During lockdown we spent every hour (bar one, when we were allowed to go out for daily exercise and possible our trips to the supermarket for essential items) at home. Now, everyone’s home is different but one thing that is for certain, when you’re in a confined space for a significant period of time or any period in time actually – it’s important to keep that space clean and tidy.
Now, I am not someone who is OCD about ‘being tidy’ but I am very conscious about the fact that when you want to be creative, think clearly or even just have a good nights sleep – you can’t do that in a mess.
WHAT DOES SCIENCE SAY?
Let’s refer to a few studies for a moment which show that the science proves why you need a clean and tidy home:
A study led by associate professor NiCole R. Keith, Ph.D., research scientist and professor at Indiana University, found that people with clean houses are healthier than people with messy houses. Keith and her colleagues tracked the physical health of 998 African Americans between the ages of 49 and 65, a demographic known to be at an increased risk for heart disease. Participants who kept their homes clean were healthier and more active than those who didn’t.
The National Sleep Foundation survey found that people who make their beds every morning are 19% more likely to get a good night’s sleep. 75% percent of people surveyed also said that they get a better night’s rest when their sheets are freshly cleaned because they feel more comfortable.
A 2010 study published in the scientific journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin used linguistic analysis software to measure the way 60 individuals discussed their homes. Women who described their living spaces as “cluttered” or full of “unfinished projects” were more likely to be depressed and fatigued than women who described their homes as “restful” and “restorative.” The researchers also found that women with cluttered homes expressed higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
In 2011, researchers at Princeton University found that clutter can actually make it more difficult to focus on a particular task. Specifically, they found that the visual cortex can be overwhelmed by task-irrelevant objects, making it harder to allocate attention and complete tasks efficiently.
CLEANING IS A CHORE:
Being completely honest, I actually hate cleaning. I love a clean home but I hate the thought of having to clean.
There are some people who love it and get excited at the thought of cleaning. Does anyone remember Monica from FRIENDS?
Me personally, I would rather someone else did it. If I could afford it and I didn’t believe in the benefits of doing my own cleaning – I probably would outsource to a cleaner!
- HEALTHIER ENVIRONMENT:
I feel like this is pretty obvious but it’s important to say anyway. Bacteria, mould, dust, and dander cause everything from allergies to asthma. Cleaning your home regularly will reduce the potential for sickness and create a healthier environment for the people that you love.
- MORE OPPORTUNITIES TO HOST PEOPLE
I absolutely hate it when someone comes round and my home is a mess. It makes me very agitated and also I often feel embarrassed and like they would think that I am happy living in a pig sty. My partner once got so annoyed at me for inviting my mum up to his flat because it was so messy. He didn’t want her to see his home like that because of the impression that it would leave.
Your house doesn’t have to be hotel clean every day but spending a few minutes each evening before heading to bed putting away unwanted items on counter tops will help. It’s also nice to wake up and come down to a tidy home as well.
- LESS MAINTENANCE AND REPAIRS
My grandparents home is spotless, even in their 80s – they keep their home clean and tidy. Each week choosing an appliance to deep clean to ensure that it is in full working order.
One thing I know is that they rarely have to call out for repairs. It’s something that I have taken on board from them as well. Each Saturday I either deep clean the fridge, oven or even my jewellery to ensure that everything is in good working order.
- QUICK BURST OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
View cleaning as exercise. As I mentioned earlier, I hate cleaning but I love being active. When I am cleaning, I know that I am doing NEAT (Non-exercise activity thermogenesis) and because of that I am happier doing it because I know that everything that I clean is adding to my calorie deficit.
- INCREASED FOCUS AND PRODUCTIVITY
This is the most important for me. A clean environment allows your mind to think, be creative and actually it gives you the ability to wind down properly too. Mess builds up on top of you and can close in on you to the point that you feel overwhelmed. A little bit of cleaning can go a long way to helping you finish reading a book, writing a report or doing something creative like drawing or painting.
- LESS GUILT
When I know that I need to clean the house – it consumes me and it’s all that I can think about. I think about it more when I am having fun and enjoying myself, knowing that I’ve got chores to come back to. Cleaning and getting it out of the way as well as keeping on top of it means that you can enjoy your down time GUILT FREE!
When I’ve cleaned the house or tidied up something, I feel like I’ve achieved something of value and it makes me feel really good. When you look at your clean home and know that you ‘did that’… it makes you feel good and like you’ve achieved something. That is why a lot of the time when you’re feeling low or down because of other things going on in your life, cleaning can help. That sense of achievement makes your feel good about yourself and that feeling then seeps into the rest of your life and the things that you choose to do as well.
Do you love to clean? Any tips to make it more enjoyable?