Tidying Up Around the House Could Help You Lose Weight


It seems your diet isn’t the only thing in your life you should consider cleaning if your goal is to drop a few pounds. Research suggests tidying up around the house can have a big impact on your success. “Often your environment determines whether or not you will make a healthy choice,” says Steven Ledbetter, an expert on behavior change and co-founder of Habitry. “My most successful clients are the ones who take the steps to make their surroundings support positive habits.”

So not only do you need to set a health goal, you need to set up your physical space for success, too. Ready to clear the clutter and nail your weight loss goal? Here are the key places around the house (and in your life) to focus.

Make Room in Your Closet

Getting rid of your loose jeans and starting-to-look-droopy sweaters sends a major message to your brain that there’s no going back. “Keeping the ‘fat’ clothes means that one day you will wear them again and they will fit you perfectly,” writes Marylin Stompler in Fat No More, Release the Subconscious Blocks that Prevent Your Weight Loss. She continues, “Throwing away your ‘fat’ clothes helps you let go of the fat energy that was tied to you for years.” A former yo-yo dieter herself, Stompler admits saving her clothes was a trap for her, and she wasn’t able to fully think of herself as a healthy person until she cleared out her drawers. “When you release the old, you make space for the new,” she writes.

Sweep Out the Pantry

Having a healthy relationship with food doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a treat every so often, but reducing your access to easy-to-grab items can set you up to stay on track. Give your refrigerator, pantry, and cupboard shelves a once over, tossing out anything (snack cakes, ice cream, chips, and so on) that might be too tempting to pass up in a moment of weakness. “You can’t eat it, if you don’t have it hanging around,” says Fitbit nutrition expert Tracy Morris. Then, stock up on nutritious snacks, like fresh fruit, cut-up veggies, plain popcorn, and dill pickles, to satisfy cravings for sweet, savory, and crunch.  

Tackle the Dishes in the Sink

You’d think stacks of dirty pans and piles of sticky plates would turn someone off food, but it seems kitchen chaos actually encourages extra snacking. In a study published in the Environmental & Behavior Journal, researchers put snackers who had been thinking about being out of control in a clean kitchen and noticed they consumed fewer cookies than those with a similar mindset who were placed in a messy environment. “Having a clean kitchen or home makes you feel more in control and primes you to stay in control,” says Brian Wansink, PhD, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and coauthor of the study.

To prevent the cluttered counters from wrecking your weight loss efforts, clean up as you go when prepping dinner, be mindful at mealtime—focussing on everything that’s going well in your life, and load the dishwasher ASAP when you’re done.

Toss Your Old Pillows

There’s a lot of research linking lack of sleep to weight gain. And one study in particular shows sleep-deprived people are not only more likely to give in to junk food cravings, but to justify poor food choices as well. For optimal health, experts recommend adults get 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night—but time in bed doesn’t always lead to quality Zzz’s.

If you have a hard time getting comfortable, or tend to toss and turn, unsupportive bedding could be coming between you and restorative sleep. In fact, 98% percent of respondents polled by the National Sleep Foundation agree a comfortable pillow is necessary for a restful night. Think yours might be past its prime? A general replacement guideline for pillows is every three years, and every 10 years for mattresses.

Clean Up Your Calendar

You’ve probably heard the tip: “put your workouts on your calendar.” It’s an oldie, but goodie because it works for those who need a dedicated time to sweat. (You don’t want to miss that spin class!) Still, Outlook pop-ups aren’t a cure all. If squeezing fitness into an already cluttered calendar isn’t helping you reach your goals, it’s time to try something different. Instead, slip fitness breaks in throughout the day, especially during your most sedentary periods, and consider blocking off one day each week to make movement (not work, not errands, not a DVR marathon) the main event. Go for a hike, walk to the farmers’ market, take your bike on a neighborhood tour, or meet friends in the park for frisbee golf—all calorie-burning activities count!

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  • I love my fitbit, but I am so disappointed because it doesn’t have my heart beats information on it. I brought an expensive one thinking it had all the information on it. No sleep recorder on how you slept and no heartbeat. And that is what I thought it had.

    • Josephine,
      The latest update March 26th(?), 2017 I think has the information you are looking for. I have sleep apnea but in sleep studies I also was showing absolutely no REM sleep. This new update shows your REM sleep & the percentage of each kind of sleep. It is just fantastic and just exactly what I needed to be able to help me. I’m hoping it will help you also. Good luck Sweetie Girl.

