You probably know her best as @NotTheWorstCleaner, the TikToker who has gone viral for her extremely unedited videos. Brogan—the mother of three behind the account—is giving a honest glimpse into the relationship between mental health and cleanliness. “I do this work because I believe that everyone deserves a clean home, especially people who are struggling. I don’t believe in judgment, I believe in lending a helping hand always,” said Brogan told Frenshe. “The world can be such a dark place, I’m just trying to be a light at the end of the tunnel for those who need it.”
How did you get into your line of work?
I started posting videos about cleaning hacks and tips for people who experience poor mental health or struggle with ADHD and it took off from there. I eventually built up such a following that I decided I wanted to help people who were struggling and started with fundraising money to pay for cleaners to go in and clean these houses, I quickly realized that the majority of these cleaners refused the jobs due to the size and toxicity so I took it upon myself to start helping in my community.
What is the correlation between cleaning and mental health?
There is a huge correlation between mental health and cleaning. I could go on forever about it but in a nutshell – When you’re not in a good headspace, it’s difficult to take care of ourselves let alone our surroundings. Unfortunately whether we like it or not our brains pick up all of our surrounding stimuli- so if A place is messy or cluttered our brains will register that and can cause a low-grade flight or fight mode which directly draws from our resources to survival. This can make even the simplest of tasks seem extremely overwhelming and can cause a brain fog making it difficult to focus.
On top of that, Most people already hold a preconceived notion that their space is supposed to be clean all the time, it’s not a tangible thing and just sets us up for disappointment.
So people who are experiencing poor mental health normally gets struck in this cycle of anxiety which leads to procrastination which then leads to avoidance where we typically do whatever else we can to avoid the actual cleaning whether it’s watching tons of TV or scrolling through our phones for hours, it’s easier to find things that don’t require motivation. When this happens it’s very easy for the mess to build up quickly to a point where it’s extremely overwhelming and most don’t know how or where to start tackling it.
What is a misconception about tidiness that you’d like to deconstruct?
Laziness doesn’t exist. I’m always getting comments on my videos that these people are just lazy and are actively choosing to live the way they do and it’s some thing that I would love to eliminate. No one actively chooses to live in an unliveable environment. I can almost guarantee you they are struggling with physical and or mental health in every situation.
Can you explain your philosophy of cleaning for free?
There are a lot of reasons why I clean for free, number one being the extremely high price point on cleans of this type. The free cleanings I do are not your typical cleanings, it’s not basic upkeep it’s a hoarder toxic situations. The price point of this can run up to $20,000 depending on the size and state of a home so it’s definitely something that most people cannot come close to affording.
This always comes with the question of why don’t I charge smaller amounts or whatever they can afford and this is mainly because I don’t want this to be a business transaction. I want my clients to feel comfortable contacting me multiple times if necessary, I want them to see this as a helping human hand. It helps them feel more comfortable letting me into their homes and knowing that I am doing this judgement free. I never want them to worry about their financial situation if they need help.
How has your work transformed you?
It has been eye opening, knowing how many people struggle in silence out of fear of judgement. It’s incredibly heart breaking to see how people are living and knowing they think there’s no way out. Being able to give them a fresh start and watching tears fall for their eyes is the most heart warming fulfilling thing. But what has changed me the most is having my kids watching me, watching their little brains run a mile a minute while they ask me a million questions about my cleanings. Knowing my oldest son can’t wait to help me one day, while my middle son is always collecting his toys to give to the kids of the homes I clean. It’s a life changing thing being able to really help people and I’m so blessed that I’m able to do it.