Spring cleaning likely dates from antiquity and is a common part of cultures around the world, which means your ancestors may have done the same thing as a seasonal way to boost their mental and physical health thousands of years before self-help books were invented.
Researchers agree that cleaning out your detritus is good for you in general and may be extra helpful in the springtime, when many people are still shaking off seasonal affective disorder.
Scientists have documented that people feel calmer and happier when their environment is clean and tidy. A Princeton study suggests that clutter makes it difficult for people to focus, leading to stress and frustration.
The celebrated Marie Kondo is not the only efficiency expert who has seen a strong correlation between cleanliness and mental health.
“We create in the physical world the pattern of how we think and experience the world,” Regina Leeds, the author of a bestselling guide to organizing spaces, told CNN recently. Or, as she puts it more succinctly, “Your crap and your clutter is what’s going on inside of you.”
Other studies have shown that clean homes can help our physical health as well.
Indiana University tracked almost 1,000 African American adults and found a direct correlation between health and cleanliness. Subjects with clean homes were more active, as well as happier. The link to clean homes was stronger than just about any other factor in the study, including neighborhood walkability.
So as the days grow warm, go ahead and open the windows and air out your living space. Tidying up will make you feel better — and a full, deep clean could make you feel awesome.