NEWS Mental Health News Spring Cleaning: How Decluttering Your Home Might Help You Declutter Your Mind By Sarah Fielding Sarah Fielding LinkedIn Twitter Sarah Fielding is a freelance writer covering a range of topics with a focus on mental health and women's issues. Learn about our editorial process Updated on April 27, 2022 Fact checked Verywell Mind content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Fact checkers review articles for factual accuracy, relevance, and timeliness. We rely on the most current and reputable sources, which are cited in the text and listed at the bottom of each article. Content is fact checked after it has been edited and before publication. Learn more. by Karen Cilli Fact checked by Karen Cilli Karen Cilli is a fact-checker for Verywell Mind. She has an extensive background in research, with 33 years of experience as a reference librarian and educator. Learn about our editorial process Share Tweet Email Print Verywell / Ellen Lindner Key Takeaways Winter is finally over and the spring offers a fresh, lighter start.Spring cleaning often centers around bettering your space, but can also be beneficial for your mental health. Taking time to declutter can lower your anxiety and motivate you for projects moving forward. The world opens up in the spring. Days are longer, flowers burst out of the ground in a sea of color, and the birds return to the sky in droves—or, more accurately, flocks. The Earth hits refresh after a long, dark hibernation. And we humans follow suit, shedding our oversized coats and other items that got us through the winter. Some things get donated while other items enter the attic until temperatures drop again. We may move pictures and other knick-knacks around to change a space’s vibe. This process—widely known as spring cleaning—is not only good for our space but also for our mental health. “Our mental health is influenced by multiple factors, and our physical environment is one of these areas that directly impact our emotional well-being,” says Kristin M. Papa, LCSW, a psychotherapist and certified wellness coach. “Our external environment at times can be a reflection of our inner self, and thus spring cleaning or a ‘reset’ of our living space can also help us have a fresh outlook in other areas of our life.” Kristin M. Papa, LCSW Our mental health is influenced by multiple factors, and our physical environment is one of these areas that directly impact our emotional well-being. — Kristin M. Papa, LCSW Spring cleaning is already a widespread practice. In a recent survey from the American Cleaning Institute, 78% of respondents reported that they or someone in their household does a spring cleaning at least once a year. Only 8% of people said their home never partakes. This was an increase from 2021, when the survey focused on people entrenched in the pandemic. In that instance, 69% of people reported that their household engaged in a yearly spring cleaning. Mental Health Benefits of Cleaning and Decluttering How Decluttering Your Physical Space May Help Your Mental Health The survey asked participants solely about the physical and spacial rationales for tidying up, but there is a wide range of mental benefits you shouldn’t ignore. “There is a symbolic level to spring cleaning as most take this opportunity to do a deep clean and get rid of things that no longer serve them, which also helps lighten and brighten their psyche as they spring into the spring season,” says Dr. Holly Schiff, a licensed clinical psychologist at Jewish Family Services of Greenwich. Papa concurs, explaining that removing these unused items can feel like a weight lifted off your shoulders and put you in an excellent mindset to approach other projects moving forward that you’ve put off or found intimidating. The act of spring cleaning may also directly lower your anxiety—only in part because clothes are no longer covering your favorite reading chair. “Oftentimes, hoarding behavior—or even much milder, just keeping things like clothes that don’t fit us—is a direct link with anxiety,” says CodyAnn McGovern, a psychiatric physician assistant and former social worker. Holly Schiff, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist There is a symbolic level to spring cleaning as most take this opportunity to do a deep clean and get rid of things that no longer serve them, which also helps lighten and brighten their psyche as they spring into the spring season. — Holly Schiff, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist McGovern continues, “So often, those ‘things’ act as a security blanket. When we are able to get rid of the ‘stuff,’ it is liberating and freeing. It reinforces that we don’t need security blankets. We are able to thrive without the weight of the stuff.” It can also bring a sense of control into your life. According to McGovern, reorganizing and choosing what goes and what stays where in your house gives you a sense of agency in your life. Whereas being out of control can bring anxiety, these actions can tame it. This feeling of organization and control over your life can be especially critical after experiencing years of a pandemic in which so much felt up to chance, notes Schiff. She adds that the act of cleaning itself can provide a repetitive rhythm that mimics mindfulness practices and calms you down. If you’re new to spring cleaning, Schiff recommends first focusing on small projects, setting a timer, and inviting others to join you. What This Means For You Spring cleaning is one of many ways you can refresh your mental health after a long winter, especially if you dealt with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Take long walks (or naps) in the sunshine, see friends in the daylight, and take in the nature around you. How Your Environment Affects Your Mental Health See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? 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