  • Really i wondered within your posts and also i wanna take a look with this. Because you had mentioned about how we are managing our house and also the perfectness with each and everything with the rooms. Also everyone wants to know like this.

    • I am 76 years old and my fitbit has changed my life. I don’t always reach my goal of 10,000 steps a day, of course, but I feel stronger and healthier. I can again work 4 or more hours in my garden, even in the heat, and I go on hiking trips with my daughter. In October we hiked at Zion and Bryce Canon. When I go to town, I park as far away from a business als possible to get more steps in and I no longer put errands together to save time. Instead, I just walk up and down and around the house more often.
      The tips about reducing all kinds of clutter are on the mark. I am looking forward to having an open and uncluttered study again in a few weeks. Yes, it is that cluttered.

      • That’s very motivational I am on 31 but am hoping to do alot of the forementioned things including decluttering my home! Good luck 😉

      • I totally agree! At 60 myself I can actually FEEL the difference fit but has made for me too . I only wish i could find a cloth type wrist band as the rubber really gives me a fit and gets quite soar.

  • i truly hope this forum helps me with an issue. every time my weight goes up, my “FAT” clothes grow a little bit snugger too. now they’ve reached a point where they are old, stained and worn down to shiny patches in some places. in other words they are in the recycled into other types of clothing, or even better, i get rid of them thinking i’ve reached a limit on tolerance and self-acceptance. Every time that happens i do what i have always done before: i gain more weight until my former fat clothes no longer fit me in the slightest. Does this happen to anyone else or am i lacking a personal restraint button? i could cry for the cost of the lost clothing or better still, keep eating the food in our house without a single look back, just hoping something will happen (like i’ll fall down over the stairs and break my leg or back or arm). i was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease so it has been tough enough to hang in there without blowing everything to pieces, especially given how i feel (depressed) when my family suddenly weighs in with how much they think i should weigh or how well does my clothes fit. It’s an endless cycle too, meaning they cannot give it up until they have worked themselves and me into a sense of self-loathing and themselves into disgust, all because of how i look and feel. My mother is the worst, going on and on about how my father hates fat women, when in reality it is her that feels that way about women (just get her started on Jennifer Lopez’s backside). when what she’s really saying is about me and my backside and how i disgust her (because she’s so small and perfect and petite). You know how there are parents out there who make their spouse into the bad guy so they can talk about an issue with you? That’s my poor dad right there. We are all her victims. and all i want to do is shut her up, once and for all, especially when she gets herself wound up into a frenzy of fatness, meaning she has to vent her spleen so that she may live another day. but what about me? how do i live another day with a mother like that?

    • Dear Lisa,
      So sorry you are having these struggles. Maybe you should flat out tell your mom that it hurts your feelings when she talks that way. I know that I don’t know her, and it’s hard to shut up parents who like to compare or go on about things so much. Maybe ask her to try and put herself in your shoes… if she wasn’t the small petite woman, how would she feel? what would she HONESTLY do? Anyway, just some things you can try. But don’t be depressed or downhearted. I struggle with my weight too- but I know there is no “perfect” and that I am me. I am more than a set of measurements: miles I can run, weight I can lift etc. This past year I changed my perspective from dieting and exercising to lose weight, to: yes dieting, But exercising to GET STRONGER (mentally and physically) Also, they have a special class at the “YMCA” (here) for people with Parkinsons to keep strong and agile- it also works like a support group since many who attend are in the same boat as you. Anyway, many things can help, don’t give up though ok? Most importantly I just want you to know you’re alright and hang in there!

    • Tell your mother to take a hike! If she cannot say something nice then don’t say anything at all. I have been getting into this gradually, mainly with more walking and more housework. I don’t know whether you still work or not, but look closely at your house, my hubby does a pretty good job at cleaning once a month, but if you look, the dust bunnies and dirt – two loveable but dirt loving Westies, Sammy and Rosie and us – really mount up. Like you, I suffer from several debilitating conditions, the worst of which is Trigeminal neuralgia. One puff of wind or breeze in my face and I am screaming. This last year has been very bad, but I am determined to not let it or my other myriad of illnesses win. Ask yourself questions if I have gone down a size or two do I need those old stained clothes? Not! Out. Keep your clothes simple. I get by with a pair of light jeans and a pair of dark, a couple of jean skirts and a variety of skirts ,pants, and shorts for all seasons. Have a couple of skirts for fancy along with pretty tops..I am a big fan of elastic waistlines, out go the pounds cut off and reattach you elastics. Keep it that way. Watch your calories religiously. I am just starting to get into that. My husband is a zealot. But he has lost 25 lbs this way and by walking 10,000 steps daily. I’m proud of him and look to him as a role model. Occasionally he gets like your Mom and I tell him to stick it. With your condition, I would think walking, water aerobics, and tai chi would be great exercises. Get a vacuum you can handle. Keep the dust down and your kitchen and bathrooms clean. Use germ killing cleaners. If you have children at home over 6 years of age, now is the time to teach them the values of cleanliness which is next to Godlness. Even older ones, even husbands can learn. He can do his own laundry! You are the one that needs help. Above all, eat right, sleep right (we have separate bedrooms), exercise in moderation, take pride in your appearance, tell Mommy to shut her gob and move on! Keep in touch thru this and email rothsh1@yahoo.com. Just don’t pass around the email address please.

