleaning up can help reduce some symptoms of depression.

04

Stay in shape

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It makes sense that a clean home that’s free of clutter would have lots of beneficial effects on your brain, but those mental effects can also influence your physical health. Finishing a task, even cleaning a room, often triggers a release of the “feel-good hormones,” endorphins. This reinforces positive behavior and makes it easier to continue forming healthy habits. Some researchers have found that study participants in an orderly room were more likely to choose healthy snacks. Organizing your home may just be the new weight-loss craze.

05

Improve your relationships

Cropped shot of a group of friends eating PeopleImages / Getty Images

Your home is often a reflection of your sense of self. Many individuals feel shame or embarrassment when someone sees that their home is dirty while feeling a sense of pride when someone sees that it’s clean. If your house is full of clutter and looks like a disorganized mess, you’re less likely to invite someone over. This often leads to social isolation. Alternatively, if you live with someone, the clutter may be causing them stress. In turn, that may place stress on your relationship. Organizing your house may be a simple fix to a seemingly complex issue.

06

Less procrastination

procrastinate behavior organize AleksandarNakic / Getty Images

Numerous experts and researchers have found an intrinsic link between procrastination and clutter. When you procrastinate on other tasks, you’re less likely to clean. Interestingly, if you’re in a cluttered environment, you’re more likely to procrastinate on other tasks. A study from Current Psychology suggests that these behaviors may lead to a lifelong pattern of procrastination, indecision, and clutter. For those stuck in this loop, simply pick an organizing task and start it. Continue working one step at a time, and you may just find that your procrastination is an issue of the past.

07

Feel less rushed

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The world is a busy place. Everyone has somewhere they need to be at any moment. Feeling rushed leads to stress, which dramatically harms your mental and physical health. If your home is disorganized, it can be a struggle to find objects you need as you need them. Plus, you’re less likely to have organized structures elsewhere in your life. Finding an opportunity to declutter your home can free up time and allows you to form habits that will leave you feeling less rushed and stress-free.

08

You're less cramped

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Regardless of where you live, housing is expensive. Rent, taxes, and mortgages seem to be rising higher and higher. To save some money, many people choose to settle down in small, simple homes. Unfortunately, this could be causing detrimental effects on their mental health. Smaller homes contribute to crowding-related stress, which in turn leads to unhealthy choices. Now, most people don’t have the money to just move to a bigger place. However, by opening up your home plan and staying organized, you can prevent the crowding. Get rid of objects in walkways, limit your furniture, and make sure there’s lots of breathing room in each area of your home.

09

Inspire self-confidence

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Some people seem to exude confidence from every pore. They may draw their self-esteem from their skills or their looks. However, a pretty surprising source of self-confidence is available to everyone: having a clean and clutter-free home. There are several possible reasons for this effect. Primarily, if you take care of your home, you probably also take care of yourself. Beyond that, because homes are often a reflection of ourselves, we take pride in them. If you invite someone over and they recognize how tidy and put-together your home is, they’re essentially complimenting you.

10

Recover from setbacks

Handsome young man keeping eyes closed and holding hands behind head while sitting in big comfortable chair at home g-stockstudio / Getty Images

Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone fails occasionally. It’s how a person responds to failure that ultimately matters. For some people, messing up takes a noticeable psychological toll. Studies have found that the act of cleaning may help manage these feelings. We naturally make hundreds of associations between actions and consequences. Among these associations, most people tie physical cleanliness and organization with optimism and morality. A person who regularly tidies their environment is more likely to be optimistic about their future and their mistakes.

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