Organizing, Redesign & Staging

Thursday, January 31, 2008

"Improve Your Health By Getting Organized"

When I do presentations or classes, I usually mention the benefits of organizing. Since I am touting organization as a great thing, I figure I should back it up. Why be organized?

I came across an interesting take on this in an article by Susan Stevenson. I have never really talked about the health benefits per se, other than reducing stress which impacts your physical health. Thus I am sharing an edited version, and plan on including some of the points the next time someone asks me why it is so important to be so organized. (FYI, the caps are author's)

One of the best reasons to get organized is that excessive clutter and disorganization can actually be HAZARDOUS to your health.

  1. CLEAR THE AIR More than 60 million people in the United States have asthma or allergies. According to the American Lung Assn, reducing DUST is one of the most effective ways to control asthma and allergy triggers.
  2. PUT A LID ON IT Use CLOSED storage, such as clear plastic bins and decorative photo boxes. Before purchasing the containers, though, be thoughtful of the SIZE, depending on what and how much will go into them. If the containers are too small, the lids may not fit properly, or you may need too many of them. Boxes that are too large for their contents may "attract" other items that do not belong and become catch-all containers.
  3. PURGE YOUR PERIODICALS Piles of MAGAZINES and NEWSPAPERS catch clutter and are difficult to clean. Keep a newspaper only until you get the next edition. If you have a collection of magazines that go unread month after month, let them go. Many periodicals provide their subscribers online access to current and past articles.
  4. GET COOKING A 2002 Food and Drug Administration report stated that food consumed outside the home was approximately 47 percent of consumers' food budget, compared to 33 percent in 1970. This food was also less NUTRITIOUS -- higher per meal in calories, total fat and saturated fat, as well as was lower in fiber, calcium, and iron.
  5. MAKE A LIST Keep a list with you of groceries that you FREQUENTLY buy. You will be able to get through the store more quickly, and with more money in your pocket, if you have and stick to a COMPLETE list. To help you get your list started, some grocery stores allow you to see your in-store purchases online, using your savings club card number.
  6. PLAN YOUR MENUS Many books and online services provide menus with grocery lists to help with meal PLANNING.
  7. TO YOUR DOOR Consider having your groceries DELIVERED and avoid the after-work-before-dinner crunch at the store. This will help prevent forgotten items, and may also decrease IMPULSE purchases.
  8. LEAD THE WAY Tripping over TOYS can be an occupational hazard of parenthood. Floors littered with toys can also be hazardous to little feet. And older children's toys left scattered about can present a choking hazard to younger children. Here a few things you can do to help your little (and not-so-little) ones keep their toys off the floor:
    > SET A GOOD EXAMPLE Those little eyes are watching to see whether you DO what you tell them to do. The best way to teach your children to put their things away is to do it yourself.
    > REQUIRE IT OF THEM Children as young as 2 years old can be TAUGHT to put their toys away. Before they can get out a new group of toys, or play with toys in another room, have them put away the first set of toys. Even if you do the majority of the putting away, make sure they HELP.
    > MAKE IT EASY FOR THEM Give your children clearly DEFINED spaces to put their toys and clothes. To make it educational, color code containers by child or type of toy, or LABEL them with the contents or the child's initials.
  9. TAKE IT EASY For many people, STRESS is a part of life. Too much stress, however, can contribute to ulcers, migraines, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Stress can also can also interfere with bodily processes and AGGRAVATE existing medical problems. Many things in life are beyond our control, but being PREPARED can help make unpleasant experiences less stressful.
  10. CARVE OUT A SPACE FOR A HOBBY The Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health both recommend LEISURE activity to help relieve stress. If organizing your whole house, or even a whole room, seems too overwhelming, clear out a little nook in the garage, the family room, or your bedroom, where you can do something you really ENJOY.
  11. LET SOME THINGS GO Do you feel like you need a bigger house to hold all your STUFF? The more you have, the more you have to clean, store, organize, pack, unpack, etc. Take a fresh look at the things around you and ask yourself whether they are truly useful, beautiful, or enjoyable. If not, move them out to make ROOM for the things that are most special to you.
  12. ONE STEP AT A TIME Are you stressed out by this list? Don't try to do it all at once. Start with the area that would have the biggest IMPACT in your home. Just get some MOMENTUM, and maybe by this time next year, you will be living in a healthier, happier home.