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How Does a Lack of Cleanliness Affect Your Health?

Does being clean and organized affect your health?

Why do we like being clean and organized?

While some of us are messier than others, we all like a clean home. Although some us tend to be more diligent when it comes to maintaining cleanliness, even those of us who clean and organize less often enjoy a clean and organized space. Why is that though? What is it about cleanliness that that people like? Why do look positively upon clean spaces and poorly upon cluttered messes? Sure, it’s ‘good’ to be clean, but why? Is it perhaps some sort of genetic predisposition in order to avoid illness? Well, we’re not exactly sure what drives (most of) us to clean and organize. However, what we do know is that there have been many studies done on the subject, and the conclusion in general is that cleanliness produces positive impacts on our health and wellbeing.

The Science

So what does the science say about keeping clean and organized? Essentially that it makes a huge difference and has major benefits for health.

A long term study out of Indiana university that looked at the variables impacting health related to residents of urban homes and communities found that cleanliness of the home had a strong correlation with level of physical activity. Starting in the year 2000, 998 individuals in the age ranges of 49-65 from St. Louis were tracked as part of the African American Health Longitudinal Study. The study found that cleanliness of the home is somehow linked to the drive for physical activity, and that the level of home cleanliness was the strongest predictor of cardiovascular health. Other variables looked at were furnishings, noise levels, air quality, and conditions of the home and nearby buildings.

A 2014 study from the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University found that being clean and organized makes you more ethical. Conversely, feeling disgusting is more likely to lead individuals to lie and cheat. Interestingly, this effect was observed whether the participant was exposed to something clean/gross or simply made to think about something clean/gross. Slightly more interesting, the negative effect of disgust was negated when the individual’s environment was cleaned up. The conclusion here is that cleanliness has a huge emotional impact on us, even influencing us to make good or bad decisions.

A 2011 study in The Journal of Neuroscience found that clutter competes for your attention. A cluttered workspace impacts your ability to focus and restricts the brain’s ability to process information. Worse yet, this competition for your focus can tire you out mentally, as you attempt to focus on your task while simultaneously being distracted by the clutter. Research indicated that an organized environment led to increased productivity and information processing, with a decrease in distraction and irritability (that mental tiredness). So that giant stack of papers on your office desk? Toss them out and get some real work done.

Clutter also leads to poor sleep, which in turn leads to higher stress and potentially depression. A St. Lawrence University study found that individuals at high risk of hoarder syndrome had poor restfulness due to the messiness of their bedrooms. Related to the point above, the clutter can build up and affect not only your mood, but also physical wellbeing. It’s not that this only affects hoarders, but hoarders tend to (obviously) have more clutter, and as such the impact of clutter is greatest. So want to make sure you’re getting quality sleep? Tidy up your bedroom and get rid of anything you don’t need that’s laying around.

Clean up and de-clutter for better health

We may not know exactly what drives us to prefer cleanliness, but looking at the science it’s clear that cleanliness and order can (and do) greatly affect our wellbeing. Our physical, mental, and even emotional health is all impacted.

So what can you do to reap the health benefits of being clean and organized? Well, easiest way is to have us lend a hand. Hope on over to our booking page and schedule a Calgary cleaning service. We’ll make your home sparkle and you can enjoy the mental boost. There’s also a lot of little things you can do yourself. Blue Spruce Maids also have great tips in their blog for quick cleans.

We will also be posting more articles on easy ways to declutter and stay clean, so check back soon. You can also subscribe to our mailing list to make sure you don’t miss any updates.

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