Organizing these areas could help calm your nerves.

By Katie Holdefehr
October 16, 2020
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For some people, home organization is a natural reaction to stress. Tidying up can help regain some feeling of control, and simple, repetitive actions like folding can be soothing. When used in moderation, it's a harmless coping mechanism with a big bonus: a neat and tidy home. But some home organization projects end up being more stress-inducing than calming. (Hint: that major closet overhaul.) To keep your tidying-up activities easy and productive, we've identified some tasks that are best to tackle when you're stressed, along with a couple to save for a calmer time.

Best Things to Stress-Organize:

When you're stressed, start by organizing a small area, like a drawer. It shouldn't take too long, so it's an easy way to feel a sense of accomplishment.

When stressed, avoid organizing anything too nostalgic or personal, so a kitchen utensil drawer where you probably don't have a close personal connection to the items is ideal. It should be relatively easy to group items and donate or toss any duplicate tools. 

Simple, repetitive actions, like folding bath towels, can be soothing, especially when incorporating mindfulness techniques. Arrange your bath towels and bedding in rainbow order for a satisfying visual effect. 

Don't let that fitted sheet stress you out! Here's how to fold it

It's a good idea to tidy up your bedside table for two reasons: 1. It's a small surface, so should be relatively easy to tackle. 2. Clearing the space around your bed may help you sleep better. 

Keep only the book you're reading and a glass of water—maybe a small bud vase or lamp. Most important: move your phone far away from your bed to prevent late-night scrolling. 

Our phones can be sources of stress, especially if they're our main sources of news or if we're spending too much time diving into negative social media comments. 

Try these tips to delete and organize apps. If you have an iPhone, consider setting time limits on apps via the Settings menu. 

This is a small area that shouldn't take you too long to declutter. Clearing out old receipts and spare change should only take a few minutes. Plus, it will make it easier to find what you need when you're out. 

Skip These When You're Stressed:

In general, things that are nostalgic or sentimental are much more difficult to organize, requiring more time and emotional labor to sort through. If you want a good cry, by all means, go for it. But if you'd prefer not to make the day any more difficult, take a rain check on going through old photos or journals. 

When you're feeling emotional, it's not the ideal headspace to make big decisions about your wardrobe. It may just leave you frustrated, making you feel like nothing looks good or fits well. If you can, save this task for a calmer time when you can make balanced decisions about what to keep and toss.