As a college student, I am very familiar with procrastination. As finals week approaches, I find that after taking out my books and sitting down at my desk (ready to study), I notice something is terribly wrong: suddenly my environment looks like it needs cleaning and organizing. I then undergo an internal battle where part of me would want to overcome this urge to study, but the other side (that always wins) says, “I can’t work in this mess.” The next thing I know I’m cleaning the entire house.
Beware, this post isn’t meant to help you get over this irrational urge, but to exploit it and use it to your benefit.
Cleaning, the ultimate method of procrastination, oddly feels good. I should probably now tell you that I have OCD, Obsessive Cleaning Disorder or Obsessive Cinderella Disorder. Now I realize why Cinderella was in such a good and positive mood. She’s been cleaning all her life.
According to an Indiana University department study led by associate professor Nicole Keith, cleaning is good for mental and physical health.
The study found those with the cleanest homes were the healthiest and most active. The most surprising finding of the study was that cleaning not only can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease but can reduce the effect of the risk factors when they exist.
“At the end of the day, the interior condition of their house seemed to be the only thing affecting their physical activity… It was not at all what we expected. [Keith].
Both the act of cleaning and maintaining a clean house can help relieve and prevent unnecessary stress. One simple technique is to use cleaning time as meditation time. Since most chores do not require a lot of conscious thought, your mind has time to wander. However, this isn’t the only health perk of cleaning. Busting out that vacuum cleaner can also help you live healthier.
- Cleaning reduces symptoms of allergies, asthma, and respiratory problems can relieve their symptoms and breathe easier.
Keeping your house clean and organized lowers risk of injury by minimizing clutter and keeping things out of harm’s way. Leaving loose items around like toys may increase the risk of trips and falls. As a person with younger siblings, I would not wish for anyone the misfortune of stepping on a Lego.
- Cleaning wards off pests that disguise themselves in untidy, dusty areas. Simple chores like taking out the garbage, sweeping, and vacuuming keeps bugs and other pests from making your home their nesting ground.
Cleaning is a form of physical activity. Everything from sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, and hand washing the dishes can make you work up a sweat and burn calories. If you’re going for a Disney look, you can even do the cleaning while pretending to talk to mice and work up a “Happy Working Song“.
Cleaning encourages cooking. We all know clean kitchen is much more inviting than a messy one, so washing dishes, wiping down the countertops, and cleaning out the refrigerator could allow the kitchen to serve as a functional workspace again.
- Cleaning frees up space and keeps messes from becoming safety hazards. A clean house can make a difference in your life, because living in an unsanitary environment makes one more susceptible to illnesses caused by bacteria, allergens, and pests.
Now that you’re aware of the health benefits, hopefully you’ll feel better about