People are 77 percent more likely to become overweight or obese if they maintain a cluttered home. According to a report by S. Saxena in the Oxford Handbook of Hoarding and Acquiring, individuals with a propensity to hoard tend to have a higher than normal body mass index as well as an increased obesity rate.
Clutter and extra body weight both represent an imbalance in your life, and it often requires tackling both issues to see meaningful strides in either category. In an article for the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Sandra K Tunajek writes that “Living in a cluttered home can create subtle, constant, low-grade stress. Anxiety over clutter messes with your brain’s alpha waves and interferes with your sleep, making you more fatigued, impacting your hormone levels, and increasing production of cortisol.”
If your home is in chaos, it might cause you to make poor eating and exercise decisions; if you’re struggling with weight, it’s easy to forgo purging and cleaning which creates a negative cycle that repeats and compounds. So, how can you purge your home of clutter in order to prepare your life to lose weight? Here are a few ways to get started.
Step 1: Get A Plan
- Walk through your home with a notepad and identify the areas of your home that need purging. Analyze your home room-by-room, and write down your findings.
- Prioritize your “Purge Zones” based on the frequency of use and create a plan for tackling them. Start with scheduling 20 minutes each day so that, as you go, you can start checking each area off your list. If you have a few free hours on the weekend, schedule tackling a whole room or block of rooms. Feel free to start small and work up to tougher projects to give you a good sense of success and positive momentum.
Step 2: Begin The Purge
The Four-Box Method is effective because it forces you to take action immediately. Every time you pick up an item, you’re not allowed to put it down until you’ve decided its ultimate fate.
- Collect four boxes and label each one as “Keep,” “Charity/Sell,” “Storage,” and “Trash.” (You might opt for three boxes and a trash bag but that’s up to you!)
- Set up your boxes in your “Purge Zone,” and pick up each item in turn and ask yourself three questions:
- How often do you use the item?
- How expensive is it/How easy is it to replace?
- What is the value (sentimental or otherwise) of the item?
- Based on the answers to the previous questions, determine if you should put it away in a designated spot, donate to charity/sell, place in storage, or throw it away entirely. Remember to be ruthlessly brutal in your purging efforts. Items should only be placed in the “Keep” and “Storage” box if they are truly useful and cannot be easily replaced.
- After all the items in your “Purge Zone” have been sorted and boxed, take some time to empty each box starting with your “Keep” box. Put away items in their designated, thought out, meaningful spots and, don’t be afraid to resort back into the other 3 boxes just in case something superfluous slipped through. After the “Keep” box is emptied, place your “Storage” items in their designated storage area and then tackle the last two boxes. (Items that remain in your “Sell” box are automatically switched to “Donate” after one week, so, sell fast!)
- Designate your next “Purge Zone” and write it down so you know exactly where to start when you have an extra 20 minutes.
Step 3: Stop the flow of clutter into your life!
Once you’ve identified the sources of the clutter and disorganization, start making steps to cut them off at the source. Stop hitting the clearance section at Target, cancel your extra magazine subscriptions, or whatever else fuels the chaos in your home. Your goal is to stop clutter before it crosses the threshold of your home. Remember, mass consumption isn’t just a danger to your health, weight, and well being, it’s a threat to our planet!
As you purge your home of clutter and junk to move towards a cleaner, more organized space, embrace the feeling of relaxation and focus that comes from an environment and a life that is truly in balance.