Can Spring Cleaning Make You Happier?

Cleaning out clutter and cleaning the countertops don’t just help the home be visually appealing — they can actually improve the mental health of some.

For those who are heavily affected by their environment, a little spring cleaning could result in added happiness.

“Those that are effected more by their external factors would be the type to gain happiness in the form of a clean and organized home,” said Steve Scoggin, interim chair of psychiatry at Wake Forest Baptist Health. “Getting rid of items that no longer add value to your life can serve as a symbol of control and release to many.”

Cleaning – not just in the spring – also can provide an outlet for energy and a release for negative emotions. 

“Removing dust, dirt and disorder from your environment provides you with a cleaner, more comfortable atmosphere so you can feel happier and more relaxed,” said Scoggin.

Scoggin and the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) offer the following insight on how cleaning and everyday chores can positively affect the mindset:  

Feeling aggravated?

Deep clean. If a situation has provided annoyance, thoroughly cleaning an area of the home can provide an instant mental boost after seeing the result.

Feeling stressed?

Organize. Clutter can have a negative impact on the ability to focus and process information and physically clearing that chaos can help the mind feel clearer. Even something as simple as making the bed every morning can have a positive impact on the quality of sleep. According to an NSF study, 19 percent of those who make their bed are more likely to report good, regular rest and 75 percent reported they felt they got a better night sleep with fresh, clean sheets.

Feeling alone?

Purge. Ridding space of unwanted excess can be emotionally therapeutic and symbolic. Purging things in the home that do not add value, allows the opportunity to prioritize the items that are worth holding are onto. 

“It’s important to keep in mind that a clean home or workspace isn’t the ultimate key to happiness,” said Scoggin. “Those who are more effected by internal factors may find no happiness in a cleanlier space, but for those that are externally driven, a little elbow grease and organization can add value to the mindset.”