5 Ways To Conquer Your Anxiety When Organizing

We all know that life can be stressful. With the surge in social media, news of the world and messages from friends and others bombard us nearly every minute of every day. This can create anxiety, even in those who don’t have an official anxiety diagnosis. May is Mental Health Awareness month, and we thought it might be helpful to post a bit about how you can ease your anxiety when organizing.

For each and every personality type, organizing can be challenging and anxiety-provoking. Mainly, anxiety visits us at the beginning of a project that we know is going to be arduous and difficult. A task like pruning your closet, cleaning out your garage, or even reorganizing your kitchen can seem near impossible and certainly daunting at the start. However, there are some things that you can do to ameliorate your feelings of being overwhelmed. As we’ve said, every personality type can feel anxious when organizing, so you are not alone.

Anxiety In Each Personality Type

Classic personality types (ESTJ, ESFJ, ISTJ, ISFJ) certainly have a ‘can do’ attitude when beginning an organization project, but getting the rest of their fellow household members to stick with the organizational systems they put into place may cause them some anxiety and stress.

Fun personality types (ESTP, ESFP, ISTP, ISFP) may not feel conscious of their anxiety, as they tend to respond well to situations that call for being calm in crisis, (in other words, situations that would cause other personality types major stress), but that does not mean they won’t experience some sort of anxiety when, say, having to stick to what they consider a boring (and stifling) routine.


Organic personality types (ENFJ, ENFP, INFJ, INFP) will probably feel most of their anxiety at the beginning of an organizational project, as the prospect of purging and other organizational techniques overwhelms them, and they tend to overthink the process.

Finally, Smart personality types (ENTJ, ENTP, INTJ, INTP) could feel anxious just thinking about the minute details involved in getting organized — whether it be how to organize their paperwork or home office, or how to store the silverware in the cabinet. These types are big, conceptual thinkers, and don’t bother too much with the tiny details that make up an organized daily life.

Five Tips on Conquering Organizational Anxiety

We’ve found from our customizable rules and tips that not every solution works for every person, so we’ve come up with five solid and generalized rules to deal with anxiety when organizing.

  1. Do Things In Your Own Time and In Your Own Way: Like we said above, not everyone excels at the same things. Figure out what your organizational kryptonite is, and use it. For example, if Fun personality types respond best in the moment, they will need to wait until they are inspired to begin an organizational project. That is where their energy and vigor will come in most handy. Classic personality types, on the other hand, need a lot of time to plan before executing, so they need to make sure they allot themselves that time in order to avoid feeling anxious. Organics? Well, Organic personality types will need either a good friend or a professional organizer to help them and provide moral support, at least in the beginning stages of a project. And Smarts, depending on the subtype (Smart Structure or Smart Freedom) might need to rely more heavily than normal on their many organizational tools (e-calendar, daily planner, blackberry, etc.), or rely on a personal assistant to handle the smaller details of a project, while he or she focuses on the big picture.
  2. Use The Tools: You’ve heard us talk ad nauseum about all the different ways organization can be made easy with various products and tools. Here is a non-exhaustive list to start you off on the right foot:
  • Fridge Separators/Bins
  • Clear, plastic bins for storage
  • Inboxes
  • Filing Cabinets
  • File Folders
  • Sticky Notes
  • Daily Planners
  • Wall calendars
  • Magnetic Grocery Lists (to hang on the fridge)
  • Matching Hangers
  • Cabinet Separators/Lazy Susans
  • Sliding Shelves/Shelving Systems
  • Archival Boxes
  1. Use Music: Many people get chores and organizing done more easily if they turn on some of their favorite tunes and whistle while they work (or flat out sing!). Make a playlist specifically for your project — organizing your closet? Add some Madonna (Gonna Dress You Up In My Love, for starters) or, if you don’t like themes, just choose some upbeat artists who get you pumped up and inspired. If your anxiety is better soothed by going inward than expressing yourself outwardly, make a classical playlist and go about your project in a more zen-like mood.
  1. Use Visualization: Imagine your project completed and decide how you will reward yourself when it’s done. A salt bath, a new dress, a martini… whatever would make you feel great — along with completing a tough project!
  1. Go Easy On You: If it’s not the right time to delve into that kitchen and revamp your cabinets, it just isn’t the right time. Accept that and know that when you’re ready, you’ll get it done. In the meantime, spend your energy focused on doing something calming and fulfilling, whether it be gardening, working out, meditating, or hanging out with a good friend. The key here is to alleviate your anxiety, so if that means putting a project off for a bit until you feel ready to take the task on, so be it. Your health is the most important thing, so go easy!

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