It’s Get Organized Month, and it’s the perfect time to follow through on your resolutions and organize your life.
First up, getting organized at work helps you reduce stress, and it can be great for your career. Get started.
Is your car always a cluttered mess? It can make everything from appointments to grocery shopping take longer, so get organized.
Don’t let icons crowd your desktop. Get organized on your computer with these easy tips.
Do you feel like clutter is everywhere in your life? These tips can help you get organized throughout your home.
Organize your way to a healthier diet with meal prepping.
Organize your health and wellness by tracking everything from your calendar to your daily health habits.
Organize your family’s healthcare wishes, so you’ll always be prepared in an emergency or if someone gets seriously sick.
This year has been long and tiring, and for the last few weeks, I’ve been left wondering what I could say about my goals for 2016. Honestly, I hadn’t been thinking about goals for the new year, I was too busy trying to get through the day.
Unlike last year, I don’t have a long list of the things I plan to work on. Instead, it will be a few important things that just keep coming to the top of my mind when I think about my life.
Live my life with the day-to-day in mind
I tend to focus on the long-term, big picture stuff, which means that relaxing and fun usually take the backseat. I need to make my own happiness a bigger priority, even when it’s in the face of my goals. Life is short, and I will regret those lost moments with my friends and family one day.
One of my best friends just got engaged to someone wonderful, and she’s the first person (besides my brother) whose wedding will actually be important to me. This both makes me feel like I’m getting old (I know, most of the people who follow this blog are laughing at me there), and makes me feel like, by not living in the moment, sometimes I’m missing out. And I do not want to miss a moment of the good stuff for her wedding.
I’ll be using some of the tips from this Health.com 30-day calendar to help me get started.
Learn something or do something
For example, I want to write books one day. However, when I get home after writing for work all day, I rarely sit and write fiction. I need to prioritize learning to improve the things I love, the things I want to have long-term importance in my life. I think that taking action on these passions will make me feel more fulfilled, even if I never get a book published.
Spend some time on myself everyday
I was cooking everyday, and now I’m not. I was getting enough sleep, and now I’m not. No matter how hectic things get, in 2016, I need to make time for myself a priority, both to be healthy and happy.
(I’m going to start by using the gift certificate for a massage that I got for Christmas!)
Cut back on the stuff in my life
To gear up for another move come the end February (I know, I can’t believe it’s been that close to a year already), I need to simplify my life. Get rid of all the clothes I never wear from my retail days, my 3 old pairs of boots that all have holes in them, and the old perfume bottles I’ve been moving from place to place, and make it easier on myself to live as a nomad. Hopefully this simple guide to de-clutter can help me get started.
Spend less time in the virtual world
I spend almost all of my time online. Part of it is my job, and part of it is my desire to know more about a field I want to spend the rest of my career in, and part of it is getting sucked into scrolling through my own personal Facebook and Twitter for no reason for the 50th time that day.
(Does anyone else struggle with the need to always make it back to the last thing you’d seen on social media? I know it’s silly, especially since I know how Facebook works and that it’s already not showing you everything it could, but I get such obsessive satisfaction from making it back to the beginning.)
There are things in the real world that I love doing, but instead, I spend almost all of my time, free and at work, buried in a computer. It’s time to bring some analog, some print, and some real world back into my life.
Follow along with me as I dive back into my passions, clean up, and move yet again in 2016 on our Instagram.
And you can use the improved Rally app or site to set your own healthy resolutions for 2016. From quitting smoking and taking your pills on time, to making time for laughter or exercise, Rally can help you have a healthier year.
I finally have something to sit on in my apartment! After 3 months, I’m mostly settled in.
Moving requires a lot of organization, and as I told you before, this was a rushed and unorganized move, which is probably exactly why it’s taken me this long to get settled.
You may not realize how much being organized (or disorganized) affects your life and even your health.
One study showed that you’re more likely to suffer from stress and depression if your house is cluttered and full of unfinished projects. (This was definitely my house for the last 3 months.) Long-term stress is tied to heart disease, digestive problems, poor sleep, obesity, and cancer.
This long to-do list at home can actually prevent the cortisol (a stress hormone) in your system from naturally lowering throughout the day. This affects your mood, sleep, health, and more.
Planning can also be key to a lot of healthy life decisions, and that takes organization. This slideshow from Good Housekeeping highlights what organization is doing for you:
- It reduces financial stress by avoiding late fees and unnecessary costs.
