Tidying up - the ultimate stress buster?

Posted: 8th Nov 2017

Is tidying up the ultimate stress buster?

Millions of Brits have said they find the practice therapeutic, rather than a chore, a study conducted by Avery UK to mark National Organising Week, has found.

Four in five people have said they find mess stressful, while 63 per cent feel they're not on top of things unless their items are in the 'right place'.

As a result, the average adult will spend the equivalent of almost eight days a year - or over three-and-a-half hours a week - getting things in order at home and work.

However, despite this, the research revealed 72 per cent of Brits consider themselves to be messy.

The most therapeutic aspect of organising is crossing things off a to-do list, although the actual act of compiling a list also acts as a major stress buster. Things we do to restore our sense of calm include tidying our desk at work, sorting out finances, doing personal admin, and organising our storage. Even tasks such as writing on our calendars, emptying the dishwasher and sorting through our paperwork also prove to be major stress busters too.

The biggest barrier to being organised is actually laziness, many of those polled have said, although having too much work on and a lack of time both factor too. However, a lack of focus and feeling overwhelmed, along with a quiet day at work, often results in a tidying spree.

The survey, carried out by OnePoll, also found 62 per cent of us wish we were better organised, while 36 per cent can't cope with stress when it becomes 'too much' to deal with. In fact, we'll cope with mess for an average of nine days before it becomes overwhelming.

Interestingly, while one third of those polled saying they are more organised at work than at home, a fifth have said they are more on top of things at home as opposed to at work.

Katherine Blackler, professional organiser and President-Elect of the Association of Professional Declutters & Organisers, said: "When I first meet a client I often see signs of stress from mess or clutter. They usually contact me because they are completely overwhelmed and simply don’t know where to start. Having systems and procedures in place to prevent clutter from building up will save you a daily battle so I help to implement processes that work for my clients. Make sure everything has its place and things don’t start to pile up. If you're not a person who files as they go, give yourself a small tray or folder for collating documents into, but make sure you don't go beyond that defined volume before you knuckle down and file it away where it belongs. In an office, you and your colleagues could be wasting valuable time looking for documents or important items, so it really is worth investing the time upfront to create better ways of working together efficiently. If you feel things have got on top of you, there are professionals out there who can help you work through your backlog."

Commenting on the findings, Stephanie Davies, CEO at Laughology, said: "Stress can happen because of a number of factors in life and some of those are controllable and easy to fix; having a de-clutter and tidy up is one of them. Creating a working environment that works for you will increase productivity and how you engage with your work. This might mean you still have some of your quirky desk ornaments or papers around you, they're just organised differently."

The 30 most therapeutic tidying or organising tasks are:

1 Crossing stuff off a to-do list

2 Putting together a to-do list

3 Organising important personal documents

4 Vacuuming

5 Tidying my desk at work

6 Organising your storage

7 Making your bed

8 Washing the dishes

9 Cleaning the bathroom

10 Dusting/polishing my home

11 Mowing the lawn

12 Wiping kitchen worktops

13 Writing things on my calendar

14 Filing away documents at work

15 Ironing

16 Putting ironing away

17 Labelling files, folders or storage

18 Tidying my desk at home

19 Loading the washing machine

20 Organising CDs/vinyl alphabetically

21 Washing the car

22 Cleaning the inside of the car

23 Sorting through paperwork at work

24 Arranging wardrobe by colour, size and/or clothing type

25 Arranging pots and pans by shape and size

26 Organising books by genre and/or alphabetically

27 Creating a filing system

28 Organising DVDs/blu-rays alphabetically

29 Clearing the garage

30 Emptying the dishwasher