Clear Clutter, Lose Weight! Why it works and how to get it done!
Conquering clutter has many lifestyle benefits; high on the list is losing weight!
Clutter is a reflection of your mindset and attitudes. An overstuffed environment is usually the result of fear; fear of loss, fear of not having enough, fear of the future. Fear creates stress. Stress triggers behaviors that include holding on to things, including weight. Those behaviors allay or distract us from fear, even when it is irrational or subconscious. Comfort foods, ingestion of sugar, stress-evoked eating, and a variety of other patterns accompany fear and her sisters: anxiety, trepidation, worry, agitation, doubt, panic, apprehension, and unhappiness.
For many, conquering clutter is an exercise in facing their iteration of fear. The resulting improvements in living environment and energy flow allows the formerly stuck body to fully relax and let go, setting the stage for weight loss.
Benefits of clearing clutter include
- Weight loss
- Letting go of the past and unhappy memories
- Increased confidence
- Better decision making
- Reduces stress
- Helps to prioritize what is really important
- Increases mental, emotional, and spiritual awareness
- Better sleep
- Increased happiness! (:
What is clutter?
The word “clutter” is derived from the Middle English word “clotter” meaning to coagulate. For space to be alive with vibrancy, the energy around it needs to flow and be free. Clutter makes energy coagulate, or stick, and the occupants are the recipients of the insidious stagnation.
Clutter can make you feel tired, lethargic, unenergetic and even depressed. It can keep you from moving forward in your life, makes it difficult to have clarity about important decisions, and usually results in procrastination. It often affects body weight and the way people treat you. Clutter causes extra cleaning, will waste your time by the disorganization that it cases, and can even be a fire hazard.
Freeing yourself of clutter can be a life-changing experience. It is an exercise in letting go of fear. Liberate your space; liberate your soul.
Clutter and Feng Shui
The reduction of clutter and the Japanese Art of Feng Shui are closely related. According to Karen Kingston, author of “Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui,” clearing clutter is one of the most transformative aspects of Feng Shui. Not only does clearing clutter allow energy to flow freely through the living space, it also leaves the occupants open to creating wealth, better health, and increased happiness.
Marie Kondo, the author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” has reduced her decluttering theories to two basic tenets: Discard everything that does not “spark joy,” and do not buy organizing equipment. You already have what you need for any current storage.
According to Kondo, tidying is a dialogue with one’s self and with your objects/things. All objects should be thanked for their service, and then, in an act of reverence put aside for someone else (charity), or to go the way of the circular file.
GETTING STARTED; CHOOSE ONE OF 3 STRATEGIES
Choice 1-Start with small projects and move through the house methodically.
If you choose this strategy, it is best to start with the kitchen.
Why? Your kitchen strongly reflects your food choices, which affect your dietary habits, which in turn affect your waistline. Thousands of unhealthy processed calories live here, usually in the form of obvious or hidden sugar. An overstuffed, unhealthy kitchen is going to create an overstuffed, unhealthy diet. And overstuffed unhealthy diet will create an overstuffed unhealthy resident.
What to toss:
- Obvious junk food.
- Read your food labels: toss anything with added sugar. For more on Sugar, CLICK HERE.
- CAREFUL: many manufacturers try and hide sugar by calling it deceptively “healthy” names, like organic beet crystals. Be savvy. Those are just fancy names for sugar. Need a list? CLICK HERE.
- Toss anything with HYDROGENATED or PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED vegetable oils or anything that has the word TRANS FAT. For more on fat, CLICK HERE.
- Anything that is a duplicate of something else should be given to charity.
- Broken items need to be tossed. If you have not fixed it by now, it’s not going to happen.
- If the expiration date has passed, toss it.
- Old plastic storage containers should be replaced periodically.
- Empty glass bottles should be recycled.
- Toss anything that you do not use and honestly will never use: gadgets, pans, utensils, etc. If you look at it and wonder how to use it, let it go. If it makes you feel like a cooking failure, it needs to go. Every item needs to spark joy.
- Clear your preparation area. Store gadgets and appliances as much as possible in cupboards leaving the counters clean and free.
- Go through your dishes, silverware, etc. and keep what matches, give the rest.
Choice 2-Enlist a friend to help
The process of clearing clutter can be difficult. Enlist your most practical friend who will not listen to your objections and rationalizations, and has an un-emotional attachment to your things. When they say toss it, toss it. Turn on some fun music and make it a party! Get two boxes or bags ready: one for charity, one for trash. Your friend has the job to make sure you do not go through your work at the end of the day and to take your unneeded treasures to your favorite charity and to a trash container away from your residence.
Choice 3-One big push
Set aside a day, tackle the whole house in one fell swoop. For those who have trouble getting in the mindset to let things go, this strategy is best. Save time for the end of the day for you (or even better your buddy) to take your things to a charity and to take the things that need to be tossed to an off-site trash container so you cannot go through your work and have second thoughts.
