How You Can Stay Stress Free by Decluttering Your Desk and Office

Are you someone who constantly finds themselves overwhelmed when you sit down to start your work day? Do you often find yourself struggling to find what you need last minute? Which just ends up leaving you feeling frantic, stressed, and extremely overwhelmed?

Taking the time to really discover how your desk can keep you stress free will not only help you improve your day to day workload, but also your health in the long term. Finding the balance between the holy office trinity; your workspace, workload, and health, is key to fast tracking your productivity, but also minimizing the overwhelming feeling you have when you sit down to prep for the day ahead. We did some digging and we found the perfect interior designer, color therapist, and organization author, Sherry Burton Ways, a specialist when it comes to organizing your workspace for the ultimate flow. She has spoken up about the things we all tend to lack in our work environments, so many small aspects of our environments can influence our train of thought and the quality of our work. Referring to marketing research that has shown 80% of what individuals tend to view in their experience at work, shows that people work more efficiently when they’re in an environment they’re inspired by. Going on to admit that most office design is very uninspired, bland, and plain, which can be easily mirrored in our own work when surrounded by that kind of space.

While we might not be able to remodel our office building, we can take the steps towards customizing your workspace no matter where it is, to fit preferences and key elements that will eliminate an abundance of stress.

We’ve put together a simple list for you to follow when taking the first steps to a cleaner and better workspace that is molded for you and your lifestyle.

The Positives of Change

  • Without the clutter surrounding you everyday when you start your workflow, not only will you experience less stress, but you’ll be more productive, you’ll have room to clear your thoughts and work away at one thing at a time.
  • Stress is a normal part of life, we all deal with it, it’s a fact, but when you have the option to reduce stress and avoid potential illness because of making a simple change, why wouldn’t you? Stress not only will disrupt your workflow, but it can also cause a variety of health issues such as: heart disease, asthma, obesity, diabetes, headaches, depression, anxiety, and more, according to the latest report from Webmd.

Before Moving Forward

  • Some people tend to have organization in their chaos and that’s just how their mind works in the most efficient way. If you’re a person who needs to be able to see everything on their desk at once: try making time after work to organize everything before leaving the office, that way you can start fresh in the morning!
  • Sometimes having a tidy workspace can actually make you forget your next task because it’s not laid out in front of you. So instead of letting your tidy space quell your memory, try creating a simple to do list at the start of your day so you can find a happy medium!

stress free organizing desk

Susan Kousek, who is a CPO, aka a Certified Professional Organizer (which is a real job), even states in a number of her studies linking stress to our environments, the importance of knowing that our productivity is so heavily impacted on our level of organization. Going on to point out that disorganization bothers most people, even if you don’t notice it right away, it can distract and pull our focus away from the tasks at hand much easier than you might think. Clutter and disorganization weighs down on individuals in a way that can be hard to pinpoint, but once you realize that this is most likely the factor behind why you feel so deflated and distracted, you’re in the position to make a change moving forward.

According to Harvard Business Review, a study was conducted in 2015 in collaboration with The American Psychological Association which revealed that over $500 billion dollars are taken from the U.S. economy because of workplace stress and related health issues developed because of that kind of cut throat attitude. So many workplaces focus on putting pressure on their employes, putting emotions aside, and focusing on getting the job done, while that might work from the perspective of the end result, all that ends up doing is making it so employees have to eventually rotate and be replaced because of such extreme conditions. The importance of eliminating stress in every area possible to make the work day enjoyable and controlled is the factor that will end the seemingly endless rotation of mindless workers coming in and out of the work environment because of stress related medical conditions.

To be able to thrive, we’ve mapped out the exact steps to take when you’re ready to start fresh and revitalize your workspace for a more stress free atmosphere.

Steps To Help You Get Started In Becoming Stress Free

  • The 60 Days Method: The idea that if you haven’t used something that’s cluttering your desk in the last 2 months, donate or take it home and away from your work area. If you don’t feel like you’ve been benefiting from the nicknacks around your desk, it’s time to sort through them and separate them into three different piles: keep, donate, trash! Same goes for out of date documents, office supplies, and your digital space on your work computer.
  • Keep Personal Items Home: Having a few items that relate to your personal life can be refreshing to have on your desk at times, but they can also be a distraction when you’re trying to focus. Studies have shown that personal mementos have been able to trigger our responses when it comes to interrupting work flows, making us worry about our kids, our spouse, or pets, in the end just adding more stress. A great solution is to either keep them at home, on your phone, or behind you if you have a file cabinet, keeping them away from the main work area will do wonders for your focus and stress levels.
  • Keep It Modern: Switching up your workspace altogether can be a great way to embrace a fresh start instead of just making a few minor changes over time. Trying out a standing desk will keep your blood flowing and your muscles strong, which will give you natural energy to get you through the day. Generally when using a standing desk instead of a traditional sitting desk, you have a smaller work surface so it stays organized and clean which is an added bonus to keep the stress away. Try out this compact Varidesk Pro model, it’s chic in design and will change the way you work.
  • A Touch Of Green: Adding a bit of nature to your daily routine in the office is a scientifically proven way to keep you focused, feeling calm, and maintaining a positive attitude when trying to keep up a productive order in your schedule. Don’t try to start a whole garden on your desk because that will also add to clutter and distractions, but add a bit of green with a small succulent or air plant, both of which don’t require much attention that would take away from your work day. You may want to check out our list of inspirational offices to help you be more successful.
  • Stop Eating At Your Desk: When you bring your lunch to your desk, it’s been proven to be the main cause of feeling sluggish after noon in the office, in turn making the remainder of your day much less productive than the start. Dr. Graham, a specialist on focus and mental ways to increase productivity and how that is reflected in our curated environments.

Final Words


Our final verdict stands strong when it comes to the importance of change in the workspace. Not only do we believe that decluttering and organization is the key to a mindful and healthy workspace that eliminates stress, but Harvard and countless other institutions stand with us. We’re human, mess is natural, but by taking the necessary time to make changes that will benefit us in the long run, is worth it no matter what way you look at it.

Recommended reading:

Sources and References:

  1. Proof That Positive Work Cultures Are More Productive – hbr.org
  2. 10 Fixable Stress Related Health Problems – webmd.com
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