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Somehow, it's already March, which means spring — and spring cleaning — is right around the corner. But Drew Barrymore is getting a head start. While the rest of the world was still trying to figure out where February went (seriously, though?!), the talk show host was jumpstarting her seasonal decluttering campaign. In a video Barrymore posted on Instagram earlier this week, she tells fans about her plans to "do spring cleaning," starting with the main closet.
In the hilariously relatable clip, Barrymore can be seen sitting cross-legged amongst a smattering of winter gear, shoes, and clothing, with her cats sniffing it all as she speaks to her audience. "It's March 1. I am a woman on the edge. I am going to Marie Kondo my life," shares Barrymore, of course referencing the organizational guru whose Netflix series inspired viewers everywhere to get rid of anything that no longer "sparks joy." (Related: Organize Your Activewear with These Storage Tips from Marie Kondo)
"I'm going to do 'spring cleaning' and hope that it gives me a sense of control because this is the only thing I can control and everything feels out of control," she says. "And control is bumper rails and hopefully leads to boundaries and safety — if I can get that out of cleaning the main closet, then how exciting is that?"
Jokes aside, Barrymore is actually onto something. See, tackling any size cleaning project — especially as we forge ahead to the second calendar year of the coronavirus pandemic — can actually help improve your mental health in a number of ways, says Navya Mysore, M.D., a family physician and medical director at One Medical in New York City. (Related: Organizing My Apartment Saved My Sanity During the Coronavirus Pandemic)
The mess and clutter around your home and workstation (which these days might be one and the same), "can increase your sense of stress and anxiety by leading you to feel more overwhelmed," says Dr. Mysore. Taking time to declutter and organize allows you to take control of your environment, which helps you to focus and increase your efficiency — an all-star feeling that will naturally help reduce your stress levels, she adds.
Aside from providing an instant mood booster (because who doesn't feel immediately more at ease in a tidy, neat space?), tackling cleaning projects of any size can do wonders for your mental health — and the ripple effects are far-reaching. "When you are cleaning, you are more physically active and increased movement can help uplift your mood in general," notes Dr. Mysore. "Taking time to clean your house can definitely be seen as a form of self-care. When your sheets are clean and your kitchen is well-organized, you feel more motivated to go to bed sooner to get a more restful night's sleep or to prepare healthy meals for yourself for the week." (BTW, here's how to deep clean your kitchen and the best natural cleaning products to use for an overall healthy home.)
If you've noticed you feel more stressed, distracted, and less productive when your space is cluttered, you're not alone, and studies validate this feeling. "When everything is everywhere, it's hard to know what your objectives are for the day and how to focus on the next thing ahead," explains Dr. Mysore. "Everything you need to accomplish that day can feel like it takes longer because you can't find things quickly or get distracted by the mess. Taking control of your environment and organizing helps remove these physical and psychological obstacles that can get in your way."
Still, taking the first step can oftentimes be the hardest part, even for the most Monica Geller-like of folks. Instead of going big by attempting to overhaul a closet or an entire room of your house, Dr. Mysore recommends starting small. "Start with the area where you spend the most time working," she says. "Sometimes it can be as simple as [organizing] your workstation."
Once you feel more confident tackling clutter, start incorporating management organization and/or cleaning tasks in your weekly schedule. Why? Because "cleaning can be a nice ritual that can have a meditative effect and can help reduce your stress level," explains Dr. Mysore. "Not everyone may find that this is the case, and if you don't, it's no big deal — it can still help with your self-care." Devoting time to habitual self-care is essential for your brain and body; not only does it help with stress relief but also helps you "[build] resilience against normal stressors that pop up during the week," she adds. (Related: How to Tweak Your Living Space for More Happiness)
"If you really dislike cleaning, try listening to your favorite podcast or playlist for a cleaning dance party as you go," suggests Dr. Mysore. "I'll sometimes put on a rerun of my favorite show to fold the laundry or while I'm cleaning out the fridge." And sometimes a little retail therapy might just be the ticket to tackling a mess. "If you are organizing your desk to be more efficient, maybe splurge a little on something that would motivate you to sit down and work, such as a coffee mug warmer plate or something green such as a little succulent plant."
"Happy spring cleaning," says Barrymore at the end of her video. "May it bring whatever you are looking for." Here's hoping to bring you a more organized life and mindset.