The Scientific Reason Why Cleaning and Organizing Is Good for You

Organizing your space doesn't just feel good—it does your body good, too. Here's the reason cleaning is good for your health.

It’s hard to describe the immense peace that I feel after a simple organization project like cleaning out the pantry. As author and happiness expert Gretchen Rubin says, “outer order contributes to inner calm.” We all know that feeling of finally accomplishing a cleaning task that you’ve been putting off for weeks (or months, we don’t judge).

It turns out that organizing your space doesn’t just feel good but may actually be good for your physical and emotional health, too. Whether you’re looking to freshen up your kitchen with a few tweaks or plan on going full-on Home Edit with labeled clear bins everywhere, it’s worth spending the time to organize this weekend.

What the Experts Say

Research shows that physical clutter creates several stimuli for your brain, making it hard to focus on the task at hand. Because of this, cleaning and organizing have been linked to decreased feelings of anxiety. Seeing clutter around you can be draining. Every unfiled piece of paper and item of clothing on the floor is a tiny taskmaster reminding you of everything you still need to accomplish. Taking time to clean and organize your space can give you some much-needed mental peace. Working in a clean space can help you to focus and be more efficient.

Organizing can also give you a sense of control. Studies show that the more sense of control you have at work, the more satisfied and less stressed you feel in your job. If you’re currently working from home, this could look like setting up a designated office space or hanging a do not disturb sign on your bedroom door.

Are There Health Benefits?

Organizing your home and schedule can lead to healthier choices. Research shows that planning out your schedule ahead of time and scheduling workouts helps with sticking to a regular exercise routine. Having an organized plan helps you to see your progress and small wins, which acts as a motivator to keep going.

A 2013 study found that physical order is strongly linked with healthier choices. When study participants were placed in either a messy or clean room, the ones in the clean room chose healthier snacks and were even more generous than the participants in the messy room.

If you’re not sure where to start, try organizing your fridge. It’s a job that can be accomplished in less than an hour and will give you a major win under your belt. It may even motivate you to tackle the rest of the kitchen. Clutter beware!

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Carrie Madormo, RN
Now a freelance health and food writer, Carrie worked as a nurse for over a decade. When she isn't hunched over her laptop with a baby in hand, you will find her cooking her grandmother’s recipes, lacing up her running shoes or sipping coffee in the bathroom to hide from her three young children.