Decluttering isn't just good for your home, but for your health as well

For many of us, this time of year triggers the urge to begin spring cleaning. According to Cleveland Clinic psychologist Scott Bea, spring cleaning isn't just good for your home - it can actually lift your mood too.

"We're shut in a lot during the winter months, we're not getting rid of as much, we're accumulating more, not taking care of as much. And so this is a ritualized behavior, it's part of the renewal of spring. I think it's correlated with the lifting of our moods, we get more active behaviorally, and this is one of the activities," he says. 

Dr. Bea says the brain likes when we complete a task; it makes us feel good and reduces tension. However, when we procrastinate about spring cleaning, it can cause stress.

And if we make a habit out of procrastinating, Dr. Bea says it can escalate to what experts call problematic avoidance.

Problematic avoidance happens when people have so much anxiety about certain responsibilities, that they repeatedly avoid or back-out of them. To avoid becoming a procrastinator, Dr. Bea says you have to accept some discomfort and find a way to get started on a project and just plow through it.

Starting, of course, is the hardest part, but Dr. Bea said once we can get past the starting point it becomes easier to get the task done. He adds that a job well done, whether spring cleaning or otherwise, is satisfying. 

"I think there's a tension reduction that comes with that, when we have clear space. When there are fewer things to be taken care of. And it also endorses our effectiveness as human beings."

For those who are dreading spring cleaning, doctor bea recommends breaking up the work into smaller tasks and reminding yourself that you don't have to accomplish the whole house all at once.