- It helps keep good relationships with loved ones by helping you to keep your mood up and avoid arguments over lost stuff, forgotten appointments, and errands.
- It increase your time for your favorite activities. Imagine every minute you’ve spent looking for your keys going toward your favorite TV show, music, or activity.
- It protects your health. If you forget to take your meds or schedule doctor appointments, you really could be putting your physical health at risk, so make sure you put things in places you’ll see them, organize your schedule, or even download an app to help remind you.
- It let’s you exercise more! One of the first things you lose from your schedule when things get crazy is workouts. Plus, when you’re constantly forgetting your gym bag, it’s an easy excuse to skip the gym.
- It let’s you eat healthier. Healthy cooking takes planning, like finding recipes and buying the right groceries. Snacks you grab on the go and dining out can be huge calorie bombs, so plan ahead!
- It helps keep your home healthy. One study found that dust can have arsenic, dead bugs, pollen, and dead skin in it. Plus, removing clutter can eliminate up to 40% of your housework.
Many people believe that we are a product of our environment and that a messy environment can affect all areas of your life, physical, mental, and emotional
Rally, our wellness tool, knows that organization can be an important part of your healthy journey, too, so it has a mission that challenges you to de-clutter for 10 minutes every day.
I finished unpacking and organizing all my bookshelves a few weeks ago but was waiting for my new couch to arrive before I shared pictures.
Those beautiful watercolor paintings on the wall are prints by Kelly Eddington, my high school art teacher and the wife of one of our Health Alliance employees.
Ignore that lamp on the floor. I just need one more side table in here!
In case you don’t remember, this is what the shelves looked like, before the gold shelf got here:
This is them now:
Everything is unpacked and on display, and finally getting to a place where I can use my living room feels so satisfying!
And now that I’m to this point, if I stick to the challenge of de-cluttering for a little bit every day, it should be easy to keep things looking nice.
Looking for some clever ways to clean up the messes in your house? Check out this list of 58 organization ideas and DIY projects.
Time to Move, Yet Again
My roommate just got a big job promotion and skipped town on me, which means that while I am thrilled for her, it’s time to move again.
I have moved 13 times since I started college in 2008. I went to school in Chicago, and so each year, I moved all my belongings up in the fall and then back down in the summer. Then my senior year, I moved to Manhattan… and then back to Chicago. And since I’ve been back in Central Illinois, it hasn’t been much better.
So you would think I would be a pro at the nomadic life, right? Wrong.
Moving still stresses me out. They say moving ranks high on the list of life events that cause the most stress, among things like death of a family member and divorce. I don’t know if that’s true, but by the time you get to lucky move number 13, it definitely starts to feel like it.
I’ve already signed a new lease and have until April to get everything out, which puts me in a pretty good situation. But I can feel it hanging over me like a storm cloud.
Even though you’d think the most stressful part of the process would be finding a new home, the truth is for me, that physically moving all my stuff is what I dread the most.
So here it is.
My Plan to Stay Sane for My ONLY Move in 2015
(No, really, I mean it. I refuse to move again until 2016.):
1. Make a list.
I’ll make the biggest list you’ve ever seen, so I don’t forget anything. I’m going to make a schedule, so I know which days I need to pack which rooms. Plus, this will remind me to set aside time for things like setting up my electricity, water, and renter’s insurance.
2. Do a little every day.
I’m going to plan it just right so that I get a load of stuff moved in each day when I commute before the big final furniture push. Because moving one load a day sounds totally doable, right?
3. I’m going to burn all my books…
That’s a lie. I love my books. But moving them for the 13th time will make me reconsider my life choices the next time I’m having trouble leaving Barnes & Noble without 6 new hardcovers. It’ll be great for my wallet! Positives people, focus on the positives.
4. Take my time.
I have two and a half weeks to make the switch, no need to go crazy trying to do it all the first weekend.
5. Clear out the clutter.
Each time I move, I swear I eliminate at least 3 boxes of stuff when I realize that half of the things I move, I WILL NEVER NEED AGAIN. What will go this time?! Round and round it goes! Where it lands, nobody knows…. DingDingDing! We have a winner! It’s time for those college notebooks to GO! (It’s wise to do this before physically moving them to the new place and discovering you don’t have anywhere to put any of it, trust me.)
