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March 23, 2023
Does Cleaning Have Health Benefits? Here's What Organizational Expert, Marie Kondo, Has to Say
March 20th marked the first day of spring. And with the weather getting warmer and the days getting longer, there’s no better time to revitalize your home than with some spring cleaning.
Plus, spring cleaning has some major health benefits. Home organization expert Marie Kondo, shares this perspective: “Think of cleaning as an expression of gratitude for your home…and as a way to bring peace and calm into your space, as well as your body and mind.”
In this blog post, we’ll cover three health benefits of cleaning, along with six of Marie Kondo’s favorite cleaning tips.
3 Health Benefits of Cleaning for Spring
Refreshing your home for the new season has lasting effects on your mental and physical health. Here are three health benefits to look forward to…
1. Cleaning Can be Meditative
As Marie teaches, “cleaning can be a meditative act–your mind empties while your hands move. In Buddhist temples and shrines, monks and nuns clean throughout the day as part of their spiritual practice–dusting, polishing and sweeping their way toward inner peace.”
Cleaning is a way to clear your thoughts and reset. Some people even follow a meditative practice called heartfulness cleaning, which incorporates cleaning, meditation, yoga, and other spiritual components (1). Meditation can help reduce stress, ease anxiety symptoms, improve sleep, and decrease blood pressure (2, 3, 4, 5, 6).
Long story short, cleaning can ease your mind in more ways than one.
2. Cleaning Can Ease Symptoms of Depression & Anxiety
When you’re going through a stressful chapter in life, you might find your home a little messier. This is a visual manifestation of the anxiety you’re carrying with you.
The good news is that cleaning can help ease symptoms of depression and anxiety. A tidy space can help you think more clearly, sleep better, and see a brighter side of life. A clean, calm home can help boost your daily mood and make it easier to focus (7, 8).
The process of organizing can help you feel in control of your surroundings. A streamlined bedroom can promote better sleep. Choosing prime locations for your favorite things in the house can create a sense of intentionality to your routine.
A clean space means your mind won’t need to fixate on how (or when) you will tackle messes. That means more headspace for rest, productivity, and making time for the people and things you love within your home.
3. Cleaning Can Help You Live a More Active, Healthy Lifestyle
Keeping your home clean can actually encourage healthy habits. Studies have found that a clean physical space is connected to a more active lifestyle, and sticking to a healthier routine (9, 10).
An organized kitchen makes cooking more fun. Storing healthy food at eye level makes you more likely to choose it over sugary snacks. A drawer dedicated to your favorite workout gear means it’s more convenient to get moving. Clean, open windows offer a burst of fresh air to keep you energized and active. Your guests will benefit too. When your grandkids come over and see a tidy kitchen full of fresh whole foods, they just might want to join you for a healthy cooking session!
Marie Kondo’s 6 Tips for Cleaning
Here are six Marie Kondo-inspired tips for giving your home a quality spring clean.
1. Know the Difference Between Tidying & Cleaning
According to Marie, tidying and cleaning are two completely different things…
"Tidying is the act of confronting yourself–cleaning is the act of confronting dirt.”
Marie expands on this point by explaining that tidying is “dealing with all the ‘things’ in your life.” This means asking yourself important questions about the objects in your home, and considering how and whether they fit into your life. Tidying is a major component of creating a home atmosphere that enhances your daily routine. Cleaning, on the other hand, is ensuring that your home is, quite literally, clean: free of dirt, dust, and germs.
2. Create a Space That Sparks Joy
When Marie teaches clients her famous KonMari cleaning method, she encourages them to streamline their possessions by taking each object in their hands and asking themselves if it sparks joy. If something in your home doesn’t spark joy, it’s time for it to go. This is a great way to make sure your home reflects the most fulfilled version of yourself.
And it’s good for the environment! A 2021 study indicated that the KonMari method could help reduce overconsumption and throwaway culture. Participants reported feeling more reflective about making new purchases, so you may also end up with a much more curated collection of clothes and decor that better reflects who you truly are (11).
3. Don’t Forget to Clean the Fridge
Spring cleaning includes the fridge and pantry, too!
Do a sweep of harmful vegetable oils that could increase your risk of chronic disease (12). Here are the oils you’ll want to toss: soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil, peanut oil, and rice bran oil. You can replace these with healthy oils like olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil.
Do a second sweep for any refined sugar products you no longer want, as they can increase your risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and other health issues (13). Repeat this process for any other ingredients you’re aiming to avoid (think: gluten, dairy, and processed foods), and replenish your kitchen with healthy, whole foods that you’re excited to eat.
4. Clean Your Air Filters
Air filters can help manage or prevent allergy-related respiratory issues (14). That includes problems caused by dust, pollen, dirt, mold, animal fur, certain bacteria, and more. But it’s important to remember to clean them! Refresh your air filters as part of your spring cleaning routine for clean, healthy air.
5. Keep Your Plants Happy
Houseplants can help purify your air, and they can play an amazing role in boosting your overall health (15). They can also help lower your blood pressure, make your home feel more comfortable, and even help you focus (16). Take some time to reassess whether your plants are well-placed for their sunlight needs, well-watered, and content.
6. Remember That No Home Is Perfect
Even Marie admits she doesn’t have a perfect home! In January, the Washington Post reported that she has prioritized her family over tidying since the birth of her third child. “My home is messy, but the way I am spending my time is the right way for me at this time at this stage of my life,” she told the Post.
We all have phases of our lives where tidying may need to take a backseat. If the grandkids roll through the house like tornadoes, or your book club spills wine on the carpet, just remember that those messes are a mark of the people who love spending time with you. Life ebbs and flows, and there will be a phase when you will have time to tidy again!
The Bottom Line
Spring cleaning comes with heaps of health benefits, including better focus, better sleep, less anxiety, and healthier habits. Try this Marie Kondo checklist to tidy your home in a way that makes it feel calm, inviting, and organized. And remember: nobody’s perfect—and the act of cleaning and tidying will be an ever-evolving process throughout your life.
Do you feel inspired to clean? If so, we want to see your progress! Post your spring cleaning before and after pictures in our Private Facebook Community. Each person who does this will be entered into a drawing to win a FREE jar of collagen.
As a writer, editor, and wellness seeker, Claire has written for Self, Health, Prevention, CNN, Mic, Livestrong, and Greatist, just to name a few. When she's not writing, she specializes in traveling, getting lost in health-related research rabbit holes, and finding new ways to spoil her cat.
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.