Spring has well and truly sprung, so what better time to crack on with some spring cleaning?
While keeping your house organised and tidy is just one of those jobs that had to be done, did you know it can have a profound effect on your brain and your wellbeing?
How does clutter happen?
It’s the question we all find ourselves asking. It seems like only yesterday that you had your last big spring clean, but all of a sudden the house is stacked to the ceilings with tat.
The thing is, as humans we generally find it quite hard to throw things out, whether it be for sentimental purposes, or just thinking that we might need something in the future.
And there’s science behind it too!
According to this piece from Psychology Today, researchers from the Yale School of Medicine found that ‘hoarders’ had increased activity in two areas of the brain which are associated with pain when they had to throw things out.
As hard as it may be to admit, we buy a lot of things that we simply don’t need, and it’s best to admit this, and get rid of the stuff you don’t need.
While some people don’t mind a bit of organised chaos, for a lot of us the piles of laundry and other clutter can create piles of stress in our minds.
Knowing in the back of your mind that there are unfinished jobs to be done (whether it’s cleaning or anything else) can make us feel stressed, depressed and fatigued, so it can pay to take the time tackle it head on instead of letting the clutter build up any further.
A survey carried out in 2008 suggested that just 20 minutes of cleaning a week could improve depression.
It’s thought that cleaning has a similar impact on depression as exercise and curbs some of the biological risk factors for depression such as glucose intolerance, inflammation and cardiovascular problems.
It can help you sleep!
As always, we were most interested in how clutter affected sleep, and this survey by the National Sleep Foundation threw up some answers.
Apparently those who make their bed in a morning were 19% more likely to have a good night’s sleep, and 75% of those who had clean sheets also reported a better night’s sleep.
As we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, the bedroom should be a sanctuary, and keeping it clean and tidy is a big part of this.
It makes you more productive
Getting into the frame of mind of sorting things out and getting things done will result in a much more productive state of mind, which will carry over into over areas of your life, such as at work.
This article suggests that 88% of people reported that their productivity and concentration were hampered by messy locations.
And when you think about it, it’s easy to see why. All that clutter is a distraction on your senses, and doesn’t allow you to really focus on the important stuff, whether it’s something at work or just helping the kids with their homework.
You don’t need to be embarrassed to have guests
While we might not like to admit it, a lot of us care a lot more about what others think than we would like to.
But that’s ok! It’s in our nature. And it’s understandable to stress out a little bit when you’re having guests over.
And while you can’t always plan for how the kids are going to behave, or how the roast is going to turn out, you can always take one load off your mind by having a thorough tidy up before your guests arrive.
It allows you to relax
No matter who you are or what you do, it’s important that when you get back from work, you have a little bit of time to yourself.
While tidying up might seen the exact opposite of this, think how good it would feel to be able to just come home from work to a tidy house and be able to put your feet up in front of the telly.
This is why it is so important to keep on top of tidying, so that it doesn’t accumulate.
Giving yourself this time yourself is extremely good for your mental health and allows your batteries to recharge.
Clutter isn’t just physical
Remember, in this day and age, a spotless house doesn’t necessarily mean you’re clutter free.
There’s a whole new phenomenon: digital clutter. Whether its work files or notifications on your Twitter and Facebook, your laptop and mobile devices are always trying to get your attention, and you guessed it; this affects your ability to focus.
Check out this article from ‘Becoming Minimalist’ on 25 ways you can minimise your digital clutter.