You may not have crossed the line between “creeping clutter” and “hoarding.” However, organization expert Peter Walsh cites an Ohio State University study in his recent book, Lose the Clutter, Lose the Weight. The study found that hoarders were three times as likely to be overweight as were their family members.
Hoarding is clutter to the nth degree. What the two have in common: Stress. Studies have found that clutter can lead to stress and stress to weight gain. The premise of Walsh’s book is, of course, that removing stressful clutter may be just the motivation you need to also drop some pounds. At the very least, you might be better able to lay your hands on your workout gear.
You can gauge how serious your clutter problem is by answering the 21 questions on the Institute for Challenging Disorganization’s “Are You Chronically Disorganized?” fact sheet.
Meanwhile, here are six spring cleaning strategies that may help you:
1. Make a Deal with Yourself
One bag a week. That’s all. Fill a trash bag with items from your home that you can donate or leave at the curb for the sanitation crew. It’s a small step, but it will add up to 52 bags a year.
2. Check Your Closet for Forgotten Clothes
That blouse you keep passing over, the pants that are too small or too big, the sweater the moths like better than you do. Keep only the clothes you like, that fit, and that you wear. Donate the rest or try selling them online!
3. Forget the Yard Sale
Be honest. If you know you’ll never get it organized, you’re just delaying the inevitable—and storing all those saleable items in your house instead of getting them out. You can try selling individual items online to speed up the process or pass them on to family members or a charity.
4. Rid Yourself of Temptations
Do you have an ice cream maker, deep fryer or bread machine stashed somewhere? Somewhere, someone who isn’t trying to lose weight and get healthy could use it. You don’t need it anymore. Especially with such amazing alternatives like Nutrisystem’s Chocolate Brownie Sundae or The Leaf’s recipe for Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks.
5. Give Everything a “Toss By” Date
If you have a hard time giving anything up, pack it in a box and mark a date three months, six months or a year away. When it comes due, if you haven’t opened the box to take something out, dispose of it.
6. Drowning in Paper?
Buy a cork board or a roll of cork that you can cut to fit. Stick all the papers that are piling up on counters and other flat surfaces to the board. Once a week, clean off anything that’s out of date.