Tidy your space: 5 minute mood boost

It’s comforting to have a friend that you can depend on when you’re going through a rough time. Someone who certainly filled this role for me back in the UK was Jane.

I think it helped that she’d had her own struggles, so there was a kind of fellow feeling. It meant we could each other, too.

For me perhaps, her most appreciated action was her ability to know, if she came to see me during one of my ‘spells’ that the stack of dirty dishes in the kitchen (a) wasn’t my usual style, and (b) was probably getting me down.

Without asking, or waiting to be asked, Jane’s tendency was to roll up her sleeves and get the kitchen looking ship-shape once again. A job like this could easily take you all day when you’re feeling lousy. Someone who’s not suffering, though, could probably dust it off in ten minutes.


Here’s the thing that strikes me though. Just as clutter can be a sign of someone’s low mood, it can also work the other way round. Perhaps you’ve found, as I have, that living in an untidy space can actually contribute to you feeling down in the first place?

Here’s my suggestion for today, then. Why not set aside a modest amount of time (even five minutes can work) to tidy up one part of your environment?

It could that pile of clothes or papers in the bedroom. It might be a desktop, or a coffee table in the living room.

It may even be the junk drawer in the kitchen. Come on, we all have one of those, don’t we?

Note: you’re not setting out to tidy your whole house – simply to get one small part of it looking manageable again.

A tidy space can mean a clear mind.

8 thoughts on “Tidy your space: 5 minute mood boost

  1. Oh Yes! I agree. I create a list of 10/15 minute cleaning/tidying/throwing out jobs, set the timer and do them or rather one) as fast as I can. This helps dislodge the ghastly stuck record, miserable thinking as I focus on another activity.

    The occasions when one turns into two or three jobs done and dusted (literally) is usual. So yesterday I set out to do one load of washing but in fact did two and was able to dry them out in the sunshine, and have fresh air smelling sheets. Happiness!

    Then I cleared out the vegetable drawer in my fridge, ordering everything into plastic containers… Then wrapped a load of stuff for the freezer..and that meant reordering that.

    I don’t know why creating order and cleaning (even when I don’t much feel like it) seems to have such a disproportionate uplift on my mood, but it does.

    Maybe it reminds me of that wise adage : “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time”.

    The overhwelming becomes more manageable as we make a start on simplifying one corner of our lives. Even a sense of mastery in one small area can support mastery in another.

    And now we all become Stepford Wives (or husbands!)

  2. Junk drawer? A junk drawer in the kitchen?! How very dare you!
    It’s called a Man Drawer!

    Fionna got it so right, sometimes tackling a small job makes you feel so darn good, you end up doing far more and it is uplifting and you feel so proud afterwards!
    Neil- get it all in alphabetical order, then do a letter or group of letters (a-g) first…it’ll feel a lot less tiresome!

    I’ve been up since stupid o’clock and persuaded myself to dust and polish the dining room and a Welsh dresser…then was going great guns and did the sitting room – and all before eight o’clock this morning…resting now!
    Happy day x

  3. I am a fully paid up member of the ‘I must keep that, it may be useful’ Society. And once in a million times I am right. Pretty appalling odds, right?!
    However, it causes me no stress or lowness of mood, but the daily reaction from my family does!

  4. Ah yes, Jon, you never know when that stuff will be useful. There’s a probably apocryphal story in our family that my grandmother had a tin in her shed labelled ‘Pieces of string too short to use.’ I do get where she was coming from though.

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