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Cleaner spaces can improve people's mental health, alleviating stress

In a study, around 78% of participants agreed that their stress levels increase when the inside of their home is messy.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A new survey of 2,000 homeowners found around 78% of people believe there’s a direct link between their home’s tidiness and their wellbeing.

They agreed their stress levels increase when the inside of their homes are messy. Psychologists also aid they believe decluttering a person's space is also a good way to manage stress and boost their mood.

And of the people who regularly do spring cleaning, over 1,600 of those polled, around 72% agreed their spring cleaning also plays a role in improving their well-being.

The survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of TruGreen, asked participants about their spring cleaning habits and they said it could take just over two weeks to check everything off their lists.

Professional organizer Kelsey Miller started Klosets by Kelsey during the pandemic.

Credit: Kelsey Miller
Klosets by Kelsey, Knoxville

"People reached out to me and they were like, 'I need you to come and help me come get things organized,' or, 'I've been in sweats for months and I want to feel better about myself and it just took off,'" she said. "My passion turned into my career.”

Now she ties in her passion for helping people and takes the organizing game to an all-new level.

"When you go into your home, you're supposed to go in and breathe," Miller said. "My whole philosophy is trying to find and help my clients live a stress-free lifestyle through organizing and I think that is something that is life-changing for some people."

It makes sense since most can agree the past two years haven't been easy. Nearly 80% of people said their stress increases when the inside of their home is messy, according to the study. 

Julius Jeffries is a licensed mental health therapist. He believes a clean home promotes not only a healthy lifestyle but also a healthy mind. It can be difficult to live stress-free when so much of the world seems out of control. He said having a clean home can help people regain that sense of control.

"A good analogy is decluttering your personal space is kind of like decluttering your mind," he said. "You may not be able to clean up everything in society or in life, but you can clean up your household. That's the first task you can have control over. You can always control your living space.”

Studies have previously said that a clutter-free home has a positive effect on mood.

"That's often where I start with my clients. We actually start there. Cleaning your environment and that's the first step of having that control and purpose," Miller said.

Mental health is different for everybody and a massive cleaning to-do list can seem scary at times. Both Jefferies and Miller believe it’s important to start small.

"If you put on an outfit that doesn't make you look good or feel good, it's got to go," Miller said. "Have different zones and categories so you don't have to run around frantically for work.”

Overall, Miller said, it’s important to create a place that makes you happy.

"How do you want your space to look and how you want to feel in that space and imagine yourself being in that space and what does that look like?" Miller said.

That professional organizer said the hardest part about spring cleaning is finding where to start without getting overwhelmed. Her advice is to set small goals and focus on one room in the house at a time.

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