Decluttering - The Mental Health Benefits of Keeping a Clean and Organized Home Environment
Updated: Mar 29
There are two types of people: tidy people and procrastinators. Some of us find it easier to clean while they go, while others (like me) prefer to put cleaning on the backburner until it becomes, shall we say, “noticeable.” But there is a reason seasonal cleaning is a tradition: clutter is bad for the psyche.
Most of us know the feeling: that anxiety you get when you’re looking at a pile of of trash, a dirty and unorganized room, or that mountain of laundry. Stressful, right? That’s because clutter manifests itself both physically and emotionally according to science. Decluttering and organizing your home environment or workspace has proven effects on reducing stress and anxiety. For workspaces this is especially true.
Proper energy flow of one’s personal space is rooted deeply in Chinese spirituality, but Psychologists have also studied these principles and their effect on psychological well-being. This philosophy, Feng Shui, is more complicated than just the absence of clutter, although this is the most fundamental step to effective energy flow. https://fengshuinexus.com/feng-shui-tips/feng-shui-treating-mental-illness/). Feng Shui’s central philosophy emphasizes the balance of the five ancient Chinese elements: fire, water, earth, wood and metal. When these five elements are in proper balance and objects are placed efficiently, Ch’i (also known as Qi), the flow of positive energy, is promoted. Although there is no scientific backing to the flow of Ch’i facilitating well-being, individual principles of Feng Shui have been tested. Color, sound, presence of natural light and absence of clutter all have profound effects on mood
Through certain elements of Feng Shui, we can improve both our mental well-being and self perception. Principles like decluttering, furniture arrangement and the selection of color and shapes in your decor can boost energy by engaging your brain in problem-solving skills. This practice can also take your mind off of stressful thoughts and allow insights into external situations. You are also improving your health by removing pollutants in the Feng Shui decluttering process. You are cleaning things that could grow mold or bacteria (such as dirty dishes or trash) and removing dust particles and toxins from the air through the movement of objects. Modern Feng Shui also focuses on the minimization of “environmental pollutants,” such as irritating sounds and noises that aren’t salient to your consciousness, but still have an impact on your mood.
Most notably, there’s that feeling of accomplishment you get when you spend your day cleaning. You can physically see all the work you’ve done, which is a huge mood elevator. Feng Shui may not have official scientific backing, but decluttering your home feels like wiping the slate clean of physical and psychological burden.
So what are you waiting for? Get to it!