How Cleaning and Decluttering Affect Your Mental Health?

Does cleaning impact your mental and physical health? (Photo by: Karolina Grabowska via pexels )
Does cleaning impact your mental and physical health? (Photo by: Karolina Grabowska via pexels )
Janvi Kapur

The COVID pandemic taught us quite a few lessons on cleaning. Apart from hoarding face masks and sanitisers, cleaning has become a trending topic of discussion. What has been the impact of cleaning? Is it restricted to our physical spaces or does it have a say on our mental health?

On a random Sunday, you might suddenly pick up your cleaning tool-kit and decide to clean your house or reorganize your closet. Latest research suggests that cleaning can have significant beneficial effects on your mental health. Similarly, a cluttered space can have an adverse impact, too.


To Clean or Not to Clean!

What is it about cleaning that makes people feel better? For many, cleaning creates a feeling of being in control when they have an organized space. While the common understanding of cleaning is related to your kitchen, garage, work desk, and so on, digital and online clutter need a reset, too.

Surprisingly, whether physical or cyberspace gets the broom or the Recycle Bin treatment, respectively, it's your mind that gets the maximum benefit. Read on to find out how cleaning is good for your mental health.

1. Set Routine

A clean home cannot just happen on a spark of momentary inspiration. It involves daily, weekly, and annual cleaning schedules. The well-planned and disciplined approach yields sustainable results than a sporadic rush of madness. The set routine not only makes the job easier but also helps in budgeting your time. You get enough time to pursue your interests without having to worry about a dirty home.

2. Reduced Anxiety

When you feel overwhelmed, due to your job, health, finances, kids, or any reason whatever, cleaning can be a powerful tool to minimize stress or anxiety. As cleaning is a physical act that uses up energy, you end up doing a mini-workout. It brings a rush of the feel-good hormones that will give you confidence in facing up any challenge. Even lightly moving around while cleaning distracts you from the cause of the stress.

A cluttered space leads to an anxious mind! (Photo by: via pexels)
A cluttered space leads to an anxious mind! (Photo by: via pexels)

3. Tangible Outcomes

There are days when things clearly don't work for us. The boss pulls you up for a report, your computer develops a snag, and your friend calls you to speak about their divorce. Cleaning of any kind at this point will help you see tangible outcomes and add to your sense of accomplishment. Did you clean one of your shelves today? Congratulations! You just did something to enhance your mental health!

4. Better Social Connections

A cluttered home leads to a cluttered mind. The streaming culture has created the need for instant gratification and a disdain for healthy social interactions. By staying off electronic entertainment and bringing in real people into your home, you add life to your years. The preparation and cleaning that happen with entertaining guests is a positive step for forming good social hygiene.

Cleaned my room for the first time in years

5. Fresh Start

A deep clean and the associated purge of dust, dirt, and clutter inspires a sense of renewed energy. Donating old clothes, books, magazines, and whatever else you’ve got lying about is an opportunity to create a new beginning for yourself. Removing physical stuff also leads to the removal of negativity, past regrets, and anything else that’s blocking your mind. Your self-esteem picks up and you feel energetic about the space around you that inspires you to make a new beginning.

A decluttered space leads to an anxious mind! ( Photo by: rachel claire via pexels )
A decluttered space leads to an anxious mind! ( Photo by: rachel claire via pexels )

Cleaning: Taking the Step Forward

For some, cleaning is an everyday ritual, but for others it can be as difficult as working a night-shift. Here are some quick tips to declutter your spaces.

1. Prioritise What You Wish to Hold

Are there things lying around you that drain your physical or mental energy? Notice how many days, months, or years they have been with you and when you see that they no longer serve a purpose, throw them out. This is true not only for your physical possessions but also negative memories, personal grudges, and frustrations. Keep only those things that are functionally useful and aligned to your personal beliefs.

2. Detox

Many cultures promote regular physical detox as part of a sustainable lifestyle. Fasting or following a detox diet improves physical health. Similarly, clearing out unused things or acquiring things mindfully is a mental detox that brings relaxation. Donating your usable items for a cause can add to a joyous outlook.

3. Add Mindfully

Clutter happens over time. It's a direct result of relentless buying without bothering to align the purchases with your values and needs. Being more mindful while shopping for things and seeing their intrinsic alignment with your purpose prevents clutter.


The famous psychiatrist Carl Jung has said that our living environment is part of our subjective experience. In this case, keeping our environment clean is thus a necessary condition for a productive mind. Your mind is your second home and keeping it clean becomes a daily essential!

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Q. What is your go-to cleaning hack?

Cleaning my wardrobe

Clearing out my workspace

Edited by Ramaa Kishore


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