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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

April 16, 2024 - 9:01am --

House cleaning is not one of my favorite activities, but spring always makes it better. I love a warm, breezy day when I can open the windows and let the air circulate through my home. One thing leads to another and before I know it, I’m washing windows and curtains and clearing cobwebs from areas ignored during the long winter days.

It’s a season of new and fresh beginnings, so many of us get into the spring-cleaning mode. And all that scrubbing, sorting, and decluttering is doing more than sprucing up our houses. It boosts our mood and enhances our mental health.

 I love how I feel after I’ve dived into some major cleaning and organizing projects. It gives me a sense of accomplishment.

“Our brains like it when we finish what we’ve started,” said Dr. Dawn Potter clinical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic. “So, when a task is accomplished, our brains feel good, which reduces tension. It gives us the satisfaction of doing something meaningful.”

Spring cleaning can be mind cleansing, too

She also shared some other ways cleaning up can help our mental state.

  • It reduces stress. Cleaning can be a soothing way to work out stress.

“Sometimes, if you’re faced with other problems that you can’t address at the time, or if you’re just feeling overwhelmed,” Potter said, “you may find that cleaning helps you restore a sense of control.”

- You feel more peaceful. “Having a clean and organized home means you know where everything is, which can help you feel in control,” Potter explained. “There’s also peace of mind that comes with having an aesthetically pleasing place to wake up in and return to at the end of your workday.”

- It gets you moving. Cleaning isn’t a substitute for exercise, but depending on how vigorously you clean, you may actually get a bit of a workout. Cleaning and vacuuming get your body up and moving around, and walking back and forth as you put things away can help you meet your daily step goal.

- It improves focus. 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.

- It helps fend off depression. A messy house or a cluttered environment has been linked to mental health issues, such as depression.

“Some core symptoms of depression are low interest, lack of motivation and fatigue, so someone experiencing depression may be less likely to maintain the focus required to fully finish tasks like cleaning and organizing, to care whether there are dirty socks on the floor,” Potter explained. “Conversely, though, if a person with depression can push themselves or can figure out ways to make it easier to clean up or to organize, that may help with their energy, focus and mood.”

Break it down into manageable tasks

Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be done in 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 in each day.

Potter suggests starting with the task that provides the most visual change and can provide a sense of immediate relief.

Make it fun by turning on some music or listening to your favorite podcast while you clean.

Start the season by making a plan that works for you, then stick to it and take time to appreciate your work. And keep reminding yourself how good you’ll feel when you’re done          

Laurie Sidle is an Ohio State University Extension Family and Consumer Sciences and 4-H program assistant and may be reached at 330-264-8722 or
This article was previously published in The Daily Record.