Decluttering is good for your health!
You’re probably familiar with the notion that clutter is expensive – costing you money in buying things you already have and costing you time from inefficiency. Turns out clutter can cost you your health as well.
A recent study by researchers at UCLA’s Sloan Center on Everyday Lives of Families (CELF) shows a link between women’s stress hormone, cortisol, and the amount of clutter in their home. According to the study:
“Mothers who use key words in their self-narrated home tours indicating that the home is messy or cluttered actually experience a higher rate of depressed mood toward evening, based on cortisol measures over a number of days.” Life At Home In The Twenty-First Century, Arnold, et. al.
The groundbreaking 4-year study looked at the living habits of 32 families with school age children in the Los Angeles area. The objective was to get a real picture of how middle-class families live.
An article and video from KCET highlights a few interesting facts from the study:
- The United States has 3.1% of the world’s children and purchases 40% of the world’s toys
- Our society has the most material possessions per household in global history
- 75 percent of Angelenos are parking their cars in the streets or in the driveways and they’re using their garages as storage units
- Family photos on display: an average of 85. Home offices: typically, over 2,000 non-paper items. Garages: 50 to 700 objects. Refrigerator doors hold an average of 52 doodads.
So what’s our take away? REDUCE THE VOLUME! Any effort you make to reduce the volume of stuff in your home will boost your mood and lower your stress level.
Meet the challenge! Grab a donation bag, see if you can fill it and drop it off this week.
Filed under Bedroom, Closets, Decluttering, Garage, General Organizing, Kids, Kitchen, Living Room, Memorabilia, Perspective, Reduce/Recyle/Reuse, Strategies
The Container Store has a page with tips for ordering your pantry.
One of the best organizing strategies is the acronym S.P.A.C.E. coined by organizer Julie Morgenstern in her first book, Organizing From The Inside Out.
The acronym breaks down the organizing process into 5 simple steps anyone can follow. We’re going to walk you through the steps using a kitchen pantry as an example but the steps apply to any space you’re trying to organize – a single drawer to a whole house!
The first step in organizing any space is a sort. Gather like things together in order to see how much you have of similar items.
Empty the pantry onto a large table and sort by types of food:
- Canned goods
- Nuts, dried fruits, small bagged snacks
- Rice, pasta, grains
- Boxed cereals
- Baking items
- Packaged food mixes
Look through each group of your sorted items and get down to what’s relevant to life now.
- Expired foods & spices
- Boxes and bags with just a tiny bit left
- Extras from overbuying because you forgot you already had it (think food bank!)
- Items you thought would be delicious but now don’t seem so appealing
Assign a Home
This is the core of the work. Clutter happens when items don’t have an assigned place to live. Using labels makes all the difference here.
- Make sure high-use items are in the most accessible shelves
- Decide which sorted groups are “friends” – would you like your jars of tomato sauce to live near your pastas or other jars and canned goods?
Shop smart and save yourself time and money by saving the containerizing until the end of the process.
- Use small boxes on shelves to group loose bagged items together; the box functions as a mini pullout shelf
- There are numerous organizing products to help maximize shelf space and visibility. Do a quick search on Pinterest to get some ideas
- If you don’t have the perfect container you can always use a cardboard box, Ziploc bag or other temporary container until you find the perfect permanent solution
Life isn’t static. Getting organized isn’t a one-time process. As life changes – sizes, interests, jobs, etc. your organizing systems may need to shift and change to keep up. Make time each season (or at least each year) to inventory your possessions and update your systems.
Try it out yourself. Start small as a test. Pick a single drawer or cabinet shelf to create S.P.A.C.E. See how it goes and report back!
Looking for inspiration? Come join this visual feast!
Of all the social media tools out there now, Pinterest is one of the best for getting creative and imaginative organizing ideas. Pinterest is a visual discovery tool where people create “interest boards” and then “pin” pictures and videos on any topic.
It’s a great way to harness the power of the collective! Let’s say you’re struggling with how to manage those pesky charging cables …simply type, “cable organizing” into the search field and see hundreds of examples of how other folks have handled the problem.
A low-tech way to wrangle your cable clutter
Do you ever wonder how you’re going to manage your rings and necklaces, bracelets and earrings so that you can see what you have and easily put them away when you’re done with them?
Here’s a solution for displaying your necklaces. There are 1,000’s more on Pinterest!
People post photos of their favorite products and many times they post creative DIY solutions. Browsing the images is a great way to spark your own ideas and creativity, and come up with solutions you may never have even thought of.
You don’t have to create a “board” in order to partake of the images that abound on Pinterest. You can just “window shop.” But be careful, it can be addicting! …especially since it’s also available as an app for your phone or tablet.
What great ideas have you found on Pinterest? Share them here!
Filed under Bedroom, Closets, Decluttering, Garage, General Organizing, Holidays, Kids, Kitchen, Laundry, Living Room, Memorabilia, Office, Paper, Perspective, School, Storage, Strategies