Can Cleaning Make You Happier and More Successful?


Remember when your grandparents fixed everything at home, reused and upcycled, simply because goods were not that readily available to them? Our forebears had to make everything themselves and keep it, because it was crucial for their survival. We might be genetically programmed to do the same. Over the last 30 years ,the size of the average American home has grown 53%. To top that, 25% of homeowners with two-garage car units use both units as storage spaces instead of car parks, and keep their cars in the driveway.

Storing all of this stuff and maintaining it costs us more time, effort, and money, which could often be useful somewhere else. But even if you think you can succeed with your two garage stalls filled to the brim (and I’m sure you can), there is something else you should keep in mind. Author Lana Jane Fox, founder of blog site I Hate argues that powerful emotions are lurking amid items we keep. The longer we keep them, the stronger these emotions ad attachment may become. As we keep physical clutter in our homes, our thoughts, lives and minds often become more disorganized and cluttered too. It can absolutely be okay to hold onto a few specific items because they provoke positive emotions and/or pleasant memories and contribute to our overall sense of well being. However, the second things start to stress you out or trigger other negative emotions, it’s time for them to go!

Clutter and Health

Clutter can severely affect our health in many ways. Not only does it put pressure on the individual by taking up space and complicating our environment, but being a pack rat (or hoarder) is also related to weight gain, fatigue, and is a strong general sign of an unhealthy emotional inner life. Clutter can also be closely related to depression. Hanging onto countless tokens from previous relationships or painful memories? Being constantly reminded of darker times might just drag you backward. Letting go is crucial. According to Karen Kingston, author of Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, “Clutter is stuck energy. The word “clutter” derives from the Middle English word “clotter,” which means to coagulate – and that’s about as stuck as you can get.” As an added bonus, clearing clutter helps your physical wellness because it requires energy to be used and calories to be burned. Plus, no one wants to work out in a cluttered, stuffy room, right?

Clutter and Time

Clutter is also responsible for a huge waste of our most precious and limited resource: time. Did you know that on average, a person spends 15 minutes a day just looking for lost/misplaced items? Really unfortunate individuals spend up to an hour a day looking for some of those nine most commonly misplaced items, which include:

  • smartphone
  • house keys
  • car keys
  • paper work
  • sunglasses/spectacles
  • purse/wallet
  • lip balm
  • hair brushes

The list goes on, but the picture rings true. We lose precious time and sometimes money just by not being organized. Did you know that 25% of Americans admit to paying bills late with penalties, because they simply misplaced their statements or were unorganized, missing important deadlines? In addition, fifteen minutes a day equates to over 5,520 hours or 230 days over the course of a person’s lifetime. To top that, clutter is sometimes responsible for tension among families and couples. Remember how many times your mother yelled at you for being untidy, or how many times you’ve yelled to your children? Or maybe, recently you had a nervous break-down when your hubby didn’t put his socks in the laundry basket for the 293,902,394th time? This wouldn’t be a problem if we knew how to stay on top of clutter. Clean spouses (especially males) who help keep the home in order are perceived as sexier, enjoy stronger love life, and get along with their partners better. And we all know that a happy marriage is the key to both success and personal happiness.

Bottom Line

Clean = Good! Clutter = Bad!

Clutter and dirt can ruin first impressions and hinder your potential to succeed. Removing clutter can not only feel purifying, but empowering too. Emotionally washing away dirt is often equivalent to wiping past transgressions away. You know the symbolic phrase about “washing your hands of something”? Well, cleaning your environment absolutely has a similar effect on your thinking.

And remember: ”There is more joy to be found in owning less than can ever be found in organizing more.” -Joshua Becker

*Image courtesy Flickr Creative Commons.


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