      • It seems we spend so much time and emotional energy worrying about how of family and friends feel and we take so little time and energy on how we feel. Take that time you spend worrying about them and spend it on you. Schedule an unscheduled walk. Take 3 or 4 of them a day if you need too. Tell your mom you don’t have time to talk right now because you have something important to do. Spending time on yourself. Take care of number 1 so you can love number’s 2 and 3 … (Love they neighbor as thy self … if you don’t love yourself, can you love your neighbor?) A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

        • Taegee,
          Excellent advice. I agree with simply saying, “I you have to go” if someone is annoying you to that extent whether it’s your mother or your minister. I also agree with you about needing separate bedrooms. I had three hip replacements in one year and now also need a knee replacement. When I had my hip pain prior to surgery I decided to shift to a spare bedroom and make it my own so that my husband would get a good night’s sleep and be able to go to work the next morning. It took a while to get used to that since we’d been sleeping together for 40 years. You can get used to anything. It was the best thing we could have done. He wasn’t awakened when I was yelling in pain and moving around restlessly . I could be distracted when my pain levels were high bye watching TV and I also had privacy when my nurses or physical therapist made there house calls. I don’t know how easy it will be to go back to both of us in the same room but hopefully when he retires which should be shortly that will work for us. As far as keeping the house clean comma I am not allowed to do any heavy housework and have hired a fella to clean for me one day a week. He also helps me organize things when I’m able to participate. For a very reasonable one day a week. It has made a tremendous difference in our household. We don’t have to holler at each other,
          “It’s your turn to vacuum.”
          “No it’s your turn.”
          “No it’s your turn!!”
          You have to decide what things make it your family and happier family regardless of your illnesses or disabilities. There’s always a way maybe you just haven’t thought of it yet. That’s why it’s great to have this kind of a forum for ideas. Love to you all don’t take any Guff from anybody but don’t give it either be nice.
          Love ,

    • Lisa, it must be very difficult to have your mother constantly on your case about your weight. Unfortunately some people think the way to get someone to change is to snype or point out others weaknesses. Let’s just assume she’s doing it in the vein of helping you but we all know this usually has the opposite effect. What I would suggest is get some clothes that are comfortable now. Clothes that you can get some exercise in and set a daily step goal for yourself on your Fitbit. Fitbit has a nice way of encouraging you to rethink your goal in the future. Set yourself up for success not failure- set that step goal and maybe one nutrition goal where you eat healthfully for one meal or I find nighttime snacking is a challenge for me so perhaps try to cut that out. Maybe get up 15 minutes earlier and get those steps in! We are so hard on ourselves as women and all the outside forces don’t help. I’ve been doing Weight Watchers and have found success there . The Fitbit syncs with the WW app. and it is motivating. I truly think your mom is trying to be helpful (in a non-helpful way) but you won’t make the changes for yourself until you realize that you are worth the changes a healthier lifestyle will bring you. Best of luck.

    • You friend need to say to yourself “I CHOOSE not to be a victim anymore!” And MEAN IT!
      Turn it into a real chant,
      Recite it EVERYDAY until it becomes a very part of your life and CHIOSE a Different life for yourself!
      It really works!
      I highly recommend a little book called “The Dream giver” by Bruce Wilkerson.
      It is really small but will change your life in HUGE ways! Use that FutBit too! It has changed my life so much and I am a happier person because of my new choices in life as well! Best wishes to you!

    • Sweetie,
      I’m sure you love your mother. But all you can do is express how her constant berating comments make you feel like shit and have done so for most of your life. Let her know that you love her, but need to create some distance for a while to heal YOU! She will either realize how condescending she has been and stop it, or she will take your request lightly, and make fun of that also, and remain oblivious to your feelings. Her response will tell you what you need to do next, one way or the other. We all need our own cheerleaders, but quite often we find ourselves in toxic situations to no fault of our own. I hope you will find clarity to your situation. Look to the kindness of strangers. There are alot of us who share a similar situation being the fluffy one among skinny family members. Alot of us would love to be your friend, and provide support and encouragement. Good luck!

