Why pandemic stress breeds clutter—and how to break the cycle
Cluttered workspaces increase levels of stress and anxiety, which in turn make people more disorganized.
The mess started with typical office supplies—loose papers and pens. As the time she spent cooped up inside dragged on, Sarah Frances Hicks saw a whole new kind of clutter pile up on her desk. Hicks’ grandfather had died before the pandemic began, and she was sorting through his possessions to pass the time during lockdown. Not the type to start new projects before she finished old ones, Hicks quickly let that mission take over, filling her desk with a small ukulele-banjo, twirling batons, a violin case, old hymnals, and her grandfather’s laptop. Her productivity suffered.
“I can’t function with clutter,” says Hicks, a freelance writer in Orlando, Florida, who prefers working in coffee shops under normal circumstances. “I need everything