Entrepreneurial mum tackles mess stress to rid working at home anxiety

A working mum of two, from Chester, has become a female entrepreneur born out of lockdown when her cards were dealt thanks to Covid-19 and she lost her corporate contracts and 100% of her income. Ready to embark on her new chapter and leave her 20 years of process management behind she has launched her side hustle passion project into a full time business.

Serenely Sorted is a business born out of the new work/life merge resulting from COVID-19, focused on reducing our ‘mess stress’, something Diana experienced herself working from home for the past three years.

With sources* stating that even after lockdown, “employers now expect the proportion of people working from home on a regular basis will increase to 37 percent compared to 18 percent before the pandemic” Diana expects to see a huge spike in people realising that they don’t enjoy their home working environment, and she believes a lot of the discontent can be put down to ‘Mess Stress’ – the feeling that you can’t get away from the piles that have built up over time, on your desk, on your work surfaces, in corners of your home, and that constant nagging voice telling you to tidy. Working from home she just couldn’t relax during her rare and precious free time and resented spending it always on housework. Using her skills from her corporate career, she has developed the simple but highly effective Serenely Sorted System, initially for herself – to transform the way she behaved around her things to eliminate those piles – and get rid of that nagging voice in her head! She is now on a mission to help others who are busy and mess stressed change their habits to help them find more peace in their home and has set up a free Facebook group as a community to meet likeminded realistic people who want to get tidy, sorted, for life – and rid themselves of that nagging voice in their heads.

As someone with 20+ years in efficiency/systems and workflow roles, Diana’s business draws upon her organised and productivity driven nature. After twelve years living overseas mainly in Asia, Diana loved minimalism in her home, and had little clutter after five moves in five years through Brazil, Mexico and the USA, but once settled in their ‘forever home’ back in the UK her natural messiness saw bad habits creeping back in that led to feelings of chaos.

She is now on a mission to help others who are busy and mess stressed change their habits to help them find more peace in their home and has developed a system others can also follow to make behavioural change.

Diana’s Serenely Sorted System helps create a new mindset, and teaches simple transformational steps that allow us to become free of the drudgery of tidying, eliminate mess and vastly reduce the time spent worrying about it.

When she talks about Serenely Sorted, people often mention Marie Kondo, though for Diana her system is perhaps easier to slot into your life step-by-step – and it focuses on what she calls the ‘Daily Debris’ first be-fore any mention of the clutter under the bed!

Diana says: “There are so many people talking about decluttering these days, but I always think: why would you sort out what’s under your bed if your surfaces are still covered in the daily debris? This daily debris of life that lands on our surfaces day in, day out, is what really affects our lives and ability to keep tidy.”

Serenely Sorted is realistic, for people who want their spice jars organized so they can find what they want, in date (not expired 2012!) but have no desire to decant them into matching labelled jars – realistic, practical solutions for real, busy people – Diana says “My mission is to free people everywhere from the drudgery of tidying and reduce mess stress – to free them to spend more time on themselves.”

Diana’s service is now up and running and anyone can Learn the Serenely Sorted System online via her web-site  or join her free group for realis-tic people who want to spend less time tidying.

Her top 3 tips for sorting mess stress include:-

1. If you have to work in the main living area, pack up your stuff at the end of the day
If you don’t have a designated working space and need to use the kitchen table, but don’t clear it at the end of the day, it’s very difficult to switch off from work. I use a large tote bag for my work stuff – it fits laptop, notebooks, chargers etc. It’s very easy and quick then to get this out and put it back in the bag at the end of the day. What I call the ‘Use-in-one-move’ approach. This avoids the endless moving of piles from one place to another, or the temptation to just leave everything out.

2. Think about the flow of activities in your living space (and how they change) and react to that
Piles build up when we don’t know what to do with that stuff. Be aware of new things coming in or new activities and set up your space for them. Right now with schools open/closed, Summer holidays, etc, our activities done in the home is changing regularly. For example, my son just went back to school but now comes home with a little plastic wallet of his work everyday (due to Covid) – perfect tinder for creating a nice pile! Because I recognised this new flow of potential pile coming in, I sorted it. I’ve now got a magazine file in the utility room where they go – a quick check for actionable items like a note from the teacher, certificate but then otherwise file it immediately without the need to think about whether to keep/chuck it – I can batch that task at the end of term.

3. If you have kids, think mindfully about where the toys live
With the kids around, they obviously need to play. I choose 2-3 of their most popular toy ‘categories’ to keep in the lounge or kitchen area and then all the rest live in the bedroom. We’re not saying that they can’t play with those, but at the end of the day they know that any that have crept down should be back on the stairs to go up at bedtime. The 2-3 categories that live in the lounge/kitchen should have designated End Homes – that’s a place that they live e.g. a basket and always go back to at the end of the day. For example, we have a lego basket, a shelf for games/jigsaws and a craft cupboard in the kitchen, but all other toys go back upstairs.

*https://workplaceinsight.net/flexible-working-set-to-double-once-pandemic-crisis-is-over/