Spring Cleaning Is Good For Your Mental Health - Here's Why

What drives us to deep clean our closets and wash the walls as we head out of winter and into spring? If you've ever felt the primal urge to break out the bleach when the flowers bloom and spring-clean your home, you're in good company. After all, it's only natural to want to be fresh and thriving — like the world around us in springtime.

This feeling is so natural, in fact, that clinical psychologist Marni Amsellem told Vogue, "After a long winter, we are eager to shed layers and activate. It feels good to do this in our homes." Seeing that our bodies are in tune with the seasonal shifts of nature, it makes sense that we want our environments to be as well. Our compulsion to clean is spurred on by the relief it provides, sometimes serving as a coping mechanism for anxiety, stress, and winter blahs. Amsellem notes, "Cleaning and organizing can help us feel mastery over our immediate worlds," (via Vogue). But feeling in control is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how spring cleaning can benefit your mental health.

A ritual that helps you regain control

Purging, organizing, and cleaning can help you to feel in control, but it also nurtures a deep-seated instinct. It can be calming while also infusing you with energy. Just as the seasons can flip-flop from cold to warm and sunny to rainy, its mental health benefits can be just as varied.

Whether you're doing a closet cleanse or cleaning your makeup brushes, the end goal is still the same — to have a tidy and aesthetically pleasing home. During the spring season, we're more driven than we are during other seasons to go through the ritual of taking care of our house, or "nourishing your space," as Amsellem puts it (via Vogue). It's a long-practiced tradition that, when completed intentionally, helps us feel more put together, focused, and in charge of our surroundings.

Even though we feel instinctually driven to clean our house (much like expecting individuals do during the nesting phase), indulging this urge can help you feel that you're in command of your abode. The elevated sense of accomplishment you feel when organizing and cleaning can be effective in decreasing stress. Think about the last time you were overwhelmed; you might have mindlessly rearranged your desk or sorted and purged your drawers. Giving in to the drive to clean during the changing seasons can help you feel in control of your immediate environment, re-establishing your sense of balance and mastery.

Energizing but simultaneously calming

Another interesting benefit of spring cleaning is that it can be calming and energizing simultaneously. Mopping the floor or decluttering the garage can help you both tune in and tune out. Some individuals enter into a flow state that calms their nervous system. In contrast, others are mindful of their actions, purposefully refreshing their space with powerful intentions. When everything is done and dusted, the results can be equally relaxing and invigorating.

Your visual and tactile efforts allow you to feel productive, in charge, and ready to tackle other goals. After all, most of us thrive in clean, organized spaces. Amsellem says that when we walk into a chaotic, untidy room, "We can lose focus, get lost, and feel a sense of powerlessness" (via Vogue) — instead of the refreshing feeling you get when a room is functional and aesthetically pleasing. Getting rid of items you might have stored up during winter (when many people tend to nest in their homes), may help you feel a stronger sense of peace, confidence, and self-efficacy.

Finally, consider that spring cleaning can create a snowball effect of other good habits. It might be just the inspiration you need to make other lifestyle changes. Now that you've found your workout clothes, you might be tempted to hit the gym. Or maybe your newly put-together room gives major tranquility vibes, inviting you to catch up on your rest. Who knew decluttering and cleaning could help you spring into a better mindset?