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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Mess Stress and How to Beat It

Who’s gonna clean that up? If mess stress is driving you crazier, you’re not alone. Conquer clutter with these surprising tips.

Image: Rodnae Productions

After spending eons of time at home over the past year or so, have we finally cracked the code to loving cleaning and obliterating mess stress once and for all? Not quite.

A 2021 survey by the American Cleaning Institute found that 55% of people have been cleaning and organizing more than usual, but we’re not dancing around with brooms and mops like Disney cartoons, either.

Of those who said their messy home stresses them out, most were women (59%). The fellas aren’t quite as concerned about untidiness, with only 40% of “yes” respondents being male.

So, how many people are actually getting proactive and scrubbing their stress away? And what types of messes cause all that anxiety in the first place? surveyed over 1,500 Americans ages 18 to 65-plus to find out and what they had to say, and the results might surprise you.

Who’s Gonna Clean That Up? 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Mess Stress

  1. Over half of people are stressed out by messy homes.
  2. 69% of Americans say they don’t clean to relieve stress.
  3. 28% said clutter is the most stressful household mess.
  4. Over a quarter find cleaning the bathroom the most annoying chore.
  5. 1,500 Americans were asked if they clean to relieve stress. Only 31% of people said they do. The 69% majority said they don’t clean to deal with stress.

Clutter can increase irritability, add tension, and affect the ability to focus. A study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that women who described their homes as cluttered had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Cleaning the kitchen is at the very bottom of the list, with only 6% rating it as the most annoying chore. It seems most people don’t mind wiping the countertops, sweeping, or cleaning out the fridge.

But it’s no surprise that most people find scrubbing the toilet less than fun – it’s high on the list of chores we’d rather not do. Surprisingly, dusting was also a high contender, with 22% rating it as the most annoying chore. Stressful messes that respondents identified were a sink full of dishes (22%), a messy kitchen (18%), and a dirty bathroom (16%).


How to Beat Mess Stress

There is something you can do to decrease your mess stress – clean it up! Duh, right? But according to an article for the HuffPost, psychologists explain that cleaning actually feels good because it provides a sense of control over your environment. Repetitive tasks, like sweeping or washing dishes, self-soothe and clear the mind. Plus, there’s a feeling of accomplishment once it’s done. Many of us might be missing out on the mindful benefits of cleaning.


Marie Kondo’s popular KonMari Method of tidying has shown how valuable it can be to declutter. If you’re part of the 28% who find clutter the most stressful mess in your home, now could be time to ditch unnecessary belongings and restore order to your space. Think about beginning the new year with less “stuff”!

Who’s gonna clean that up? If mess stress is driving you crazier, you’re not alone. Conquer clutter with these surprising ideas.