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As winter fades and spring approaches, many of us may be planning to engage in that time honored ritual, spring cleaning. While any time of year can be a good time to clean, spring is a good time to organize all that clutter you accumulated during the dark winter months. We’re here to give tips for cleaning and talk about why cleaning is important.

Why Do Spring Cleaning

Research has shown that there is a link between messiness and diminished mental health. Poor mental health can cause some persons to accumulate clutter. One explanation for this is that mental and physical fatigue can sap a person’s energy to clean and maintain their home. This lack of cleaning allows clutter to build up and become overwhelming, making that person’s mental state even worse.

Mess in one’s home can add to a person’s feeling of being overwhelmed, anxious, stressed, and ashamed. All of this can make someone feel even worse than they already do. If you find yourself in this situation, recognize that cleaning and getting rid of clutter can actually improve your mood. While cleaning may not cure your depression, you might find that you feel a bit better having cleaned your living space.

Cleaning can help us feel at peace, with a home that feels and looks nice contributing to peace of mind. If your space is cluttered, your mind might also feel cluttered. On a basic level, cleaning can improve how we feel because many of us feel stressed when things are messy or get out of hand. As such, cleaning a mess can reduce the stress we feel about having a messy home.

Cleaning your home can also help you feel more in control of your life, especially if you feel overwhelmed. When you clean and declutter, you get to decide what you keep or throw out and how everything looks. By cleaning, you exert control over your environment as you transform and organize your space. In addition, the sense of accomplishment that you feel from cleaning can help you feel better about yourself. As an added bonus, cleaning can make it easier to stay organized and feel like you’re on top of your day-to-day routine because once you clean, you know where everything is.

For seniors, cleaning can be particularly important because clutter can create a tripping hazard. Many older adults are less mobile and the more clutter you have, the harder it can be to move around your home. Falls are dangerous for seniors and can cause serious injury that is difficult to recover from. Cleaning and decluttering can help reduce the risk that a senior will fall and become injured by creating safe pathways to move around one’s space.

Tips for Cleaning

If you’re struggling to begin cleaning, start small. Take out the recycling or trash, or clean one room, drawer, or surface at a time. If you’re someone who likes to write things down, make a checklist of what you want to clean. Then go down your list one by one, checking things off as you go. Checking things off as you go can increase your sense of accomplishment and motivate you to continue cleaning. If you have excess belongings, such as clothes, go through them and set aside a pile of items that you can donate. Place a bag in your closet where you can place things you’d like to give away.

If you’re elderly and you struggle with mobility issues, ask a friend or family member to help you clean. Schedule a day when your friend or relative can come and help you. Put this day on the calendar so you can mentally prepare and obtain any supplies you might need. For some of us, hosting friends at our homes can motivate us to clean. Invite friends over for lunch or plan a dinner party and use that as an excuse to finally do the cleaning you’ve been meaning to do.

Once you’ve successfully cleaned, keep things neat by taking a few minutes each day to put stuff away and do a little cleaning. Doing a little cleaning each day can help keep clutter from piling up and becoming unmanageable and overwhelming. And remember, there’s no right or wrong way to clean, so don’t be too hard on yourself.