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The Organization Diet

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The Organization Diet: Resolve to Improve Your Health & Organize Your Life By Clearing Out The Clutter

Studies Show That Getting Organized Can Improve Multiple Aspects of Your Life, Including Weight

We've just started a new year with new resolutions. January is the month to set a fresh and improved direction for ourselves. For many of us, the list of goals will include both becoming better organized plus losing weight. Could these seemingly two different goals actually be one and the same? Studies prove that clutter can be hazardous to your health, leading to stress, weight gain, and physical hazards from an unhealthy environment. If you can clear the clutter, you can improve or even reverse these symptoms. When you clear the clutter you are making a conscious lifestyle change. Healthy lifestyle changes like this can steer permanent weight loss and other health benefits.

Cleaning and organizing is easier than losing weight for most of us. Try putting your possessions on a diet and clearing your clutter. Then watch to see if your weight goes down on its own along with your stress levels.

You may have tried to lose weight weight before, only to see the pounds slowly creep back on. This diet is different — it has nothing to do with what you eat. If you start this diet, you'll have nothing to lose but stress, weight, and excess belongings that you don't need. And you don't have to get rid of all your favorite things either. Having fewer possessions definitely makes organizing easier, but clearing the clutter does not necessarily mean that you have to throw everything away. It does mean that you have a designated place for each item you keep, and that you maintain your space in an orderly, uncrowded fashion, allowing sufficient "open" space to conduct your daily activities without inconvenience from having too much stuff.

    HOW TO FOLLOW THE ORGANIZATION DIET:
  1. Maximize Your Garage: Reducing the number of items kept in your living space will ease your stress. Store your seasonal or infrequently used items (like Christmas decorations) outside your living area. This may seem obvious at first, but you'd be surprised at how many of us neglect this basic organization strategy and simply shove everything into a corner or bedroom closet. Storage space outside your living area but inside your home can include an attic, basement, or my favorite — an overhead garage storage system.

    overhead garage storage system with storage bins
    Overhead garage storage solution See Item >

    Not every home has a private garage, but for those that do, the garage floor is usually messy and cluttered while the overhead space in the garage is under utilized or completely ignored. Put this space to work with an overhead storage system. This type of organization system is usually installed on the ceiling, either above the hood of the car so as not to interfere with needed headroom, or against the front wall of the garage. Overhead systems are available in different sizes and will hold a surprising number of storage containers — it's like adding a loft or second floor to your garage and using it exclusively for storage. It can be a neat and organized way to store what might otherwise be deemed unwanted "clutter."
  2. Basement Storage — Use It or Lose It: Most people lucky enough to have a basement will use it as a multipurpose space. Whether you have a playroom, workshop, man cave, or other room in your basement, your home will be happier if you set aside a section for closed storage. By closed storage, we mean doors that close off a section of the basement so that it is not part of your living area. These can be doors to a room or cabinet doors. You can then set up shelving in this closed off space to organize all your stuff. If your new storage area is being constructed from laminate or particle board materials, be sure that it is raised off the floor with metal or plasic "legs". (You can use the same legs used in garage storage cabinets). This will prevent damage in the event of water seepage to this below grade area of the home. If appearance is a concern, the front of the legs can be covered by a simple piece of base trim. As you select items to move to this new, organized area, it is a good time to take inventory of each thing you own. Have you used it in the last year? Is it in good condition? If the answer to either of these questions in no, toss or donate the item.

    basement storage system with storage doors
    Legs raise basement storage cabinet off floor See Item >
  3. Clothes Closets — Clean Out and Donate: Fashions change every year, and most people will be adding at least a few pieces of clothing to remain stylish. After a few years, all these wardrobe additions add up to a very crowded closet. Make time to assess your clothes each year. Which ones need repair in order to wear them? Which old favorites are beyond repair and should be replaced? Which clothes are the wrong size? Which items are nice, but you just haven't worn them in the last twelve months? You'll need to purge in order to leave room for incoming, especially if you expect to lose weight. Get rid of the unrepairable, wrong size (when you lose weight you deserve new clothes), and items you haven't worn in the last twelve months. If you're not wearing it, you must not like or need it all that much. Everything that is left should fit neatly back into the closet. If your closet is still overcrowded after purging and you feel that you simply need a bigger closet space, consider investing in a custom closet system. Outfitting your existing closet with a closet organization system will generally double the storage capacity. Additionally, you can consider adding an armoire style wardrobe closet system to the bedroom or hallway to increase your overall storage space.

    organized built in closet with additional armoire style wardrobe closet
    Bedroom closet solution includes closet organization system for existing closet space, plus additional armoire style wardrobe closet to increase storage See Project >
  4. Purge the Paper & Tame the Wires Throughout Your Home:
    • A lot of the mess and disorganization in many homes is due to mail, children's schoolwork and other sources of paper that come into the home. Often, this stuff just sits around because it "isn't due yet" or has no place to go. Pay your bills as soon as you get them, discard old magazines as soon as you finish reading them (or better yet, move to an online subscription and have your bills delivered electronically). Children's school projects can often be digitized by taking photos of them and storing them electronically, taking up no space at all in your home while preserving the memory of the project forever. Having less paper will make it easier to deal with the items you need to keep and develop storage for.
    • A second big source of mess in the home comes from all the electronic gadgets we just can't live without in this modern age. Even the neatest homes can be plagued by cords running and dangling all over the place to power and charge our devices. Technology in and of itself is stressful for many people. Add to that piles of tangled wires and you have the recipe to destroy even the most diligent attempts to become organized.

      messy wires organized behind false desk back
      Wire management solution centers on including doors for a false back to the desk system, allowing easy access while hiding the mess See Project >
  5. Designate a Work Area: Set up a home office or project nook that includes a filing drawer and cabinet storage to deal with paper and items that need to be saved. This could be a spare bedroom or other room, or simply a corner of the dining room or other multi-purpose area. It should not be a catch-all space. The important part of having a designated work area is that it will always be clean and organized for its intended purpose, and you won't have to clear off space to work or hunt for items you need.

    home office area
    A dedicated home office area will keep you organized. This one is located off the kitchen. See Project >

Make a commitment to the "Organization Diet." If you follow these organization tips, you're certain to make significant progress on organizing your life, improving your health, and maybe even losing some weight in the process.