messy room with clothes all over the floor

Can Keeping a Clean Space Positively Affect Your Mental Health?

Have you noticed a difference in your emotional and mental health when your space is messy versus when it's clean and organized? Most people—even if they're okay with a bit of clutter—will say that they can focus better when their space is clean. But is there really a connection between cleaning and mental health?

Considering it's Mental Health Awareness Month, we thought we'd dive into the science behind clutter and stress to see if they go hand-in-hand. We'll also give a few tips to help you tackle your cleaning and stay organized!

What Does the Research Say About the Connection Between Cleaning and Mental Health?

More now than ever, your home might be your workplace and the place you sleep, eat, hang out, etc. There's a chance you spend almost every hour in your home, which means the way it feels is going to affect you.

Cleaning Affects How You See Yourself

In 2016, a study was published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology that found a correlation between the amount of clutter in people's homes and their well-being.

More clutter equaled lower emotional well-being. A messy space also lowered people's level of "psychological home," or "a reflection of one's need to identify self with a physical environment."

Clutter and disorganization are not usually viewed as positive traits, so if your house gets a little out of hand, you might start seeing it as a reflection of yourself. The research found that when people started to feel this way, they began to detach themselves from feelings of pride and belonging in their homes.

Clutter Negatively Affects Your Physical Health

Other studies have found that clutter leads to higher cortisol levels (stress), and it can interfere with decision-making. Think about trying to find your keys among the pile of things on your dresser or counter. How do you feel when you're rummaging around for an outfit in your mix of maybe clean, maybe dirty clothes?

Disorganization Decreases Productivity & Positive Feelings

Being disorganized makes people less productive because it's distracting. When you see a pile of clothes or dishes that need to get done, you're focused on that project, rather than what you need to be working on.

It's also been known to cause feelings of guilt, shame, and embarrassment from not meeting your own expectations for keeping your space clean. It's safe to say that cleaning and mental health impact each other.

How To Create a Clean Space That Fosters Positive Mental Health

On the flip side, having an organized home can actually help you feel calmer and more relaxed. It's been shown to boost self-esteem and foster better decision-making skills, so it's important to find a balance between having what you need without being overwhelmed by too much stuff.

When we say "organized home," we don't mean you need to have a Pinterest aesthetic or ask Marie Kondo to come over and help you get rid of things. Every home will look different, and what works to keep things organized for one person might not work for you.

That being said, here are 5 general tips for cleaning and mental health that anyone can use for a cleaner home and calmer mind:

1. Tackle a Small Organization Project

Think about the spaces you use the most or a high-traffic area. Maybe it's your kitchen counters, a desk, a dresser—the list goes on. Take a few minutes to sort through things and put everything into three piles: trash, belongs here, and needs a different home.

Then you can decide how you want to organize that area, whether it's with some bins, a drawer divider, or whatever works for your space.

2. Utilize Storage Solutions

Oftentimes, mess and clutter are simply a shortage of storage solutions. Think about what items you have that need to be stored away and then invest in some containers like baskets, shelves, or drawers to help you stay organized.

This will be a longer-term project, but take it space by space and make sure to throw things out as you go along. One of the best storage solutions you could use is a file cabinet or something like it. Loose papers are a surefire way to feel cluttered and overwhelmed because they seem to stack up so quickly.

3. Dedicate 10 Minutes a Day to Tidy Up

Everyone's always preaching about this one but you'll be amazed at how it changes your space. We don't even mean that you need to clean anything up, but by simply putting away a few bills, making sure your keys and wallet are in a purse or visible, and picking up any stray items can make a huge difference.

4. Create Systems That Work for You

Everyone has their own tricks and systems for staying organized, so figure out what works best for you. Do you need weekly reminders to take the trash out? Are there certain items that tend to pile up quickly and need some extra attention? Keep track of these problem areas and think about how you can create a system or routine.

5. Use a Self-Storage Unit for Items You Don't Use Often

Whether it's seasonal items that are taking up a closet or family heirlooms that don't currently fit your style, a self-storage unit gives you extra space and cuts down on that clutter. Identify items you rarely use but can't get rid of and find a storage unit nearby!

Create a Calmer Space With Midgard Self Storage

At Midgard Self Storage, we offer a variety of storage options to fit your needs. From climate-controlled units, so you can store delicate items, to 24/7 access and advanced security, our friendly experts are here to help make organizing more manageable. Find your unit today!