Mess makes stress – it’s not just because your mom or another housemate nags you about your messy desk; it’s science! Research shows that clutter can be a trigger for anxiety, depression, and other mental health non-starters. In fact, the mere presence of clutter—whether you consciously notice it or not—can amp stress levels by around 30%.
But how do you declutter your workspace—improving both your positivity and productivity—without adding even more stress to your busy headspace? Try these tips:
- Pare down to what you need, where you need it. You don’t have to become a minimalist – if you use a hairbrush to feel put-together, then keep it where it’s within reach when you need it and out of the way when you don’t. But how many stuffed toys do you really require? Figure out what you actually use and what just takes up space.
- Use containers to designate where everything belongs. A pen holder, for instance, saves you from having to hunt for a pen, while a handy trash bin makes it easy to throw non-working pens away, rather than putting them aside, only to frustrate you again later. A drink coaster reminds you to stay hydrated – and to clear away your cups!
- If your workspace is shared, try a tray system. In a work-from-home scenario, we don’t all have the luxury of an exclusive workspace. One solution to this is a big tray that you can keep organized as you like, then just lift and store out of the way when work’s over. A smaller ‘dump’ tray can hold items until you’re ready to sort them.
- End your workday with a little tidying-up. If you have a trash can and/or tray system in place, this can be a breeze! Just look over your workspace, toss what you’re done with—you can scan paperwork with your phone—and empty your rubbish bin. This lets you start your next workday with a clean workspace and a clear headspace.
These ideas help you build a habit of tidiness, preventing clutter from building up to extreme—and extremely stressful—levels, giving you a healthier, happier mindset.