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Posts Tagged ‘clutter’

As we round the corner and move towards 2018, do you still have any items on your “to do” list that you wanted to accomplish in 2017? I know I still have a few things on my list which will be pushed into the new year. At the start of the New Year, I enjoy boxing up old files and starting new files for the upcoming year. It is also fun to get a new calendar – another opportunity to start fresh and organize your work and personal life.

For many of us, a New Year is a fresh slate and we vow to . . . . . (you fill in the blank).

What is important to you? Let’s look at a few items and see if any resonate with you. Perhaps these ideas will help you get started on your goals for 2018.

Do you want be healthier? Let’s say that in 2018, you decide to focus on eating healthier or being more active. If you want to eat healthier, start by visiting http://choosemyplate.gov where you will find Super Tracker – an online food, activity and weight management tool that you can customize. Also explore USDA’s What’s Cooking? Mixing Bowl – a site full of tasty recipes and meal planning tools.

Still looking for additional ways to cut calories? Check out the tips shared on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) website. An easy jump-start to eating healthier is to fill half of your plate with vegetables and fruits.

Perhaps your beverage choices contribute to excess calories. It might be time to Rethink Your Drink. What can you do to reduce calories?

Do you want to re-energize and move more? Most of us can make improvements in this area. Set your activity goals and find an activity that moves you. Not sure where to start? Check out the CDC’s physical activity basics for adults. If you have 10 minutes to move then start with those 10. Make it a goal to add another 10 minutes during lunchtime and finish your day with another 10 minutes of activity. You will have added 30 minutes of physical activity to your day in 3 easy chunks!  This infographic from the American Heart Association may help you get started on your circuit training activity plan.

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Create Your Own Circuit Workout. Source: American Heart Association. https://healthyforgood.heart.org/move-more/infographics/create-a-circuit-home-workout.

Clutter getting you down? Perhaps your goal for 2018 is to de-clutter and simplify your life. University of Illinois Extension has a great website to help you get started. Not sure where to start? Use the Clutter Emergency Card to help you sort what you should toss, keep or give away. Start small in one area, and once it is de-cluttered, move to another area.

2018

In the New Year, what challenge will you take on? Share your ideas in the comments!

 

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

 

Sources:

American Heart Association (2016). Create Your Own Circuit Workout at Home. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/GettingActive/Create-Your-Own-Circuit-Workout-at-home_UCM_484683_Article.jsp#.WjvNxk2WwaE

American Heart Association (2016). Why is physical activity so important for health and wellbeing? https://healthyforgood.heart.org/Move-more/Articles/Why-is-physical-activity-so-important-for-health-and-wellbeing

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). Cutting Calories. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/cutting_calories.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). How Much Activity Do Adults Need? https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). Rethink Your Drink. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/drinks.html

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). http://choosemyplate.gov

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl. https://whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/

University of Illinois Extension. Dealing with Clutter.  http://extension.illinois.edu/clutter/dealing.html

 

 

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There are varied findings on the effects of clutter in the home or workplace. According to a study published in 2011 by the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute, the more visual stimuli in our environment, the less we are able to focus. According to this research, an uncluttered and organized home and office will help reduce irritability and distraction.  It will also promote productivity and better information processing. Clutter can drain us of energy and interrupt some of our daily processes, like getting to work or school on time. For some, however, a messy desk can spark creativity, according to a recent study by Kathleen Vohs and colleagues at the University of Minnesota. Results from one of their experiments showed that participants in a disorderly room were more creative than participants in an orderly room.

So if your clutter doesn’t bother you or anyone else… embrace it! If it does bother someone, read on…

Have you ever been frustrated by not being able to find a bill or invitation?  Does your child frantically rush to find his backpack, shoes or library books in the final minutes before the school bus comes? Is it a challenge to coordinate your family’s many activities on a central schedule? My recent frustration with all of these scenarios led me on an organization journey for a few trouble spots in my home, namely paperwork and the family “drop spot” (where everyone dumps their belongings once inside the house).

