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It's a Way to Stay in Control

Living in a clean space “gives us a sense of control over our environment which brings comfort,” says Deibler. Maria Ping, 35, a nursing student and mom to two in Chicago, even cleans her house before going on vacation. “I love going on vacation knowing that the house is perfect and when I come home on Monday everything will look the same.”

Beaton says cleaning can even help people “feel more control over their environment when they feel a lack of control in other areas of their lives.” There's no way to force our bosses to love the job we did on that presentation at work, but we can make our home a clean and inviting space that gives us happiness.

And there’s an evolutionary need for that control says Sally Augustin, Ph.D., an environmental psychologist and principal at Design with Science. “We’re the kind of animals that still like to keep track of what’s around us all the time,” says Augustin. Even though we’re not worried a saber tooth tiger will attack us from the dining room, “our sensory organs have evolved to always be taking stock of what’s around us,” says Augustin. So we gravitate toward uncluttered spaces that are easier to survey. And when we’re in them, we feel more relaxed.

(Credit: Mikkel Vang)

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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