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Winter has ended and the weather is warming up. But after several months of living with windows closed, there’s a good chance that dust, allergens, and clutter have built up in your home. Unfortunately, the effects of living in an untidy house can impact the health and well-being of you and your family.

But your home need not be untidy. Clutter is avoidable. With the proper plan in place, and buy-in from your loved ones, you can avoid the unsightly mess, buildup of dust and dander, and psychological toll that comes from a cluttered home.

Living In An Untidy House: How Can The State Of Your Home Affect Your Health And Well-Being?

Our well-being is largely determined by the way we live at home. Keeping your house clean contributes to peace of mind and a feeling of ease. On the other hand, having an untidy home contributes to a variety of problems. These problems vary from mental health problems to physical issues such as polluted indoor air and allergens.

Some of the ways in which a cluttered living space and lack of cleanliness affect mental health include:

stressed parents | Unify HealthFeelings Of Anxiety And Low Mood

Clutter has been linked to mental health issues like anxiety. The problem may be that having too much stuff causes anxiety, which presents too many sights, sounds, smells, and sensations for your brain to handle. As a result, you may feel helpless and overwhelmed within your home environment.1 On the other hand, tidying up your home has been ranked as one of the top 15 things to do as a self-management strategy to beat feelings of low mood.2

Stress And Cortisol Levels

Clutter has an effect on our mood and self-esteem. It appears to raise stress hormones – in the form of elevated cortisol levels – particularly among women. As men do not seem to be as bothered by the mess, the clutter may create tension between husbands and wives.3 Procrastination has also been found to contribute to problems with clutter and may affect how people dispose of unneeded objects.4,5

Low Self-Esteem

People who live in a cluttered home or who have difficulty organizing tend to have low self esteem. In addition, living in a house with cluttered rooms can cause problems with hygiene and being efficient at work.6

Physical Effects Of A Dirty Home: Dust Mites, Pet Dander, And More Allergens

pet dander | Unify Health

In addition to mental health, the physical environment itself may be responsible for a host of problems. These include poor air quality, dust mites, pet dander, and dirty dishes.

Dust Mites And Pet Dander

During the winter, indoor heating systems and air that has become stale affect the buildup of dust mites, pet dander, and mold spores.7 Dust mite allergens have been shown to be present in the bedrooms of 84% of U.S. homes.8 Similarly, pet dander, particularly from dogs and cats, can become problematic. Allergens from pet dander may become airborne and trigger people with allergies or asthma. Even after removing the pet from the home, allergens may remain on furniture, carpets, and even house dust.9

effects of living in an untidy house | Unify HealthMold

Mold is another very pervasive allergen in homes. An estimated 47% of U.S. homes have dampness or mold problems.10 Furthermore, 21% of current U.S. asthma cases may be attributable to dampness, mold, and dust mites in homes.11

Dirty Dishes

The way that we organize our home environment reflects our state of mind. This is also true of dirty dishes. When you leave out dirty dishes, you increase the possibility of cockroaches and mice getting into your home.12

Learn To Declutter: How Can Proper Cleaning Help To Keep You And Your Family Happier And Healthier?

Proper cleaning and knowing when to get rid of unnecessary objects around the home can decrease stress levels and lower anxiety. This results in more harmonious family relationships. Keeping your house well ventilated and clean results in better indoor air quality. It also decreases the opportunity for mold to grow. Being on top of daily chores, such as vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, and washing dirty dishes results in fewer allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, and cockroaches.

Most importantly, keeping your home clean and tidy may also result in a good night’s sleep.13

Spring Cleaning: Have A Plan To Clean And Remove Clutter

washing dishes | Unify HealthOne of the challenges of making your home clean and tidy is creating a plan and finding the time to do it. Start by establishing a house cleaning routine for morning, afternoon, and evening. Choose one task to do each day: It could be to vacuum, dust, or declutter a small area. Then, set a timer. It does not have to be done perfectly.14

Assign household chores. Adults can clean clothes and wash dirty dishes. Children can declutter and organize their own room.15 This includes putting away any children’s toys that are lying around the house or in their room.

Come up with a plan to get rid of unnecessary items and clutter on a regular basis. Reach out to friends to see if they want old children’s toys. Contact a donation center to donate your extra clothes. Recycle or throw away whatever else cannot be donated. An ongoing decluttering plan will go a long way toward peace of mind in your home and in your head.16 If decluttering is too tough you can even hire a cleaning service to help you.17

tidy house | Unify HealthKeeping Your Home Clean And Tidy: The Time Commitment Is Worthwhile

Cleaning a messy home from clutter might appear insurmountable. But you don’t need to tackle the mess by yourself.

Getting help from your spouse and your kids is the most effective way to tidy the home, remove clutter, and achieve a healthy level of cleanliness. And, if need be, you can hire a service to help you.

The physical outcomes and improvements to both your health and your well-being make the house cleaning time commitment worthwhile.

Learn More:
Tips For Improving Work Life Balance: Manage Your Personal Life And Work-Related Stress
Healthy And Relaxing Bedtime Rituals: Help Support Deeper Sleep
Benefits Of Turmeric For Overall Health

Sources
1 https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/article/2173588/mental-dangers-cluttered-home-and-how-you-can-avoid
2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6201928/
3 https://www.houselogic.com/organize-maintain/cleaning-decluttering/clutter-depression/
4 https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/03/well/mind/clutter-stress-procrastination-psychology.html
5 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12144-017-9679-4
6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5541631/
7 https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/easy-ways-you-can-improve-indoor-air-quality
8 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK44199/
9 https://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/indoor/indoor-air-pollutants/pet-dander.html?fbclid=IwAR0bTQdDRP-ELGH8RIW5WXbdhwzQRzi6lAs89vOM0Zy7YrF3i0ejyXpv3mA
10 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1892134/
11 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17542835
12 https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/indoors/healthy_homes/clutter.htm
13 https://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2015-12-30/to-sleep-better-stay-cool-and-cut-clutter
14 https://simpleeverydayhome.com/where-to-begin-when-youre-overwhelmed-by-a-messy-house/
15 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5541631/
16 https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/home/spring-cleaning-how-about-spring-decluttering/2020/03/09/519d72ca-5cd1-11ea-b29b-9db42f7803a7_story.html
17 https://www.angieslist.com/articles/what-do-professional-organizers-charge.htm