There’s an old saying that still rings true… have a place for everything, and put everything in its place. The first part of that takes some trouble-shooting; the second part takes forming a habit to maintain the organization.

To help create a “place for everything,” I conducted an online search using terms such as ‘family command center’ and ‘family launch pad’ and collected a lot of ideas and pictures. Then I figured out where the problem spots were in my home and what organizational tool or process might help with that. With concern for saving space, time, and money, I was able to solve most of our issues by adding a few cubbies and hooks where needed.

Image

Putting everything in its place… ah, this is a continuing adventure, one that I’ve brought my whole family on. Sometimes we need to remind each other to put our shoes away instead of in the middle of the floor (myself included). Overall, the time and effort put into organization has made a big difference in keeping our living area more tidy.  It has also helped us in getting out the door in the morning with a little less chaos.

So if you notice clutter becoming a frustration, steps to tame it for your situation may start you on you a journey of your own.

Sources:

McMains S, Kastner S. “Interactions of top-down and bottom-up mechanisms in human visual cortex.” Journal of Neuroscience. 2011 Jan 12;31(2):587-97. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21228167

Doheny, K. “Clutter Control: Is Too Much ‘Stuff’ Draining You? Get your clutter under control, and your attitude and health just may improve, too.” WebMD Feature Archive, Reviewed on June 19, 2008. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/clutter-control

Vohs, Kathleen D., Joseph P. Redden, and Ryan Rahinel. “Physical Order Produces Healthy Choices, Generosity, Conventionality, Whereas Disorder Produces Creativity.” (2013) Psychological Science, 24 (9), 1860-1867. http://www.carlsonschool.umn.edu/faculty-research/facultyPM.aspx?x500=vohsx005

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Cheryl Barber Spires, SNAP-Ed Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, West Region, spires.53@osu.edu

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Clutter means different things to different people, but can generally be categorized into the following groups:

• Unused things or things with no sentimental value

• Unfinished things

• Disorganized things

• Too many things in too small a place

Clutter says something about you! Maybe you are holding on to the past, unable to make up your mind, or just seriously messy! Whatever the case, clutter holds you back. office_clutter

The main clutter styles are listed below. Recognizing your clutter behavior is the first step towards changing the habits that create it.

• The Accumulator – Aka, the classic pack rat, acquires more and more things and lets nothing go, thinking that items may be valuable someday or indecisive about what to do with them.

• The Collector – Seems to collect specific items (like commemorative plates), but collections are rarely complete, and lead to starting other collections.

• The Concealer – Neatly labels and packs away clutter in storage containers. While organized, the Concealer keeps everything instead of making decisions about what to keep and what to discard.

• The Tosser – Has no clutter problem. But, throws away not only their own things, but everyone else’s too. The Tosser has little sentimental attachment to things and has difficulty understanding others’ attachments to things.

Clutter adds about 40% more housework in the average American home, and can challenge even the most organized person. Sometimes you just don’t know what to do with something, have no place to put it, or don’t have time to deal with it.

Key Principles for Creating Order – If you want to clear out clutter, focus your mind on creating order. Getting organized means changing habits. You make organization happen by taking control. ACT to reduce clutter:

• Assess the situation

• Commit to a plan

• Take action

Get rid of things you don’t use and that have no personal value. Start small and set realistic goals. For example, begin with the kitchen catchall drawer. Attack clutter drawer by drawer, cupboard by cupboard, shelf by shelf.

The QUICK method, detailed in Cut the Clutter and Stow the Stuff, edited by Lori Baird, is a compilation of techniques and advice that many expert organizers use to create order.

Quantify  – Think about your clutter and the space you have to store it. What are your needs? Why are they important? Maybe you love books, but your bookshelves are a mess. Write down how you want to organize them (author, subject, fiction, nonfiction, etc.). Set aside time like a regularly scheduled appointment. By assessing and sorting your books, you have begun to quantify your clutter.

