On your desk: Painkillers, unpaid bills, and a brownish bamboo “luck” shoot. On the counter: overdue library books, tiny packets of ketchup, and gewgaws galore. On a very subconscious level, the stuff is blocking your light. Psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter, Ph.D., says, “In our minds, we view this clutter as unfinished business, a constant reminder that our work is not done, and in cases of chronic clutter, never done.” Suddenly, out of the depths, a bad mood surfaces—and not only for neatniks. Most people don't directly associate mess with stress,” says Bourg Carter.
This might help: "Designate spaces for frequently used items and supplies,” Bourg Carter says. But here’s the crucial part: “Make sure that these designated spaces are "closed" spaces, such as drawers and cabinets, if possible.” Of course, you can’t stash away all your to-dos the way you can trinkets—we all rely on visual reminders. But one goal might be to keep clean your flat working surfaces.
Next: Martha Beck's 10 questions to ask if you're over-stressed