The Psychology of House Cleaning
Everyone wants the perfect life, the dream life. It’s the feeling of the picture-perfect house – clean and tidy and with lovely decor, the house where you can just relax and be yourself.
What if we told you that there might be a way to get closer to the perfect life?
You don’t have to work hard or wait for the stars to align in order to feel happy – all it takes is something as simple as cleaning your home!
Believe it or not, it turns out that the key to happiness may very well be under your feet right now.
Why Does a Clean Home Make Us Happy?
Cleaning makes us happy because we love having things that are ordered and tidy. According to the creator of the KonMari method, cleaning can be a cathartic experience for many people.
Everyone appreciates having a nice orderly house that they can come back to after a long day at work or school.
When we have the time to relax from our daily routines, we love being able to rest in an organized space where everything has its place.
Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist Carl Jung claimed in the early 20th century that a house is strongly symbolical—and psychologically significant.
Our homes are, in fact, far more than simply a shelter from the elements, according to Jung. As a result, how we construct this area is closely linked to our interior narrative and mental state of mind.
This idea has significant support in modern research, laying the groundwork for environmental psychology, or the examination of how the built environment affects our mood and behavior.
Surprisingly, everything from where you put your sofa to how much light enters your home may have an impact on your emotional and physical well-being whether you’re aware of it or not.
Size Up Your Surroundings and Fix What’s Broken
The first step to cleaning the house is to do a complete assessment of the home’s condition – it’s important to take everything into consideration when making a plan (the size and layout of the rooms, what needs fixing/changing/replacing).
Even something as simple as changing the position of the furniture can make all the difference in how you feel about your living space. When we move our furniture around, we force ourselves to see it from an alternate perspective; this causes us (and makes us consider) different ways the furniture can be arranged, giving the room a completely different feel even if the actual layout of the room itself has not changed.
Get Clutter Under Control, On Your Terms
Cleaning the house is the first step towards the perfect life, but the second step – the one that really gets the job done – is getting rid of all the clutter. Clutter accumulates over time, and it’s up to you to take the time out of your schedule to clean it out or continue to ignore it until the problem becomes too much.
The important thing about cleaning the house is not just throwing everything away; sorting through each item before you actually discard it can actually be therapeutic. Try asking yourself these questions when deciding if an item should stay or go:
- What purpose does this object serve? How often do I use this? Is there a better alternative? If not, why am I holding onto this item?
- Do the memories attached to this item make me happy or unhappy?
- Is the cost of storing the object outweighing the benefits it will
Decorate With Intention
Improving the look of the house is the most important part of the cleaning process. Anyone can throw everything away and replace it with brand new items, but the just-off-the-assembly-line feeling only lasts for so long before your home feels like any other random place you’ve lived in.
The true benefit of decluttering the house comes when you start decorating the living space. Even something as simple as painting over that old, dated wallpaper will have the same effect as the “fresh coat of paint” you see in the movies – it brightens the room, revamping the entire look and feel.
Arrange Furniture to Encourage Socializing and Bonding
Having the right furniture in the living room can encourage the entire family to spend time together. It’s hard to believe that the same space can be comfortable for everyone if you put the TV on one side of the room, the sofa on the other side… and the kids’ fort in another corner.
The secret to arranging furniture is thinking about how each arrangement encourages positive interactions with the people around you – whether that’s socializing between loved ones, or just encouraging your kids to sit down and read instead of playing video games all afternoon.
If the “right” furniture placement doesn’t come naturally to you (meaning, it feels awkward at first because it makes no sense), there’s a chance that’s not really what you want.
Light It Up or Down
Adjustable lighting is “essential” to a happy home life. Too much light, the whole house will feel like an oversized sunroom; too little, the rooms feel both dark and dreary.
Every room should be well lit – the brighter the better! Even if that means adding more lamps or overhead lighting fixtures to the space because the natural lighting isn’t quite enough to brighten the place up.
Too much darkness can make the home feel unwelcoming at best, and downright dangerous at worst. When you’re thinking about how to arrange your furniture, don’t forget about the lighting around you – there’s nothing worse than moving all the furniture but never considering how it affects the lighting in the room!
You can leave it as is or you can move things around multiple times. Think about the light and the shadows the objects in the room cast and ask yourself:
- How does the lighting affect my mood?
- How does the lighting affect the mood of the people around me?
- Is the lighting the way I want it to be?
- How does the lighting affect the objects in the room?
Be Generous with Carpeting
Hardwood floors might appeal to your minimalist aesthetic, but science favors plusher surfaces. In a small study, researchers in Japan measured brain waves of subjects and found that those who walked on carpet versus wood experienced more restful alpha waves, the type of brain activity that indicates a state of calmness.
Hardwood floors may be easier to maintain and look cleaner for longer, but the more plush the carpeting the better the atmosphere – the trick is finding the balance between too plush and too thin.
In bedrooms, you should go for thinner carpeting because it won’t get in the way of the bed frame or mattress; on the other hand, living rooms should have thick, lush carpets to provide a soft surface even while hosting guests..
Create the Great Indoors
Forest bathing—or the meditative practice of being surrounded by trees—is a proven health booster. It has the power to lower the heart rate, reduce the body’s production of stress hormones, and boost the immune system.
Bring the great indoors by adding greenery to your home – the more the better – and spend time enjoying the benefits of living among the trees. Be sure to place some lush plants on window sills or near other natural light sources (but not too close!) and away from heat and moisture sources since that can be dangerous for them.
You can also take advantage of the effect houseplants have on our moods by placing one in every room – no matter how big or small! A plant makes a room feel fresh and new, brings positive feelings into the space (because you know you’ll water it at the end of the day) and the more plants the better.
Conclusion: the psychology of house cleaning & the benefits of decluttering
So the next time you’re dreading cleaning the house, think about these simple ways you can brighten the space and the mood, and the benefits the psychological boost everyone will get from it.
Remember that when you feel happier cleaning your house, the people around you feel happier too – so cleaning becomes a win for the whole family!
Tags: psychology of house cleaning, decluttering happiness, cleanliness happiness, clean life happy life, living in a happy home
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