Back in 2019, Netflix released a new home makeover series called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. The reality show follows its host, the popular Japanese organizing consultant, Marie Kondo, as she goes house to house to help American families tidy their homes. The television program is based on Kondo’s decluttering method called “KonMari,” in which the homeowner goes around the house, picking items up by hand, and deciding whether it still sparks joy. If it does, it stays in its place at home. If it does not, the homeowner has to either give it away or toss it to the bin.
Tidying Up with Marie Kondo was a huge success. Across the United Kingdom, it caused an increase in charity donations as people go through their possessions and get rid of things that no longer make them happy.
While, to some, the method seems a little unusual or unnecessary, there is solid evidence to prove the mental health benefits of organizations. Kondo did not create a sudden interest in organization. People want to look at organized items and spaces.
But, of course, it is not enough to just be an audience. While looking at an organized drawer feels satisfactory, living in a tidy home is even better.
The Life-Changing Magic of Being Clutter-Free
A study published in 2010 in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin used linguistic analysis software to assess how women discussed their homes. About 60 women participated in the study.
The researchers revealed that those who used the words “cluttered” and “unfinished projects” were fatigued and at a higher risk of depression. They also, unsurprisingly, have higher levels of cortisol, also known as the stress hormones.
In contrast, those who used positive words such as “restorative” and “restful” had decreased depressed moods over the day.
The Act of Organizing is Therapeutic
The act of cleaning alone can do wonderful things to the mind. While to some people, household chores such as cleaning are a chore, to others, they can be a way to alleviate stress.
If you do one thing over and over again, it empties your mind and relaxes the body. The impact is similar to knitting and cross-stitching. It encourages the person to forget the stressors and focus instead on the task at hand.
The number of users who access cleaning-related content via Headspace, a popular meditation app, increased by 20 percent in 2020. In one exercise, the app instructed users to do light and repetitive housework in dim lighting in order to fall asleep quickly.
The act of cleaning can be meditative, and you only need to change your mindset. Thinking about more entertaining activities you can be doing will only make cleaning unbearable. But, if you refocus your attention on scrubbing the kitchen counter or wiping the window until it is clear, then the impact to your mental health will be similar to the practice of meditation.
Not Cleaning is Good for the Mental Health, Too
However, in some cases, calling a professional residential cleaning service is more preferable than doing the work on your own.
While cleaning can be meditative, having to do it when you are already tired from work or child care can cause so much stress. One research found that people will be so much happier and healthier if they do not have to do household chores and, instead, pay someone else to do them.
People who hire professional cleaners are “buying time” for other tasks that they deem are more worth their while such as pursuing a hobby or spending time with their loved ones. However, they also did not want to let their house become cluttered. As was mentioned, a cluttered house can be a cause of stress and can even lead to depression. Moreover, dirty houses can increase the risk of illness.
The dust that may have settled on surfaces of furniture, in sofas and chairs, and mattresses and pillows can be inhaled and exacerbate existing respiratory symptoms. Dirt can also invite unwanted guests such as rodents and cockroaches — both of which can bring germs into the house.
Hiring helpers will provide the household clean living spaces, health, and happiness.
An organized and clean house sparks joy. The process of tidying can also provide relief from stress. However, do not feel guilty when you do not have the time or energy to clean and organize your home; hiring helpers can still provide great benefits to mental health.