  • I got me Fitbit last year at Christmastime and it has been a wonderful gift. I keep up my goal of 15,000 steps at least 6 days a week. This goal is very high, I realize, but it makes me very happy to achieve it each day. I am a 46 year old who teaches first grade. I already stand or walk throughout the day with these children and I only sit at times during reading groups, etc. Then my dog loves that I try to start the school day with at least 1,000 steps so I will take her on a short walk in the morning even though we have a fenced in backyard. I have also found helpful tricks like walking outside and around the house for the recycle bin each time an item needs to be deposited rather than making a stack of items in the kitchen. The steps I am good at maintaining and I am glad that my Fitbit tracks them. I am not good at the techno anything these days, though. In the beginning, I had someone help to set up the data watch through my iPhone. The Fitbit stopped working during late summer and the phone stopped tracking. I emailed the company and they were able to help get the Fitbit step tracking back but for months now I have not been able to keep up with any of the other data.

  • Get a horse – he is not mine but his owners were thinking of putting him down (he had a bad accident and was in very poor condition) I told them to bring him to my place and he is now fit and fat and happy. His owner comes and rides him when she can. He is a lot of work – but joyful work – and is keeping me slim.

  • I would like to know where is a good place to go to find out the calorie count for foods. I try to keep track as best I can with package labels but I need a place to go to find out what the calories are for fresh foods. I’m happy to report that I have done well since I put on my fit bit have lost 15 lbs. but I have slacked on counting calories. I’m a 67 year old male and go to the gym four days a week to play racket ball.

    • I suggest using MyFitnessPal to track caloric intake. I use my FitBit in conjunction with MFP to track activity and calories. The food database is huge! The other suggestion I have is to purchase a kitchen scale, so you can measure exactly how much of each food you are ingesting. Keep up the great work!

    • The fit bit so has most everything you need for calorie tracking. Just log in your food and it tells you if you are over or under your goal for each day, so before you settle in for the night, you can decide if you need to walk around the block 1 more time or so to hit your goal. It’s magnificent. Good luck.

  • I am 81, with a lot of medical conditions. I love my fitbit and it’s in my pocket 24/7. I like the weekly fitbit summaries and have kept all of them. My walking goal is 4000 steps, which is less than most, but when things go well, and I can walk outside, I usually make it. I come across the reports occasionally that neatness helps stress levels. It always reminds me to pick up, and, yes, my sense of stress does go down.

  • Tax prep time. If your fitbit and related expensive internet connectivity to make ongoing use of your cardiologist prescibed Fitbit and related costs of Internet connectivity it may be a substantial medial expense tax deductable

  • I am 35 started back steady running an boxing training with my fitbit also strength an circuit work realy want to change the weigh my body looks an feels im not goin to look at any scales for a month i have took a picture hopefully i will see some form of positive change over this month towards valentines day i started using fitbit on 3rd january im enjoying the guide it gives its keeping me thinking positive hopefully i will have positive results on feb 14th as i am realy puttin in 110per cent it was killer at first trying to get the routine back after sittin not dooin much other than watchin netflix after work an time with my 2 daughters hopefully fitbit can keep me on str8 an narrow health wise

  • I love my fit bit .I’m doing well with my fit bit always challenging .
    Do I have to make 10.000 step every day?? .is it the ideal thing to do ??please advise me and thank you very much.

  • Got my Fibit Dec 2016. I wanted to drop weight but I also wanted to MOVE more during the day as I have a sedentary job. While I’ve only lost 10 lbs., I am now able to climb stairs more easily and am sleeping more at night. Thanks to my Fitbit, I’m focused on at least 10k steps a day. It’s getting me healthy first and helping me change my eating habits, too. I know the weight will drop if I keep moving and keep making healthy food choices. I love it. Best Christmas present ever!!

  • Thank you for sharing this amazing article. I just turned 60 in January, I agree that you have a better feeling about yourself when you are clearing out the old.

  • Hi Kim! Welomce. I look forward to having you join us in this journey in the Word! Be sure to sign up with your email address in the space below my picture that says, “Follow Via Email”. This way each Bible lesson posting will be sent directly to your email. Let me know if you have any qutaoitns.Ksehy

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