The May 2008 Banksy “Cave Painting Mural” was located in the Leake Street tunnel in London, England. Banksy created it for the Cans Festival, a street party of stencil art. The artwork shows a man cleaning a wall that has prehistoric cave drawings, like those found in the caves at Lascaux in France, says the Banksy Explained website. The artwork lasted 4 months – it was covered by graffiti in August 2008.
Declutter your space, declutter your mind, say cleaning experts. Psycom says ‘unmade beds, a sink full of dirty dishes, even cluttered and disorganised countertops and cabinets … can signal mental distress.’ Others say that a ‘too’ clean space shows that a person is boring or has other mental conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, doing household chores, says Psycom, can serve as a productive distraction to take your mind off worries and concerns.
Research documented in the Personality Social Psychology Bulletin in January 2010 by the Department of Psychology at the University of Southern California showed that clutter has a profound effect on mood and self-esteem. Sixty families were asked questions in relation to mood and their homes. Women who thought their homes were disorganised and messy also felt more depressed during the day and more tired at night compared with women in the study who described their home as restful.
A 2011 Princeton University Neuroscience Institute found that people living in cluttered spaces have poorer concentration than people living in organised spaces. This was due to the brain having difficulty focusing and processing information because it was overloaded by other stimuli, such as too many objects around the house. The researchers said that multiple stimuli in the visual field at the same time had to compete for neural representation, which confused the brain. The brain could not process the important stuff from the unimportant stuff, causing it to blank out and not focus on anything, or worse, focus randomly on everything briefly and without comprehension.
Cleaning doesn’t have to be overwhelming, taking hours each day. The Yummy Mummy Club Menu website suggests the following:
- Break up cleaning jobs into very small tasks
- Set a timer to clean for a specific period of time – or set it each time for each task
- Play music while doing the cleaning and dance or move to it – and, as an added bonus, it burns more calories
- Set certain cleaning jobs for specific days of the week
- Multi-task by learning a language while cleaning, talking on the phone, watching a program, etc.
- Make cleaning a daily habit instead of a weekly chore
- Reward yourself – with time to read, a bath, pedicure, time in the garden etc.
The act of cleaning is exercise. Psycom cites a woman who reduced her feelings of depression and anxiety by cleaning: “Move a muscle, change a thought,” she said.
Boredom and tedium by doing repetitive, never-ending tasks can result in depression and lack of motivation. Insurmountable chores can lead to paralysis – if chores seem too large, people tend to do nothing, or leave it for another day. Break down the work into components, and make it as fun as you can.
Cleaning does not necessarily address core issues.
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“When all else fails, cleaning house is the perfect antidote to most of life’s ills.” – Sue Grafton
“Spring cleaning isn’t just about sorting through things, and getting rid of clutter. It’s about taking stock of who you are, and how others see you. It’s a chance to redefine yourself, to change expectations, and to remember that it’s never too late to recapture who you were, or to aim for where you want to be.” – Unknown
“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.” – Kurt Vonnegut
“It is true that clutter cleaning helps us to release mental energy that makes us feel better. But decluttering also has a positive impact on the quality of the space.” – Michelle Passoff, Lighten Up!: Free Yourself from Clutter