As a part-time employee, full-time broke college student (with a paper due in 2 weeks that's worth 25% of my grade... Yikes!)and full-time wife, I know stress. And telling me "Don't worry about it," just makes me more stressed and more likely to want to punch you. That said, I also know stress is bad for my health (and that of my unborn child, blissfully floating around in my ever expanding belly).
So what's a girl to do? I'm sure we've heard a million ways to fight stress (yoga, taking a walk, bubble bath), but what about not getting stressed in the first place? Hmmm... hadn't thought of that before. One of the things we can do to avoid unnecessary stress is to have a living space (dorm, apartment, house, mansion) that is neat and organized. With this comes the realization that perfection is a myth. Now, I'm am so not one of those people that is tidy and organized by nature (just ask my mother or my husband). In truth, I can be a bit of a slob, but that doesn't mean I should be. Something that revolutionized the way I view housekeeping is letting go of perfectionism because it just isn't real. My desk is (and always has been) a disaster. I would avoid cleaning any of it, because in my busy day I didn't have time to clean all of it. Then I learned that even a little bit (read: 2-5 minutes), when done consistently, will eventually lead to big successes. My desk is still pretty messy, but it's not nearly as bad as it used to be.
So that's little big thing #1: Even a little is a lot more than nothing. Do something everyday! Sort mail, clean your purse, wash (dry, fold and put away) just one load of laundry, anything helps maintain (or gain as the case may be) control of our homes.
Little big thing #2: Maybe mom was right about making the bed... everyday.
I always hated making my bed as a kid and especially as a teenager. Truth be told, I might have made my bed 10 times during middle school and high school combined, and that was only for company after receiving death threats from my mother. I saw it as a total waste of time. A friend of mine began a (free)cleaning program called FLYLady (www.flylady.net), maybe you've heard of it, in which you do a little bit everyday and learn to stick to a routine so you're not spending all day cleaning. One of the big focuses of the program is having a morning and evening routine to get ready for the day ahead. One of the things you must do is make your bed. While I'm not a full-time part of the program (a FLYBaby), I figured a lot of what she was saying was common sense (picking out your clothes the night before ensures that you won't be stressing about it in the morning, go to bed at a decent hour, drink water), so I decided to try it out. My husband and I have made our bed every morning as soon as the last one (usually me) got up. WHAT A DIFFERENCE! The master bedroom is far from perfect, but having a made bed when we walk in makes it seem so much less chaotic which makes us want to spend time in there cleaning up. We can go in there after work and lay down and have 20 minutes of winding down before we make dinner and go about our evening.
Little big thing #3: The dishes won't be any cleaner in the morning.
It's true. Doing the dishes every night after dinner prevents science projects from forming in your sink. After all, that's what the fridge is for. LOL Just kidding, of course. Walking into a clean kitchen in the morning for breakfast (because you're eating breakfast everyday, right?) is good for the body and the spirit. I challenge you to set an egg timer (or the one on your stove or microwave oven) for just 15 minutes and see what you can accomplish in that time. If I were a betting woman, I'd bet you could have the dishwasher loaded and those other dishes washed with probably a full minute to spare, maybe more if you have a helper to dry and put away the clean dishes. You'll feel so accomplished and peaceful knowing that you did something good for your home.