Clean Home, Clear Mind

Monday, June 3 2019

I think we can all agree that organizing an area of your home can be either daunting or arousing, depending on the type of person you are.  If your favorite Saturday night activity involves putting your spices in alphabetical order, I feel you (kind of). But let’s face it, those who are naturally gifted organizers come far and few between.  You may think ‘organizing spices’ is basically just another excuse for procrastination, but the question is: do people who have a more organized home actually benefit from it? Turns out, the answer is yes.

A conducted study released by the Princeton Neuroscience Institute determined that the more stimuli in your visual field, the more likely they will compete for representation since we have limited processing capacity [1].  What this means (in normal verbiage) is if there’s a plethora of inanimate objects in your field of vision, you’re going to get distracted rather easily.  So tidying up around the house could help you be more productive, and therefore make you feel more accomplished. Pretty simple, right?

Actually, the connection between a clean space and a clear mind goes even deeper than productivity.  In a study conducted by students at Indiana University, a student found a strong correlation between having a clean home and being physically fit [2].  In fact, the research found that the tidier your home, the more likely you are to eat healthier and be more active.

Okay, so now that we’ve determined a cleaner home could help you both mentally and physically, it’s time to get down to business.  Do you think having a cleaner home would be nice, but don’t know where to start? Here are some easy ways to narrow down your task list, and keep you from getting overwhelmed from the idea of tidying.

  1.    Assess where you spend the most time.  If you’re someone who is on their phone or computer constantly for work, consider cleaning up your desktop, organizing your folders, or deleting apps you don’t use anymore.  Organization can go much further than physical spaces, and it’s important to prioritize your decluttering so you feel it made a difference in your everyday life.
  2.    Break up your organizational quest into smaller, more reasonable tasks.  If you’re a busy human being, you can’t take a whole day or weekend to declutter your life.  Think about little things that will make a big difference. Maybe you just need to put your winter clothes in bins under your bed, or would really benefit from going through your DVD collection and purging the ones that you don’t watch any more.  Any progress is good progress!
  3.    Know when to stop.  Listen, it’s easy to start organizing and wind up subconsciously pursuing a minimalist lifestyle that you don’t actually want.  Everyone has different organizational needs in order to be happy, and while you’re trying to find yours, don’t let perfect pictures of color-coded closets on Instagram make you feel inferior.  After all, it’s your home, your rules.

At the end of the day, the real message here is that organizing your home, to any extent, can help you be happier, and a more productive version of yourself.  However, we also have to keep in mind that organization is not a cure-all.

So, if you’re a spawn of Marie Kondo, we envy you.  But if you’re just learning that you have to wash your towels on a regular basis, that’s okay too.  The first step to self-improvement is recognizing where you are, and making reasonable goals. So whether you’re on a mission to have zero clutter, or just want to live a more hygienic life, take it one step at a time.

Get guidance throughout your mental health journey.

Stay connected and supported with the latest tips and information from SonderMind.