While there haven’t been any studies I know of linking clutter to obesity, I do know that being disorganized doesn’t help. Think about the factors that facilitate weight loss: increased physical activity, eating healthier foods, good sleeping habits, and a balanced emotional life — all related to an organized, clutter-free life.
And the fact is that most failed dieters complain that maintaining a diet is just too much work. The amount of information and control required can be extremely difficult for the average person to sustain. This becomes especially important when your control systems are weakened — like when you’re disorganized or stressed. When there are distractions or concerns competing for your attention, the mental workload can be overwhelming. That alone could be the reason you fall off your diet. Therefore, you need to arrange your personal environment to maximize your chances of losing and maintaining your weight loss and minimize your chances of slipping up.
One of the leading barriers to increasing your physical activity is time. You never have enough time in the day. Does that describe you? Are you constantly trying to work your way out of a theoretical hole? The cold reality is that there are only 24 hours in a day, which means you have to figure out how and when you can increase your physical activity. If your home and office are disorganized and filled with clutter, you’re probably spending a lot of your time simply looking for things you need and trying to get yourself organized and motivated. When you get rid of the clutter you can make room for a small exercise area and have easy access to your gym clothing so you can get to the gym. Think about it: If you spend 10 fewer minutes a day looking for things, you can spend 10 more minutes exercising. Most people want and need to have order in their lives to function properly.
Keep in mind, while you’re cleaning and organizing you’re also burning 210 calories per hour — not bad. Here are a few key strategies to help you declutter and get organized:
Organize Your Pantry and Have Healthy Spices Available and Easy to Use
If you believe you can easily prepare healthy foods with a disorganized pantry, you’re mistaken.
Take the Fridge Quiz. Would you shop in a dirty, poorly laid out grocery store? Keep your fridge clean and organized into sections, just like a supermarket. Soda and juice are high in calories; try to keep water or unsweetened iced tea in the front so you grab them first. Better yet, toss the cola. Fruits and veggies should be front and center and at eye level so you see them. Keep all the high-cal foods in the fruit and veggie drawer or in the back.
Be Fitness Prepared
Try to have a gym bag packed, easily accessible and ready to go. Buy a “fitness” crate to store all your fitness items, including sneakers, bands, pedometer, gym clothes, fitness DVDs, jump-rope, etc. Make everything easily accessible and ready to use.
Organize Your Closets and Garage
You need to get all the areas of your life organized, including your closets and garage. When your house is uncluttered, you become uncluttered and free yourself up for other things — like exercise and eating right. Using containers and storage bins is great, as long as they don’t serve as another place to hide stuff you don’t need. Yes, that’s what most people do — they take all the things they own and toss them into a storage bin, and then the stuff just sits there. Come up with rules when you start to clean and throw away. If you haven’t used something in the last two years, chances are you will not use it at all. If you haven’t read that magazine in the last month or so, chances are you’re probably not ever going to catch up. Trust me, there will be other Brad and Angelina’s breakups, get-togethers, events, etc. If you do end up storing things, make sure to label and make detailed lists of what’s in each container.
And if you can’t do it yourself, find someone to do it for you. The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) has about 4,200 members. You can also take a “help wanted” ad for an organizer on Craigslist.org, or maybe have an organizing party with your friends. (There are always a few friends who would love to get their hands on organizing your house.)