6. Get help.
I’m going to wrangle every innocent passerby into helping me with the offer of cookies and all of the FREE things that I was planning to throw away or donate! Okay, not really. (Warning: Don’t actually welcome total strangers into your new home.) But I will torture all the family members who are still talking to me 13 moves in.
7. Stay fueled.
I’m going to get plenty of sleep and eat well. This means I will not binge on TV shows instead of sleeping. (Must not start House of Cards. Must not start House of Cards…) And I will eat a proper number of (preferably) healthy calories. Then I will have enough energy to move without replacing all bodily fluids with coffee, as I have in past moves.
8. Don’t fight the elements.
I will pay close attention to the weather, which I’m usually really bad about, so that I don’t try to move my mattress in a snowstorm and so that I do not fall on ice and break my hip.
9. Stay safe.
I will protect my back by packing correctly (heavy items in the right size boxes and on the bottom, not overpacking, etc, etc.), not falling on the ice from #8, wearing a brace when needed, and lifting with my knees. Also by having very little furniture.
10. Control myself.
I will not unpack EVERYTHING the first day I get there. My more obsessive habits usually take over, and I must have everything perfect before I will sit down. It’s exhausting. I will not do this.
11. Focus on the positives.
My, what a wonderful, long workout this is! My new apartment is newer and nicer and will therefore be much warmer than the older house I’ve been in, (my feet will finally thaw!). My complex has a gym! And pools! It is about five minutes from my work, getting rid of my long commute, wasted gas, and added miles on my car. And because I have almost no furniture, this is a wonderful opportunity to reinvent my home. Would I like to pretend I live on the beach? In a Frank Lloyd Wright house? The future? Or perhaps Downton Abbey? The options are endless! (Or, you know, whatever’s cheapest.)
12. Treat myself.
This means that I am buying ice cream post-move. Oh, and a terrarium. What is a terrarium you ask? They’re these awesome little plant ecosystems that you keep in glass jars and bowls in your house that look kind of like this:
They’re adorable, they never grow too big, and you only have to water them like every two weeks. Much better than a houseplant.
13. Find my normal.
Then I will resume my schedule of working/eating/cuddling my dog in bed to Netflix/sleeping. And then I can focus on my 2015 goals of finishing my novel, getting fit, and actually watching every Oscar-nominated movie of 2015 (and 2014… and 2013…)
So there you have it, the perfect plan, ready to go for your next (now) stress-free move! You’re welcome.
Wish me luck.
What Is Hoarding?
Lately, it seems like almost every cable TV channel has a show about hoarding and people who live in less-than-great conditions because they can’t let go of anything, even trash.
While these people represent extreme cases, even mild hoarding can be a problem. As we get older, we tend to hang onto things. This often creates dangerous living areas, especially for seniors who have issues with balance and falling.
Clutter can also lead to other problems. It makes it harder to keep track of things you need like bills, meds, keys, and contact info for your friends and loved ones.
People with hoarding disorders usually save things because they believe these things will be needed in the future, they have emotional significance, and because having these things makes them feel safer and more secure. Because of this, it’s very different than collecting, when people careful find and display special items, like stamps or model cars.
Hoarding animals is one of the most dangerous forms of hoarding. Pets in these situations often aren’t cared for properly, which is dangerous for them and for you because of the unsanitary conditions this can lead to.
Signs of Hoarding
- Cluttered living spaces, especially when it stops you from being able to use rooms for their intended purposes, like not being able to cook in the kitchen.
- Extreme attachment to unimportant objects.
- Letting trash build up to an unhealthy level.
- Keeping stacks of newspapers and junk mail, or collecting lots of useless items.
- Moving items from one pile to another without ever throwing anything away.
- Trouble making decisions about and organizing your stuff.
- Having a hard time letting others touch or borrow your things.
- Embarrassment over your home.
- Limited social interactions.
But hoarding is a treatable mental illness. Therapy where you talk with a doctor and certain drugs, usually ones used for depression, can help. Sticking to a treatment plan made with your doctor and support groups can also help you avoid hoarding.
You can also get help cleaning out your home with organizers, local assistance, or your friends and family. And you may find you have a lot of great things that you could donate to make someone else’s life better.
If hoarding affects you or someone you love, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. They can help you find a therapist who can work with you to make a treatment plan and recommend resources to help you clean up the clutter.