How many times have you ever dealt with stress and realized that your surroundings look like a hot mess? Do you know how to de-clutter when you’re stressed out?

If I’m surrounded with all sorts of clutter, random papers and disarray, then I guarantee you my stress levels just get higher! 

The worst thing to do if and when that happens is nothing. Looking at a mess around you when you’re already stressed won’t help your brain calm down at all.

You need some peace surrounding you! If you find your mind racing and some crazy clutter around you, it’s time to do something about it. Stop doing whatever you’re doing, and de-clutter when you’re stressed out!

Related: How to Organize Stress

I’m going to walk you through the 3 step process I use to de-clutter. (Yep, it’s that easy!!)

*Note: I’m not talking about hardcore cleaning. I’m talking about when there’s just stuff laying all around you. No paper towels, sprays or elbow grease needed for this!* 🙂

Step 1: Find everything you need to sort through and put it all in one single “pile”

I say “pile” in quotation marks because we all have some things that just don’t fit very well in a pile of things stacked up. But they need to be grouped together somehow! (I will refer to the word “pile” for the rest of this post, though, to keep it simple.)

I realize that this might seem counter intuitive, but trust me!

If you have everything all in one pile, you just have to sort through it once. Picture this: you go through one pile of stuff just to turn around and find another pile.

Doesn’t that sound exhausting and annoying?! (The answer is yes, it does, lol)

Putting everything in one pile will definitely make it a much bigger pile, but once it’s over, it’s over! There’s no having to go through the process twice. Or three times. Or more.

You get it.

How to De-clutter When You're Stressed Out

Let’s talk about a real example I went through the other day.

I get a ton of these annoying little coupon-newspaper-things every week in the mail. My boyfriend and I have a tendency to just put them all on the counter and let them grow out of control over a few weeks. (Why? I really couldn’t tell you.)

These coupon-newspaper-things spread everywhere. They’re like a disease. 

Eventually, I get annoyed and just shove them all in one pile to sort through. If I decided to go through them one little pile at a time, I can promise you that I would just be even more annoyed. The thought of having to go back again and again to get rid of the clutter sounds terrible!

So don’t do that to yourself. Just put it all in one pile, and move on to step 2.

Step 2: Determine what smaller piles you want to sort the clutter into and do it!

You can’t sort without knowing what to sort into!

There’s a HUGE variety of ways you can sort your clutter depending on what it is that you’re sorting, where you want it to go and where you’re sorting it from.

I’ve listed out some ideas for sorting piles to consider based on where you’re sorting your clutter from! The examples are pretty specific because we all know that we find clutter in the oddest places, right?!

Your Desk

  • things that need to be put back in your desk drawers
  • mail
  • trash
  • things that don’t even belong on your desk but somehow managed to get there

Kitchen Counter

  • mail
  • trash
  • things that need to be put back in a cupboard
  • coins


  • clothes that need to be put away
  • hair styling tools and accessories
  • perfumes/lotions
  • trash

Do you get the idea? Whatever happens, don’t go into de-cluttering without a plan. It’ll get completely overwhelming. Trust me.

But after you sort through your giant clutter pile, it’s imperative that you do something with those mini-piles!

Have you ever started a sorting project and didn’t finish it? It sucks to come back later and see a slightly-organized mess that is just spread all over the place, lol. 

You gotta put all that stuff away where it belongs, girlfriend.

If you’re de-cluttering your dresser, PUT THOSE CLOTHES AWAY. Get a cute box to put all of your hair styling tools in. Find another cute box to keep all your lotions and perfumes. Throw that garbage away.

You’ll feel SO GOOD once everything is actually de-cluttered.

Step 3: Make a plan to avoid dealing with clutter again

De-cluttering is great, I won’t lie. But it’s not REALLY effective until you come up with a way to keep the clutter away.

And this doesn’t have to be hard! It really gets simpler the more of a plan you have.

Keeping clutter away is all about having a system or routine that you use to make sure that clutter doesn’t start to overwhelm you.

Having an easy de-cluttering system will be amazing for you so that stress does arrive, there’s one less messy thing in your life to worry about!

I have some ideas for what you can do to simply keep clutter under control after you do a serious de-clutter!

  • at the end of each day, quickly organize your desk space before you go to bed
  • find any and all trash in your home/apartment that you can throw away at the end of the day and put it in the garbage
  • when you do your hair and/or makeup, put all of the things you used away as soon as you’re done
  • open your mail and decide what to do with it right when you get it out of your mailbox
  • put your clothes away as soon as they’re done in the dryer
  • if you pull something out of a drawer, put it back as soon as you’re done with it
  • keep a coin jar that you fill with any coins you have in your pockets/purse at the end of each day

How to De-clutter When You're Stressed Out

Doing little things consistently will make it A LOT easier to keep clutter out of your life. You could do all of the things in the above list every single day, and they would never feel like that much of a chore!

And the best part about de-cluttering on a daily basis? You don’t have a giant mess around you when stress appears. That makes managing your stress so much easier because it’s not reflected in your surroundings!

Pro tip: Add a simple de-cluttering routine to your planner. You’ll never forget to do it!

Related: How to Make a Planner Routine

Now you know how to de-clutter when you’re stressed!

Knowing how to clean up your surroundings when your brain is going in all directions is AMAZING. This 3-step process is super easy, but super effective!

What’s one place that you always find cluttered? Let me know in the comments! Let’s find a way to organize that space together.

Lastly, have you joined the Mental Health Empowerment Facebook Group yet? Join it here!

Sierra Mafield Blog