Additionally, if you tackle the entire job in a day, you will be more likely to see the big picture, feel the transformation of the space, and feel inspired by the energy release of the space.
HOW TO DECLUTTER:
- Start in the morning when you are at your freshest.
- Keep only the things that bring you joy.
- Have a box for trash, and another for good items that will go to a charity.
- Once it is designated for either trash or charity, do not go back and question your work. Your first instinct was right.
- Each item should be thanked for its service and then go to its designated area.
Questions to ask:
- Does this spark joy?
- Have I used this or worn this in the last year? If not, toss it.
- Is it out of style? If so, toss it.
- Does it still fit? If not, toss it
- CRITICAL: If something does not fit, it must go. If you are waiting to lose weight to fit into it again, you are attaching negative energy to your space and onto yourself. Self-acceptance is a crucial component of weight loss. Hoping you will fit into something again only evokes despair and unhappiness. Let it go. Losing weight depends upon the right frame of mind.
- IMPORANT: If an item does not spark joy, even if it is useful, it should go. Your space should end up being a sacred haven for your life; no object in your space should evoke a bad memory. Hold the item in your hand. Does it make you happy? Does it transport you to a place of joy and peace?
- VERY IMPORTANT: If an item has good energy and memories, but has not been used in a long time, it might feel wasteful to let it go. Re-frame those thoughts to a place of gratitude where you have the abundance in your life to let dear items go to someone else who needs them and will use them.
- Objects need to go if they are in need of repair, do not fit, are out of style, have not been worn, or have negative memories attached to them (last time you wore that sweater, you had a terrible argument). If holding an object evokes a negative memory, it’s not worth it: give or toss it.
- Question to NOT ask: will I need this again?
Honoring your memories
According to Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Tidyingup.com) people often hang on to things from the past because they think throwing them away will dishonor a treasured memory. But in fact, leaving them in boxes or untouched is the actual act of dishonoring those memories. Discarding sentimental items such as family photos involves picking them up, holding them, and reliving the memories attached to them, which is more honor than has been bestowed on them for years.
LET’S DO THIS!
- Clothes – You probably wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time. If it does not fit, if it has not been worn in the last couple of years, if there is something about it that always makes you hang it back up and choose something else, let it go.
- Seasonal Clothes – Many people store seasonal clothes, especially if closet space is limited. Generally speaking, this is a bad idea. You will forget what you have, repurchase similar items, and have difficulty getting to the items you need on unseasonably cool/warm days.
- Random Cords and Plugs – Probably for some long lost appliance. Toss it.
- Unwanted Gifts – Adios.
- Packaging for items, user manuals, etc. – Rarely will these be used again. Most manuals are online. Ciao.
- Bills, credit cards statements, check registers – If you really need them, scan them in and make computer folders. Then toss…or shred.
- Paper – This includes magazines, paper clippings, articles, letters, notes, cards, and photographs. Keep the best and toss the rest. BETTER: scan it all and toss it all. You probably will never look at it again, but it will be easier to let go of notes and photos that have sentimental value if you have a copy of it in a folder.
TRAP: Don’t let your computer become your next area of clutter. Keep your files neat and only save what you will truly look at.
IDEA: get an external hard drive and a scanner. Scan in important papers, tax docs, etc., and make an organized file system for your PDFs/JPGs of your papers and photos. If you are really terrified of losing these papers, buy 2 external hard drives. Make a duplicate for your safety deposit box and have the other copy at home where you can add to it. Every month or two, bring home the copy from the safety deposit box, update it, and then take it back.
NOTE ON PHOTOS: Scan photos and place them in a rotating photo album or picture frame. If they are not frame-able either scan and toss, or toss. It’s easier than ever to dispose of this kind of clutter without losing the memories attached to photos and other paper objects. Does scanning seem like an endless job? It might be, but how many of us are sitting in front of the television doing absolutely nothing? Scanning is a mindless task and can be easily done during TV time. Scan it, check your work, toss it.
More advice from the experts
When things are tidy and/or organized, life patterns follow that energy. Do not have too many things in a small space. If things need an organizer get one, but if that organizer is purchased solely so that you can keep more things, then that purchase is enabling you. The real solution: free yourself of the things.
A sterile environment is the other extreme. Your space should be an outward representation of your inward soul.
Unfinished projects and things that are broken should be discarded. Ask yourself, are you really going to finish that project today/this week? If the answer is no, or vaguely in the future, it needs to go.
SUCCESS STRATEGY ACCOMPLISHED! Your environment will now support your goals, rather than sabotage them!
Once you have your space organized, the energy in your environment will begin to support your goals. A clean kitchen stocked with healthy options becomes a haven for health and a happy place for engaging with friends and family. Your bedroom becomes your sanctuary and place of rest and peace. Your closet is a warm and welcoming place with options that work for you, and with all options that can be used. When all items spark joy and have a purpose that supports your goals, you will begin to feel the effects of Feng Shui and the transformative effects that a clutter free space can elicit.
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