Is Your Mess Causing You Stress?

Last week, I just couldn’t take it any more.  Between switching some rooms around in our apartment (making our former living room, our current bedroom, and our former bedroom our current office/guest room), having our nephew here with all of his belongings for 10 days and having our daughter move home for the summer, things were a MESS!  A happy mess, but a mess, nonetheless.

In order to get to my once beautiful and clean desk, I had to hop over boxes, and wade through the piles of books, papers, knick knacks and God knows what else.  And I found myself, crankier than normal, finding it hard to concentrate and everything seemed to take longer to do since I couldn’t find anything and I confess, that my ergo set up was ridiculous!

So, I went on a cleaning rampage and took a trip to IKEA and put everything away, put around some new pretty accents for my rooms and almost instantly, my mood improved and my stress levels immediately lowered and lowered drastically.

And that got me thinking about the connection between mess and stress and the impact it has on our mindset, productivity (or lack of), physical comfort and even self esteem.

You see, cluttered and messy environments, whether it be our homes or our offices, can make us feel anxious, overwhelmed and even helpless or significantly defeated.

Let’s take your work area.  If things are mess, cluttered and disorganized, it can impact your time, since it may take longer to get things done since you are searching for that folder, or trying to remember where you put the stapler.  It can impact your posture, since you may find your self cramped in the corner of your desk, or unable to sit with your knees under your desk due to boxes, packages and clutter.  You may find that you are distracted because you should be cleaning your desk.  You may feel embarrassed when co-workers come by.  And you certainly can feel overwhelmed and always behind the eight ball.

If this sounds familiar, here are some easy ways to regain control and clean up your act (literally).

  • Designate places for frequently used items and supplies so you can find things quickly, and always have a place to put things back to.
  • Get rid of things you don’t use or need any more.  Nothing is more daunting than piles.  Each week, tackle a new pile and if you haven’t used or needed it in the past year, chances are you simply don’t need it anymore.
  • Clean your desk drawers (and closets).  It is so easy to keep shoving things in places that aren’t openly visible.  But this only compounds the underlying need for an organized space.
  • Keep your computer desktop clean, organized and get a system down for filing your documents.  It makes a huge difference in your productivity.
  • At the end of your work day, clean your desktop and office area.  At home, put things away before you go to bed.  You’ll wake up and start your day with a whole different energy.

Last but not least, take some simple measure to make your working and living area as beautiful as you can.  And it doesn’t have to be fancy.  Favorite photos, a pretty orchid or nice wall hangings can make all of the difference in the world.

So, do you have a system in place to keep your living and work areas clutter free?  Or do you find this to be a challenge, and if so, what measure are you going to take to get out from under?  Please share in the comments so we can learn from each other!

Until the Next Time!





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