A tidy desk can beat stress, study reveals

A new poll of 2,000 UK adults has discovered that eight in ten people consider tidying and organising to be a real stress buster – whether it be filing away important documents, having a pristine desk at work or labelling files and other items.
As a nation, we spend an equivalent of almost eight days a year getting things in order at home and work – giving things a good sort through 27 times a month. Eight in ten UK adults admit they find mess stressful and 63% don’t feel on top of things unless their items are in the “right place.” But despite this, the research commissioned by Avery UK, also found 72% of Brits would describe themselves as messy.
Fiona Mills, marketing director for Avery UK said: “We wanted to discover how people feel about tidying, and the study has revealed a true love-hate relationship. People feel better for clearing away the clutter, but certain barriers prevent the UK population from cracking on with it. 64% of those polled said that having an organised life helps general health and well-being so we needed to find some simple solutions.
“This week is National Organising Week and the perfect time to think about ways to be more organised and make sure you stay on top of mess. As well as revealing which Avery products are best for organising and filing, we have teamed up with the Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers to share organising ideas, advice and inspiration throughout the week.”
Crossing things off to-do lists is the aspect of organising we find most therapeutic, although putting together a to-do list is also a major stress buster. Other things we do to restore calm include tidying our desk at work, sorting out finances, doing personal admin. and organising our storage. Writing things on your calendar, emptying the dishwasher and sorting through paperwork at work feature too.
The biggest barrier to being more organised is simply laziness according to those polled, although having too much work on and lack of time are factors too. Four out of ten said they simply don’t enjoy it. It appears that Brits feel shame when it comes to mess and prefer to keep it to themselves as the time we tidy most is when we are expecting visitors. However, lack of focus and feeling overwhelmed, as well as being quiet at work, can lead to a tidying spree as well.
The survey carried out by OnePoll also found 62% of us wish we were better organised, while 36% revealed they can’t cope when mess becomes ‘too much’ to deal with. In fact, on average we can cope with mess for nine days before it becomes overwhelming. When it comes to the workplace two thirds would like their surroundings to be tidier.
While around one third of those polled said they are more organised at work than at home, one fifth said they are more on top of things at home than at work.
Katherine Blackler, professional organiser, and President-Elect of the Association of Professional Declutterers & 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.”

  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
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