Back in elementary school, I had a teacher that frequently “reminded” us, “A messy desk means a messy mind”.
It turns out she was right, scientific research proves that clutter can have a negative effect on many aspects of our life, from our career, to our relationships, finances, and yes, even our health and wellness.
A cluttered home or workspace can lead to increased feelings of stress, depression, and unhappiness. Remember that time when you were facing a deadline at work and you had files, reports, and binders all over your desk? How much did you enjoy working on that project?
Clutter also has a negative effect on nutrition. Studies show that individuals with a messy kitchen are more likely to choose highly processed, fat and sugar laden foods. Also, if your cabinets and drawers are full of pots, pans, plastic takeout containers, broken measuring cups, and melted spatulas, it can be difficult to find the tools you need to cook a healthy meal. Additionally, if your fridge is loaded with jars of pickle juice, multiple containers of ketchup, expired milk, and a moldy mystery container, there is no place to put healthy fruits and veggies. And those 5 bags of potato chips in the pantry, well let’s just say they are not giving you a good return on your pantry shelf investment.
The point is, if preparing healthy meals in your kitchen is difficult or impossible, you are more likely to stop for take out, or binge on those chips in the pantry, neither of which supports healthy nutritional goals.
This month we are going to be working on decluttering our kitchens. Don’t worry. We will take it slowly. Over the next 4 weeks I will share a short project designed to help get your nutrition and your kitchen into tip-top shape.
This week’s task is to clear out and clean your refrigerator. You will need about 15-20 minutes, a large trash bag, and a recycling bin if that’s your thing.
- Go through your fridge and toss out anything that is expired, moldy, or otherwise unappetizing in appearance.
- Combine all of those partially empty ketchup bottles (you know you have at least 2). Repeat with the other condiments.
- If you haven’t used a sauce, salad dressing, or condiment in months, put it in your trash bin.
- Consider donating any unopened cans, jars, or packages of food to your local food bank.
- Look at each item left and decide if it helps support your nutritional goals, if it does not then into the trash it goes. It is ok to have a few small treats, I keep some chocolate in my refrigerator at all times, just make sure the majority of the items favor your goals.
- Once you have cleared out all of the old food, condiments, etc. give your fridge a good cleaning. Wipe down all of the shelves, drawers, and walls.
Now that your refrigerator is free from clutter, restock it with fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein. Invest in containers that can neatly store precut vegetables, precooked grains, nuts, seeds, etc. The more organized and easier it is to find things in the fridge the more likely you are to use them to prepare yourself a healthy meal or snack.
I declutter my refrigerator every 2-3 months and it’s due for a good cleaning. Here’s what it looks like right now:
Check back next week to see what it looks like after I declutter.
Decluttering does not have to be hard work, it just takes a little time and the willingness to let go of things that are not serving your health and happiness.
Until next week: Happy Decluttering!
If you want additional help reaching your nutrition and fitness goals, my coaching program can help. Learn more today!