We’ve all heard it before: a messy house equals a messy mind. For me, it was repeated from my parents as they offered a long list of reasons to keep my room clean. Then I remember relaying the same info in college to my roommates when we fought over the need to establish a chore wheel. You may have not thought much about it before, but the truth is that your environment reflects and affects your well being. So if a messy house means a messy mind, than a clean house could mean a clean one.
A messy house is not always intentional. As you look around your space and its varying levels of tidiness, you may start to ask yourself why and how you allowed it to get so messy in the first place. Most people do not want to live in a cluttered environment, but still they push aside their feelings and let the dishes pile up in the sink. There are various reasons for this. According to Aggie MacKenzie, a British expert on housekeeping and commentator in the blog “The Connection between a Clean Home and High Self-Esteem,” a home embodies a person’s psychological mindset. For some, letting things clutter around them could be a result of childhood deprivation, or even caused by a tragic event later in life like getting fired or losing a loved one. Internal struggles are often projected onto our surroundings. For MacKenzie, “no one is immune.” Meaning no matter your financial or social status, everyone is prone to letting their houses become a mess. For better or worse, dirty homes don’t discriminate.
So by now you could be gaining more perspective on the issue. But what if you haven’t faced any major tragedies or you remember your childhood home being cleaner than a hospital room? Any number of reasons could be used to excuse the mess in your home. For some, it could be that they feel too busy to clean. Perhaps work and other activities come first on their list of priorities, so cleaning has been put on the back burner. Luckily, just because you do not have time to clean your house does not mean that it will have to stay in that state. There are many options, including hiring professional cleaners to help you maintain a clean environment however often you need it. What you may not realize is that a messy space may hinder your ability to stay busy and productive. When you get ready to start your day and you are unable to see the carpet underneath piles of dirty clothes, you may not feel so up to checking everything off of your to-do list. A clean space will allow you to be more productive because you will feel more comfortable. The thoughts of “I need to wash those” or “I need to vacuum now” will not be constantly running through your mind, so you will be able to focus on other things.
Just as your mind has tricked you into thinking that it is okay to live in an environment below your normal cleaning standards, it may even justify reasons for keeping the clutter out in the open. Lesya Li explains this phenomenon in her article “Here’s Why Messy House Equals Messy Mind.” Li keeps the clutter because “I think that all the things from the past somehow bring me something sentimental and meaningful,” and describes her clutter as “What Ifs and One Days.” Basically, we keep things around because if we put them away then either we think that we’ll lose them, or we will never use them in the future. The truth is that most of the clutter stays exactly where it is. I understand this firsthand. No matter the size or condition, I always find myself collecting materials I could use for art projects and storing them in my home. For example, I kept boxes of empty mason jars in my living room in order to remind myself to use them. The reality was that I never touched them. Yes, keeping the boxes out in the open helped to remind me that they were there but knowing that I had all of these materials just became a burden and I ended up feeling bad for letting them sit for so long.
Now it could be clicking: a clean house reflects a clean mind. Okay, I feel like I have a pretty clean mind but still, I let my house be dirty. Why? If you have yet to relate to the reasons listed above, there may be one other thing to consider. Subconsciously, you may believe that you do not deserve better. One of the top motivators for me to clean my house is when I have someone staying with me. I want to impress them along with creating a space where they feel comfortable. So why don’t we want the same for ourselves all of the time? Our level of cleanliness directly reflects how we value ourselves. Even if it is not apparent, maybe we think that we do not deserve an immaculately clean place. Maybe we have made excuses to keep the mess around us, but you could really be keeping the mess around you because that is the state in which you are the most comfortable, that is how you are feeling about yourself at the moment. The truth is that we all deserve better. The first step to boosting your self-esteem is creating an environment that reflects how we want to feel inside. It is similar to the concept “we are what we eat.” The foods we eat have a direct effect on how we feel and the same goes for a clean space. So consider yourself a guest of your environment, don’t wait to impress other visitors, but strive to impress yourself. Chances are that you will notice a beneficial shift in your mood. This could be a new concept, so don’t hesitate to seek out professional cleaners that can help you achieve these goals and even give you tips on how to get started.