7 Ways Spring Cleaning Is Good for Your Mental Health

Father and little daughter cleaning the living room together

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As the snow melts and flowers begin to bloom, many of us look forward to experiencing warmer weather and brighter, longer days. But this season can also bring with it a sense of anticipation for something else: spring cleaning!

Though many people might think of the process as just another chore that needs to be crossed off their list, taking time each year to do a thorough deep clean in our homes is much more than just an obligatory task–it’s an opportunity for self-care.

Not only does decluttering your home come with numerous physical benefits, but there’s evidence indicating that it could even enhance your mental health.

While I’ve experienced the benefits of spring cleaning first-hand, I’ve also witnessed plenty of people in my therapy office telling me their mental health improved after doing a little spring cleaning.

That’s probably why so many people do it—nearly 8 in 10 Americans engage in spring cleaning.

And while the act of scrubbing, sorting, and dusting aren’t necessarily fun ways to spend a weekend, getting the house cleaned and organized is good for your mental health for several reasons.

Spring Cleaning Signals a Fresh Start

Spring cleaning is an example of what psychologists refer to as “temporal landmarks.” Those are the moments in the time that signify transition, like a new semester at school or a national election. 

For many people, spring cleaning signals it’s time for a fresh start. A well-organized bathroom or redecorated living room might help your brain make that shift that you’re entering into a new phase of the year.

Relief From Seasonal Affective Disorder

The American Psychiatric Association estimates 5% of the U.S. population experiences seasonal affective disorder, which is characterized by symptoms such as increased sadness, changes in sleep and appetite, and a loss of energy.

For those individuals, spring cleaning can be a tangible way to mark the shift in seasons. Spring cleaning may bring a sense of relief to people who clean their homes as a reminder that the weather is warming and the days are getting longer.

A Sense of Control

Focusing on things you can’t control increases feelings of anxiety and overwhelm. And there are many things in life that you just can’t control–like the economy or politics.

We feel best when we take charge of the things that we do have control over. Cleaning your house is a great way to gain a sense of control. After all, you might not be able to control the price of groceries, but you can control how organized your desk is. And while you can’t control the weather, you can control how cozy your home feels.

A Sense of Accomplishment

A messy house or a cluttered environment has been linked to mental health issues, like depression. It’s likely that the association is a two-way street.

Increased mental health issues can zap you of the motivation you need to clean. And as the clutter and unfinished projects pile up, your stress level might increase. You might also feel guilty or overwhelmed by mounting chores.

Spring cleaning can help you feel a sense of accomplishment. Getting the house in order can give you confidence that you can tackle another goal, like getting more exercise or reading more books.

Decreased Your Financial Stress

It’s tough to get your financial life in order when your home is disorganized. Whether you lose bills in the stacks of mail on the table or you can’t find receipts that would help you save on taxes, an unorganized home can add to your distress.

Spring cleaning might also remind you that you shop too much. As you get organized, you might discover how many items you’ve purchased but never used. Or you might discover you have a lot of duplicate items that you just couldn’t find.

When you're spring cleaning, you might uncover paperwork that reminds you of subscription services you pay for but no longer need. Or you might find insurance bills that motivate you to shop around for better rates. Getting financial paperwork in order can be a huge relief and it may alleviate some of financial distress.

Improved Social Life

If you’ve ever felt too embarrassed about the condition of your home to let anyone come inside, you’re not alone. Sometimes, the embarrassment of a messy house keeps people from hosting dinner parties. At other times, the piles of extra clutter in the spare bedroom prevent them from inviting friends to visit for the weekend.

A cleaner, decluttered space might help you feel more comfortable about opening up your home to others. Whether that means encouraging your neighbor to stop by for coffee or it means inviting the parents over when your kids have a playdate, you might feel good about people coming into your home after you’ve done your spring cleaning.

It May Set Other Good Habits in Motion

Good habits can have a snowball effect. Getting your house in order may motivate you to get other areas of your life in order. You might feel inspired to get more exercise now that you’ve removed the clutter surrounding your treadmill  or you might decide to go to sleep earlier because your room feels more peaceful now that it’s organized better.

Having a cleaner, organized space means you can find your belongings easier. You’ll spend less time looking for misplaced items and you might find you can concentrate better and think more clearly (studies show clutter distracts us and it’s been linked to procrastination). 

How to Get Your Spring Cleaning Done

You don’t have to get all your spring cleaning done in a day or a weekend. Instead, you might find it’s best to break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Tackle one room at a time or pick an area to work on each day–like a closet. 

You can make spring cleaning more fun by turning on some music or listening to your favorite podcast while you clean. And keep reminding yourself how good you’ll feel when you’re done.

2 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Ipsos Spring Cleaning Survey, March 2022

  2. American Psychiatric Association, "Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)," October 2020.

By Amy Morin, LCSW
Amy Morin, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.