Monday, January 21, 2013

Cut the chaos, lose the weight. Part 1

If weight loss and getting in shape are your fitness goals this new year, gym memberships and personal training might seem like the logical place to start. But if you're like lots of other well-intentioned folks who can't seem to get a routine going, I suggest you shift your vision towards things that might be holding you back. To explain what I' talking about I'm bringing in some professionals to give your life, not just your body, a makeover!

Stephanie Pesceone with, Dirty Deeds, a housecleaning and organizing company is up first. I asked her for her insight on why getting your house in order could be just the thing to turn your Resolution into Reality.  

Should Housekeeping Be Part of Your Wellness Practice?
Last fall, a friend of mine who was struggling to find balance in her life came to me for help. She told me that she always felt guilty for not having the time or energy to take care of her home. Her long to-do list was a constant source of low-level stress, and she felt demoralized when, after a hard day of work, she came home to a cluttered house. Knowing that I was looking for extra work, she asked if I would help her with cleaning and organizing. I was delighted to help, and I soon had several more friends ask for my services.

I quickly discovered a gratifying aspect of my new occupation: my clients were physically and emotionally healthier because their homes were clean and organized. They were in better spirits and less stressed, and not just when they were at home.

Many of us struggle with being overworked and overcommitted. We put off housework until the weekend, hoping that we’ll have the energy and time to deal with it then. When the weekend rolls around, we feel guilty for spending time on ourselves – going for a hike, having brunch with friends, getting a massage – rather than tackling the chores we assigned for our days off.

It’s hard to enjoy that long hike in the Gorge when you’re kicking yourself for not cleaning out your overflowing closets. It’s hard not to feel guilty when Monday rolls around and your bathroom is still a mess. Your home should be a sanctuary from guilt and stress, not a cause of it. So how do you change that?
  1. Set A Date  Committing to getting your home organized and clean is the first step. Set a date (or series of dates) and identify exactly what you are going to work on. Every home has a disaster area or two¾a junk drawer that barely opens, a bulging broom closet, an out-of-sight but not out-of-mind garage or basement. Identify what areas of your home are causing you stress and tackle them! (A tip: hiring a housekeeper, or even a friend, to help with this step provides accountability and motivation.)
  2. Reduce, Recycle  Once you’ve organized and cleaned the major stress area(s), address general clutter. Clutter weighs on us mentally. It makes it hard to focus (and hard to clean). Go through your closet¾if an item hasn’t been worn in a year, donate it. Consider instituting the “one in, one out” rule: if you buy a new garment to add to your closet, an old one has to go. Don’t hold on to clothes that don’t fit. If you are committed to losing weight and fitting in to those smaller sizes, that’s great. When you do, treat yourself to new threads! And please don’t ever hold on to too-big clothes. (Ok, we all need one pair of “fat pants”, but there is no excuse to hold on to anything larger than your current size.) Those stacks of magazines in the corner that you swear you’ll get around to reading? They’re collecting dust. Recycle them. The junk mail on the kitchen counter that you’ve been meaning to sort through? Recycle or shred it. How about your pantry? Is there food hiding in the back that expired years ago? Toss it.
  3. Maintain (or Get Help)  Now you have a clean slate – and one that will be easier to keep clean. If you find your home backsliding into messiness and it’s causing your stress, hire help! Most of us deal with chaos and clutter in the outside world on a daily basis. Making your home a place of sanctuary from this upheaval is a gift to yourself.
Cheers to you in the New Year!

Stephanie Pesceone is the owner of Dirty Deeds LLC, a house cleaning and home organizing company in Portland, Oregon. You can reach her at at 503-913-2626  and sbonawitz at comcast dot net.

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