Stressed Out? Experts Swear By These Organizational Tools
Keep calm and organize on.
Published May 23, 2019 7:00 AM
An organized space quite simply makes life easier. No more searching endlessly for your keys or stepping over laundry strewn across the floor—organized and clutter-free is the good life. “Having an organized space is crucial for peace of mind,” says Clea Shearer, cofounder of The Home Edit.
But beyond the handiness, a clean space has actually been linked to mental and even overall health through various studies. In one particular study, participants with cluttered homes expressed higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Could less stress be as easy as a useful catchall or a shoe organizer? “The human body itself is well regulated and well organized, which makes sense why we want to [imitate] this cleanliness and symmetry in our home and environment,” says Jamie Hord, cofounder of Horderly. “Neatness and order support our health.” Or maybe the stress of clutter is also in the shame. “I think that clutter causes anxiety because it’s a form of losing control,” says Lisa Tselebidis, a KonMari certified consultant. “And if something is out of control and you don’t know how to deal with it, people tend to avoid it, which usually just makes the problem (and the anxiety) even worse.”
We asked a handful of our favorite organizers what objects they swear by to keep their cortisol levels in check. Here are the six tips and items we’re adding to our carts ASAP, all in the name of stressing less.
Utilize a Never-Lose-Your-Keys-Again Catchall
Maybe you’re not particularly triggered by clutter in your home, but you might be the type of person who always seems to misplace her keys or wallet, leaving you to scramble finding them while rushing out the door. “Designate a tray or drop spot for items right by the door so you grab them as you head out,” says Joanna Teplin, cofounder of The Home Edit. “The more intuitive the system is, the quicker it will become a habit.” That means you won’t have to waste precious time digging around for anything, and instead you’ll have more time to do the things you enjoy—“a stress reliever in itself,” Shearer adds.
A chic and timeless catchall will not only give you a place for your necessary musts, but it will also bring you joy with its extraordinary beauty.
Label Your Way Out of Disorganization
Want to start sorting things but don’t know where to start? Hord recommends finding a label that you’ll actually like using. “To avoid anxiety from a messy, disorganized house, ensure that everything has a specific home,” she says. “Why items might not be going back to where they belong is most likely because there is confusion on where they should be put, due to no proper home being created.”
Create a dedicated space for your object family and label it so items will never get lost back en route home. These easy-to-use clips are simple to clamp on and work with a dry-erase marker, so you can constantly change the labeling if needed.
Keep Categories in One Spot
“If someone’s home is causing anxiety, excess clutter and things not having a designated place is often the main source of distress,” says Tselebidis. “Thus, decluttering and organizing one’s whole home is the best way to get to the root of the problem.”
Tselebidis is a huge proponent of organizing things via categories, i.e., shoes in one spot via a sleek shoe rack, or books on one shelf. “Storing things by category puts one’s mind at ease; if storage is scattered, the mind is likely scattered as well,” she says. Storing like items together will make finding them quickly a breeze, thus arguably positively affecting your overall well-being.
A Japanese minimalist-inspired shoe rack will help prevent the dreaded shoe pileup near the front door. Instead, they’ll now have a home all to themselves to rest and air out before the next time you want to show them off. And finally, it’s a shoe rack that isn’t hideous (or wildly expensive).
Invest in Storage-Friendly Furniture
Minimalist, clean design will never go out of style, but it’s not exactly storage friendly. Side tables, desks, and open shelving don’t leave you a lot of room to organize items. “The right furniture is key; having too much open-storage furniture can add to the feeling of being constantly cluttered,” says Beatrice Copeland of Bea Organized. “If you have open shelving in your living room, consider a coffee table or side table that has some closed storage. Sometimes it’s nice to put things away and not see them.”
A side table that not only provides but sleekly celebrates storage will help hide away unsightly objects, like phone chargers and computer cords. This one from the Kartell x La DoubleJ collection is still lust-worthy, with a pattern that playfully announces itself in any room.
When In Doubt, Start With Baskets
Domino’s editor in chief, Jessica Romm Perez, has a home that’s well-known around Domino HQ for its tidiness, but it’s not only well organized, it’s a celebration of order—every object has a space. And most of those designated spots include a chic basket. “They truly help me be organized; they corral things that could be ugly into a basket I don’t mind looking at,” she says.
Not only does a basket conveniently hide away unsightly objects, but it also makes it a breeze come cleanup time. Each one in her children’s playroom is dedicated to a theme—one for cars, another for Magna-Tiles, etc. A handsome basket is also an easy fix for high-traffic areas, like an entryway. Miscellaneous objects, such as shoes and umbrellas, can easily build up, leading to stress-inducing disorganization, but instead, everything goes into a basket. Et voilà.
These unique, pastel-shaded plastic baskets will hold up for years, even with the kiddos’ wear and tear, all while looking endlessly chic. As an added bonus, they can also be used as planters.
Organize Your Mind, Too
There are a lot of clever home-organization tools here, but don’t overlook the impact of an organized mind, too, when aiming to stress less. “An item that has a large impact on my anxiety is a beautiful journal and pen set,” says Poppy Jamie, founder of Happy Not Perfect.
“Having a diary readily available to document your stream of consciousness makes you aware of things you never knew were on your mind and often gets to the root of an unidentified problem,” she says. You might be tempted to turn to your phone and Instagram when you have a free moment, but old-school paper and pen may do the mind better. “I’m constantly traveling and often on the go, but having a tool to handwrite thoughts and feelings is a welcome escape from our trusty smartphones,” says Jamie. She also created the Happy Not Perfect app, which she says helps her organize her thoughts and start the day levelheaded and destressed.
Journaling might not be your favorite practice. Kick-start the habit with a gorgeous, hand-painted journal and favorite shades of pens that are so lovely you’ll actually be encouraged to put pen to paper.
Keep organizing: This $20 Shoe Rack Has Changed My Room and, Dare I Say, My Life Is Your Apartment Bursting at the Seams? Consider Ditching These 6 Things 6,000 Reviewers Agree: This $16 Amazon Product Will Organize Your Closet Once and for All