The Benefits of Organization

When I first got married I was a “messy.”

Messy at work

Messy at home

Messy in the car

Messy pretty much everywhere!

It’s funny to think about because it was only John and I. Honestly – why was it so hard to be neat and organized? I’m not really certain, but I’m pretty sure it’s because I was lazy. After work I didn’t want to spend time cleaning the house or cooking so we’d just go out to eat and then see a movie. On the weekends vacuuming seemed like such a waste of time, and it was much more fun to go shopping or visiting with friends.

Once the children started coming along my organization skills picked up considerably, and by the time we brought baby number 5 home from the hospital I finally had my act together.

Why am I mentioning organizational skills on a weight loss/maintenance blog? I am mentioning it because I think it is important when working on such an important area of your life like losing weight to get healthy, it’s also important to think about other areas of your life that could help you in your endeavor to get healthy and fit.

And I believe that being organized in general can be helpful when attacking a weight issue. At least it has been for me.

Here are some things I do to stay organized, even with seven kids: (And although I TRY, I’m definitely not saying I’ve got it all together!! Definitely not!)

I try and only touch papers once. Whether it’s mail or papers the kids drag in, I look at it, file it, toss it, or handle it.

I loved the FlyLady website and daily emails. For a time I followed her plans and it really helped teach me how to keep my house cleaning without cleaning all day long! (And by the way – I don’t like cleaning!)

I have a set schedule for the big jobs – like cleaning windows, the garage, the game closet. That way if it gets messy I know that it will get clean shortly.

I involve the family. Even though I have a large family who can help, I don’t want them to feel as though they are constantly cleaning. So we have small things to do each day, and then have a Friday cleaning time, where I make a list of everything that needs doing and they pick what they want to do. We can clean our whole big house in about an hour. Then we are done!  Here’s what a list may look like:

  • dust everything
  • sweep all the wood floors
  • mop the kitchen
  • general straighten
  • organize library books
  • clean all bathrooms
  • vacuum house
  • straighten up pantry
  • clean your own room

As a reward, after we are done, we have homemade pizza and watch a little kid movie. It’s amazing how fast cleaning happens when something good is waiting at the end.

I make daily to-do lists. This helps a lot – even if I don’t get it all done.

I look at a room as I’m leaving it. When I leave the bathroom I take a quick glance over my shoulder and see if there is anything I need to take out with me, or something I should put away before I walk out. Training myself to do this has helped a lot. Now if only the kids did this too!

Being organized around the house has helped me with my weight maintenance. Because I don’t have to spend a lot of time and/or energy with the household chores I find it enjoyable to plan meals, precook foods, and fix healthy snacks for everyone. It also frees up exercise time without guilt.

How do you feel? Do you think that trying to be organized can help you in achieving your goals? Diane

One place I still don’t have any good organizational skills is the car. If you have any “keep the car clean” tips I’d love to hear them!

34 thoughts on “The Benefits of Organization

  1. 'Drea says:

    Great tips. I’m headed over to FlyLady to see if there are some additional strategies that might help.

    Right now, I have a pack with a friend. If something should happen to me, she is to rush over and tidy up so no one thinks ill of me. 😉
    .-= ‘Drea´s last blog ..Food Nostalgia =-.

  2. Cammy@TippyToeDiet says:

    Love your tips! (But I couldn’t handle the flylady emails, so in a burst of cleaning my subscriptions, I cleaned that one out. *G*) I do think organization helps with healthier living (not to mention helping on finances too!)

    As for the car, I’m a messy car person, too, and I’m having “some” progress by keeping an old kitchen waste basked in the garage, where it’s handy for car clean-outs every few days.
    .-= Cammy@TippyToeDiet´s last blog ..Gym Evaluations are Underway! =-.

  3. Diane says:

    I LOVE Fly lady ! I have been following her for several years now ( and she is now on Facebook). I am one of those “born organized ” people who just liked the idea of having the email reminders. ( I don’t wear shoes in the house because several studies have shown that walking barefoot improves your memory skills). Like you, I involve the whole family. This is true with cleaning, planing, organizing, shopping, cooking and so on. I see these things as real life skills that every human being must know how to do, and there is no better way to teach than in a hands on lab sort of experience.

    For clean cars, we make it a rule that when we arrive home, EVERYONE clears out their trash, belongings and so forth. There is no eating in the car, it gets washed and vacuumed out once a month . It;s not that difficult with an only – I can fully understand how hard it is with a lot of kids ! ( I am the oldest of 5 and my dad had real strict rules about the car because it easily fell into chaos)
    .-= Diane´s last blog ..Weigh ,weigh, blow the man down =-.

  4. JourneyBeyondSurvival says:

    I love these tips. Thank you for sharing them. I’m going to take a look at FlyLady because I really need the help.

    As for the car, we do much the same as Diane above.

    Also, we keep 4 gallon garbage bags in the glove box. It’s just one more trip, and for right now I look at it as extra exercise. They have to bring in anything they bring out.
    .-= JourneyBeyondSurvival´s last blog ..FitBloggin’…Huh? =-.

  5. Alissa says:

    I keep a grocery sack in the car when we travel for trash, that way all I have to do it throw it away when we get home without have stuff all over the place. Organization is the key to weight loss. I feel so much better when the house is clean. It lifts my mood which is important to not giving in to emotional eating.
    .-= Alissa´s last blog ..Struggling =-.

  6. Gina Fit by 41 Maybe 42 says:

    I can’t seem to function if things are unorganized, which may explain a lot of my problems because my home isn’t completely organized nor unpacked, yet. We keep moving, so it’s in and out of boxes, what goes where, no – move it there. Insane. It’s so much easier to look at a computer screen and pretend the chaos isn’t there. 😛

    Very good post!
    .-= Gina Fit by 41 Maybe 42´s last blog ..Looking for Something? =-.