Unload – Getting rid of clutter means letting it go. Things can be given away, donated to charity, sold at a garage sale, or thrown away. One way or another, items must leave the premises.

Isolate – After unloading, isolate the items that are left. These are the things you have decided to keep, so organize them in a way that makes sense to you. For example, you’ve gone through the Christmas decorations, thrown out the threadbare garlands, and separated the tangled lights. Now, sort the items. Fragile ornaments in one group, wreaths in another, wrapping paper and bows in another. You get the idea.

Contain – Decide what storage containers to use for your things and where to put them (bookshelf, closet, garage, etc.). Don’t buy new containers if you don’t need them. Just make sure that containers are adequate for the content. Now you can see the results of your efforts: Items neatly labeled and stored in a practical location.

Keep it up – Maintaining organization is an ongoing process. No worries. The hard part is over! Just quantify, unload, isolate, and contain as needed. With a system for creating order already in place, eliminating clutter is easy.

With a little determination, you can conquer clutter.

Written by: Kathryn K Dodrill, MA, CFCS Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Washington County.

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ross County.

Sources:

  • Dean, Shea“Clutter & Chaos, How I got out From Under This Mess.” Reader’s Digest, May 2002:      90-97.
  • Garson, Christine “Closet Cases.” Real Simple, Oct. 2003: 158-167.
  • Baird, Lori, ed.Cut the Clutter and Stow the Stuff: The QUICK Way to Bring Lasting Order to Household Chaos. USA: Yankee Publishing, Inc., 2002.
  • Bykofsky , Sheree500 Terrific Ideas for Organizing Everything: The Best Techniques and Tools for Organizing Anything and Everything in your Life. New York: Round Stone Press, Inc., 1992.
  • Lambert, MaryClearing the Clutter for Good Feng Shui. New York: Barnes & Noble Inc., 2001.
  • Smallin, Donna Organizing Plain & Simple: A Ready Reference Guide With Hundreds of Solutions to Your Everyday Clutter Challenges. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing, 2002.
  • www.realsimple.com

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organized closet

Organized Closet

Spring time is here and many of us think about spring cleaning.  Now is a good time to sort, throw out, recycle or give away items that you don’t want or need anymore.

Overwhelmed at the thought of tackling this task?   If so, start small, gain momentum and keep moving forward.

An easy place to start is your closet.  I always want to switch from fall/winter clothes to my spring/summer wardrobe.  Look over your winter clothes and ask yourself these questions.  If you can’t decide, give it away– someone can use it.

  • Do I love it?
  • Am I keeping it because I got it on sale?
  • Is the color right/wrong for me?
  • How do I feel when I wear this item?
  • Do I think/hope I’ll lose weight so I can wear it?

Ask a friend or family member to give you an honest opinion about your clothes.  If you don’t feel good wearing it, remove this clutter from your life.  Your closet will have more room and it will be easier to locate and organize your clothes.

Another tip:  if you buy a new blouse, top, jacket- great!  Just remember to pick one or two items out of your closet that look tired or worn out & move them out.  Recycle, sell or give them away.  You’ll feel good about it and your closet will be less crowded.

Paper, paper, paper – what do I do with all of the paper?

Organized Files
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Use File folders to Organize Papers

Sort, file, and recycle.  If you have a stack of recipes, look through them, decide if you must keep them and organize them in a notebook, file folder or recipe book.

Give magazines to a local shelter or recycle them.  If you want to keep an article, cut it out, file it & recycle the magazine.

File your receipts in an accordian file by store, utilities or company name.  When  you get a receipt, file it or throw it out.  Don’t let stacks pile up on your desk.

Sort your mail daily.  Put your bills in one location- perhaps a pretty file folder.  Recycle the junk mail being careful to shred or remove your name and address.  If you receive catalogs that you no longer have an interest in, give the company a call and request that they stop sending the paper catalogs.  This will reduce your clutter and help the environment.

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