With spring in the air, it’s possible you’re opening the windows, airing out the couch cushions, and cleaning out the garage.
If you’re also hoping to drop some pounds, you might want to consider decluttering your whole house, or at least your kitchen. One study I came across found that people with messy or cluttered homes were 77% more likely to be overweight or obese, and another study found people in cluttered kitchens tend to overeat more.
If you’re ready to clean up your house in order to improve your health, here’s how to get started:
For the love of peanut butter, please clean out your cabinets and cupboards.
Take everything out. Wipe down all of the surfaces and remove all the spilled oregano, sticky leftover honey, and dried up cereal bits. Meticulously go through all of the items you had in there and throw out things that are expired. Next, seriously consider whether or not this food or food product has a place in your life.
When you put it back, make sure it’s well-organized.
Put your most commonly used items in the cabinet closest to you. Put like items together (baking, nuts, oils, dried grains, pastas, etc.). Make sure you can easily reach everything, especially things you use most days.
Follow the exact same steps for your fridge and freezer.
Throw out stuff that’s gone by. Check the dates on your condiments. Wipe up the spilled maple syrup. Make your refrigerator a place you’d like to visit.
Clear off surfaces.
Our kitchen table has a bad habit of gathering stuff (yes, I blame the table). It’s right by the front door, so it often has mail, hats and gloves, or other random bits of definitely not food related items on it. This makes it very difficult to imagine sitting down to dinner and adds to my overall stress level. Do you have the same problem? Make sure there’s a place for everything and put it all away before you start cooking dinner.
Counter clutter = stress.
If you have every appliance in the house out on your counter, ask yourself: do I really need the stand up mixer to live there all the time? The bread machine? The blender? It’s really up to you, but if you don’t use an appliance every day, or at least every other day, I’d strongly consider putting it away. I use our blender pretty much every day, but I still put the giant base in the cupboard after I’m done using it, because having it out just stresses me out because it takes up so much space.
When you’re done with the kitchen, tackle the other rooms one at a time.
Feeling like you have to get your entire house ship-shape in one day is overwhelming and likely to cause you to give up before you even get started. Donate and throw away unused items.
Make the whole family get involved.
Unless you live all by yourself, the clutter in the house is not caused by you alone. Get kids and spouses involved, and have them each go through their own spaces. Tackle common areas together.
Once your house is clear from clutter, come up with a plan to keep it that way.
A great place to start is that when you bring a new item in (toy, book, clothing, etc.), you also get rid of something.