It was a warm July morning, birds were singing outside my open window and the curtains ruffled in the breeze. I was standing in my bedroom and I was scared. I thought scary things are supposed to only happen in the dark on cold rainy nights. I had a good reason to be afraid as I was trying to find something to wear and nothing I had in my closet or drawers were fitting.

I was bulging out of all my clothes and I was gaining weight weekly even though I walked three miles a day and I know a lot about nutrition and how to diet. (At least that is what I told myself). I realized I didn’t’ know how to stop gaining weight and that scared me. I knew my body fat percentage should be in the high teens, not in the high forty’s. It was also exhausting beating me up emotionally and mentally every single day. I was very discouraged.

As a professional organizer I work with women whose homes are full of clutter and they keep beating themselves up every day saying “I need to get rid of clutter” but don’t know where to start or how to do it? They know a lot about clutter but nothing has seemed to work when they have tried to get rid of clutter. Just like starting and stopping a diet their resolve would begin again on Monday and be shattered by Wednesday.

I gave myself pep talks that it didn’t matter if I was fat, my family and friends loved me anyway and I was a good person no matter what size I was. I knew this was true but it did matter to me and I was constantly putting myself down. I avoided shopping for new clothes. I dreaded going out with friends for lunch because I hated the way I looked. I even thought others were judging what I chose to eat.

If you need to get rid of clutter I bet you dread guests coming to your home and you have stopped entertaining. You may have made up stories in your head that others judge you because you have so much clutter. Then you go one step further and you blame it all on yourself. Does this sound familiar?

I had to have an operation on my knee because I had a torn meniscus. I was waiting for the doctor to tell me that if I didn’t weigh so much it would not have been as bad on my knee. Then I told myself he was happy to operate because that made money for him. I am good a making up stories but none of them made me feel any better. By the way, it is usually athletics that have this problem with their knees. It was not because I was overweight that I had a torn meniscus.

My closet had clothes in it that didn’t fit even though as a professional organizer I recommend that our closets hold only clothes that fit. For those who must hold on to skinny (or fat) clothes I recommend they be removed and stored elsewhere—and then only one size up and one size down from what fits. Because I follow “practice what I preach” I did just that. I hung on to smaller clothes. However I clung to two sizes smaller. All the time I had self loathing. I would even say to myself, “If I talked to my friend like I am talking to myself how long would she be my friend”. I knew I would never talk to anyone else like I talked to myself.

It is common for women to hold on to things they don’t wear and other things they don’t need “just in case they may need it someday”. What is the cost in space and the mental guilt by holding on to clutter? I had it in my mind that when I was a certain weight I would have the ideal body. What really happened was I had to get rid of every article of clothing that I had been hanging on to and storing because I slid right past those sizes.

There is a good chance that the things people hang on to will never be needed and if they are how hard will it be to replace it?

I was consumed about getting in shape and losing weight. I thought about it all the time. I had been a jogger and then a walker six to seven days a week for over 35 years. I even knew how to eat healthy. I used to joke, “I eat healthy between eating junk food”.

I finally was so scared that I was spiraling out of control with weight gain I decided the key was different exercise which I could only get at a gym as I believed I needed to lift weights. I took my daughter with me to check out gyms (I really wanted to do this but I couldn’t make myself do it by myself).

Sometimes this is how it is with getting rid of clutter, we need someone to help us objectively and someone who has the training and knowledge to help us get rid of clutter in a painless way.

We chose a gym to join that came with trainers and a nutritionalist. I went to meet with her with the attitude that I knew as much as she did. This was another one of those humility moments in my life. She gave us an eating plan—not a diet as I had always tried before--and we began working out with a program designed specifically for us.

One size fits most does not apply when it comes to getting rid of clutter. Each home is unique and everyone has different space and different needs.

I committed to going to the gym three days a week to lift weights and two days of aerobic exercise. I chose to hike in the mountains. I knew what didn’t work for me in the past so I set new goals and then I went to work in accomplishing them.

This is the same formula to get rid of clutter. Find out what is working and not working, set goals and then do it. I have reached my goals and now I have set new goals to stay in shape. I feel better about myself. And I look better. In fact I don’t look at all like my before photos. Getting rid of clutter can do the same for a home, there is more space in drawers, in our closets, in fact everywhere and we feel better about ourselves and our home.

Author's Bio: 

Marilyn Bohn is the owner of Get it Together. Marilyn takes the often stressful subject of organizing and breaks it down into her simple, easy to understand system. Her methods are both eye-opening and encouraging! She has a passion for helping others reach their personal goals and living a better, clutter-free life!

Marilyn offers personal, private consulting to assist in organizing and she invites you to sign up for free organizing tips at her website for easy organizing tips, videos, blog, workshops and more. Get your free guide on what papers to keep and how long to keep them at and
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