When I was in college, I counted myself among those to gain the “Freshmen 15.” Years after graduation, I decided I could no longer use that excuse for the extra pounds. I tried fad diets, but every attempt ended the same way, with slight weight loss followed immediately by weight gain.

Then, I finally figured out the secret: To be truly healthy, you must incorporate habits that are livable and realistic and that don’t come all at once. A good friend once told me, “Eating healthy isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle.”


In my home, I’ve finally gotten to a point where I’ve trimmed the fat, so to speak. I’ve donated or dumped most of our unused items, and cleared our countertops and cabinets.

Now comes the hard part — keeping it that way.


I’m approaching organization with the same strategy as my college weight loss. I’ll incorporate livable habits, one at a time, and avoid drastic changes by following these steps:

1. Toss out junk before it gets inside. Put a waste bin somewhere between your mailbox and your entry’s drop zone. Leaf through mail and throw out the junk before you settle in.

2. Arrange pantry items in a u-shape. Keep frequently used items in the middle, and combine any duplicates, such as spices. Use tiered platforms to keep items in the back just as visible as the ones in front. When you see an item, you are more likely to use it.

3. Swap out single-use furniture. Entry tables and media consoles can serve double-duty and still look sleek. Even a few drawers are better than none.

4. Invest in easy-to-use storage. Have a blank closet? Implement shelving and storage boxes, and never stack more than two boxes on top of each other. That way, you’ll always have easy access to either one.

5. Learn to love unorganized organization. If you have a child or a pet, don’t worry too much about meticulously organizing their toys. Instead, use large bins where you can throw everything in easily.


Just like weight loss, organization cannot be a cold-turkey thing. Messes are bound to happen, and part of creating a livable, organized life is accepting that.