  7. Lara (Thinspired) says:

    These are some great tips, Diane! Love the one about only holding papers once. I have a really bad habit of letting paperwork build up!
    I really think being organized in life somehow translates to a healthier lifestyle overall.
    .-= Lara (Thinspired)´s last blog ..Not Enough Green =-.

  8. Angie says:

    I use to “do” Fly Lady, too! She has great ideas. The way I keep the car/van “somewhat” clean is to clean it out while I’m getting gas. The garbage can is right there so instead of standing idle while the tank fills up I throw things out. It helps keep our van, again, “somewhat” clean! ~ Angie
    .-= Angie´s last blog ..Go G*R*E*E*N =-.

  9. Cindy says:

    The car is not a problem but I have a hard time tossing out food magazines. I use to follow Flylady but hated all the e-mails.
    .-= Cindy´s last blog ..TIRED =-.

  10. Laura Miller says:

    Oh, Diane. You just don’t know how much I needed this tonight. I feel like an unorganized, out of control mess!!! Have you ever thought about being a personal trainer or a life coach or something like that???

  11. Jaime says:

    Great post Diane. This is a big issue for me. I have tried fly lady a few times but always keep quitting. It really is about my laziness and I need to make it a habit. Or just do it even when I don’t want to like many other things in life. I would like to be able to keep the house in a way that it would take less than 20 mins to tidy things up at any given moment.
    .-= Jaime´s last blog ..Choices =-.

  12. Julia says:

    Great post – gosh it’s just easier for me to go to work or out than have to look at all the papers, kids shoes, lego laying around etc.
    I always feel like I’m the only one in the family who cares if the house is tidy etc.
    Every weekend I plan to tidy and get rid of stuff but then it’s to overwelming.

    I told the kids this week I am making lists of chores so they can start with the housework.

  13. 266 says:

    The organization / fitness connection becomes more and more apparent the further along this journey that I get. I am in dire need of getting rid of the clutter in my life, and will be tackling that in the near future!
    .-= 266´s last blog ..Luck Of The Draw =-.

  14. vickie says:

    good post – clutter and weight sure seem like they are related. Skills needed for one apply to the other.

    $$$$$$$$$$$ also seems to be a factor. as in not dealing with it very well. Maybe we have just as hard a time budgeting the reality of what we can spend the same we we had a hard time budgeting our calories.

    Paperwork/mail/legal stuff also pops up a lot in weight loss blog land. I have heard of weight loss bloggers driving around for years with expired plates or driver’s licenses. Once they get one month over – are just paralized to DO something about it. Just like getting Xlbs over.
    .-= vickie´s last blog ..pairings =-.

  15. Mia says:

    I just LOVE this post!!

    I am very organized by nature. It is one big way that I control my stress. This may sound weird but a messy room has too much energy in it or maybe there is just too much stimulation to my system-which I don’t need!!

    I do a lot of what you mentioned already except for that paper rule. I always have a stack of papers on the counter which need to be addressed! I am going to try your “Touch paper only once” rule.

    As for the car, whenever I get out of it, I grab all the garbage that I can see. The kids do eat in the car because sometimes after school, I have a lot of driving left to do and so they eat snacks in the car. I find this keeps the noise and arguments down to a minimal. (Who isn’t cracky when they’re hungry.) And I just remind the kids to grab their stuff as they get out of the car. About every 2 weeks I run it through the drive-thru car wash and vacuum it out myself at their vacuum station for $.75. It works for me. (While I’m in the car washer itself, I’ll take a wet-one and wipe things down.)

  16. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    Diane, great post! I am not very good at any of the cleaning & organization stuff! I am lucky that it has not hampered my healthy lifestyle because being fit & healthy is too important to me.. BUT, it does bug me mentally. I absolutely have to be better at this! My time mananagement skills are not the best!
    .-= Jody – Fit at 52´s last blog ..Health Care: How is it not a moral issue? =-.

  17. Donna says:

    Love your posts. I’m disorganized in the house, but I’ve made a habit of keeping the car clean. Most stores such as walmart have garbage cans near the entrance, as do gas stations, etc. Every time I stop, I look for garbage I can get rid of. Keep a few extra shopping bags in the car to help. Also, I use the time I’m waiting in the car to pick kids up from activities to clean out the car; I stuff the garbage bags full of junk- one to pitch, one to take into house; I pull the floor mats out and shake them out. I keep a package of wet wipes in the glove compartment for kids sticky hands; they also work well for cleaning up dust around the center console and sticky door handles.

  18. Larkspur says:

    Such a helpful post… really been on my mind lately. My life keeps changing and I let that keep me from the organization that would help me get more out of it… think I’ll go visit Flylady now 🙂
    .-= Larkspur´s last blog ..This Post Is Stuck =-.

  19. Miz says:

    ok Im late to the party 🙂 but I wanted to say YESYESYES to all of this.
    Especially, for me right now, the involving the family.
    I found I RESENTED the cleaning of the clutter when it wasnt my mess (good or bad. right or wrong. it was how I felt) and that resentment spilled over into other areas of my life and it wasnt healthy.
    Now I make it a game (child) or I use looootttsa praise afterward (husband. shhhh :)) and Im farfar more happy and calm.
    .-= Miz´s last blog ..The silly side of Fitbloggin. =-.

  20. julie says:

    I have been getting those flylady emails for a long time, don’t even read them. I’m a huge slob, but now I’m inspired to read those emails, maybe do one thing they say, at least to start. I would really like to be more organized, cleaner.
    .-= julie´s last blog ..A Week away from the Gym =-.

Leave a Reply