The air is fresh, the birds are chirping and the flowers are beginning to bloom. It’s spring!
The change of seasons offers an ideal moment to take stock of your habits and surroundings, and leverage some of the fresh new energy circulating through the environment. Love it or hate it, spring cleaning is a quintessential part of this process. It’s not just about getting rid of clutter, it’s about making room mentally and physically to allow new things in.
5 Ways Spring Cleaning Boosts Your Wellness
Organizing the spaces around you can bring an array of health benefits. While cleaning and tidying your home are proven to support well-being, you should also consider how the benefits of decluttering can extend to other areas of your life—including work, relationships and habits.
1. Improves Self-Esteem
You know the phrase, “clean home, clean mind?” Well, turns out that’s actually true. According to a 2016 study on the effects of clutter in the home, the amount of clutter in a dwelling contributes to an individual’s self-image and how much they personally identify with their space. Researchers have also found that using positive words to describe your home will lead to more happiness and less focus on the perceived negative things (like repairs or unfinished chores).
2. Reduces Allergens
Inflammation and immune dysfunction can be a result of environmental contaminants, some of which can be avoided with greater cleanliness. One common household irritant is the house dust mite, which researchers say is the top domestic source for allergic diseases. Another is mold, which is a contributor to respiratory illnesses such as asthma, allergic rhinitis and sinusitis. It can also lead to symptoms like fatigue, bloating and memory loss.
3. Inspires Healthier Habits
Research shows that your environment influences things like cognition, emotions and behaviors. More pointedly, a cluttered space can lead to an increase in stress and anxiety, and have a negative impact on eating and sleeping habits. One study examined a group of 49-to 65-year-olds and found that those who kept their homes tidier over the span of 10 years had also maintained a higher level of physical activity. While direct conclusions can’t be drawn from one single study, a working theory is that the act of cleaning is its own form of exercise—one which should not be underestimated.
4. Increases Productivity
With more families working and remote learning from home, having a clean space in which to focus is imperative. Designating different work areas and assigning each family member to clean their “home offices,” will lead to a greater sense of personal pride and accomplishment when the job is finished. Plus, the work area will be associated with task completion which may subconsciously make future work assignments more achievable.
5. Boosts Mindfulness
Many cultures see cleaning as a form of meditation. As such, incorporating some form of tidying into your daily schedule may help you achieve some of the many benefits of mindfulness. A regular mindfulness practice has been shown to reduce anxiety, improve sleep and improve happiness.
Spring Cleaning Checklist
It’s one thing to read about the amazing benefits of spring cleaning, but actually starting is a whole other process. Consider that you should not only clean out things that take up physical space, but mental and emotional space as well. Check out the below checklist to help you stay on task—you can even print it out and stick it on your fridge for easy reference.
- Organize your closet
- Organize your dresser
- Donate clothes you no longer wear
- Clear clutter from shelves
- File away or shred paperwork
- Organize books
- Throw away old magazines
- Keep your desktop free of clutter
- Organize desktop files
- Delete apps you don’t use
- Update your phone and computer software to the latest versions
- Back up important photos and files
- Organize countertops
- Get rid of products you don’t use
- Clear under the sink
- Declutter bathroom drawers
- Organize linen closet
- Organize and clean your refrigerator
- Throw away old condiments
- Buy a divider for your junk drawer
- Clear out old items from your pantry
- Develop a labeling system for pantry items
- Organize your bookshelf
- Clear clutter from your coffee table
- Organize the contents of your TV stand (DVDs, games, etc.)
- Detangle and hide wires
- Hang coats
- Keep shoes organized on a shelf or mat
- Designate one area for keys and keyfobs
- Make a plan to pay down debt
- Organize and review your 401K
- Review subscriptions and get rid of what you don’t need
- Create a budget
- Think about who you’d like to spend more time with and then put a solid plan on the calendar
- Create a dating checklist to help define characteristics that are important to you in a partner
- Review your habits and decide which ones are helping you achieve goals and which you might need to break
How to Make Cleaning a Habit
The great thing about the benefits of spring cleaning is that they don’t actually have to happen in the spring at all. Sure, the freshness of the season helps add some additional energy and excitement to the air, but the principles of spring cleaning are ones you should be practicing all year long. Here are a few ways you can make cleaning and decluttering a habit:
- Set a time aside each week to clean and organize your space.
- Focus on how cleaning your space makes you feel: perhaps lighter, more productive and more serene?
- Make your cleaning ritual fun by adding music and turning it into a decluttering dance party.
- Invite people over regularly as motivation for you to tidy up your space.
- Carve out time each quarter to evaluate your personal life, habits and wellness regimen, and make adjustments where necessary.
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