Ah, spring. The season of renewal — and completely reorganizing your life. The first step in making things a little less chaotic is eliminating what's weighing you down — literally and figuratively. Cue our spring cleaning declutter challenge, which will help you get rid of what's taking a toll on your home, body, and mind once and for all.
We've enlisted the help of minimalist gurus Pastaveia and Sean St. John, a San Francisco-based couple who teach people how to live an eco-friendly life every day through Eco-Conscious Minimalists and their YouTube channel. Every week in April, the St. Johns will help us focus on a new area to declutter.
Years ago, the United States Air Force vets took a good look at their unnecessary belongings and decided to embrace a more minimalistic lifestyle.
"The overwhelming perception is that you're supposed to have excess. We realized that when you have an abundance of options, you just overwhelm yourself," says Sean. Pastaveia agrees. "We had to reassess our priorities."
Are you ready to make a change, too? Let's start with the heart of every home: the refrigerator.
The road to losing weight can be a rough one, and anyone who's tried knows just how frustrating the process can be. It's time to get on the right path — and stay on it — by taking a look at what's behind your refrigerator doors.
"It's important to realize that your fridge is connected to your entire lifestyle," Pastaveia says. "What's in your fridge is what's going directly into your body. If you want to lose weight, you need to make the decision to change what types of food you have in your home."
Here are three steps to a clean, healthy fridge.
This not only applies to your refrigerator, but to life in general. If you can't allow yourself to mentally make room for change, it will never happen.
1. Ditch the old, unhealthy, and unrecognizable.
Take everything out — we mean everything! — and lay it all on your counter. First, get rid of anything expired or smelly. Next, look for junk food. If it's unopened, give it to a friend or donate it to a local food bank. If it's frozen, consider cooking it up to leave in the break room at work. As for that half-eaten pint of ice cream, toss it. Then put back whatever fits into your new lifestyle.
"If you want to change your eating habits, you have to remove what you don't need," Sean says. "This not only applies to your refrigerator, but to life in general. If you can't allow yourself to mentally make room for change, it will never happen."
2. Go shopping.
Hit the grocery store or farmers' market once — or even twice! — this week, but only purchase enough food to last you seven days. Why? Because when you only shop once a month, you tend to buy unhealthy items or food you won't feel like grabbing from the freezer weeks later. It's far too easy to turn to a takeout menu instead.
Pastaveia says shopping weekly might seem inconvenient, but it will make you buy fresh items that you have to cook right away.
"You won't overstock your fridge with over-processed foods or items that will end up going bad," Pastaveia says. "You're helping your waistline and your wallet."
3. Get creative.
Oftentimes we wolf down chips when we're craving something crunchy or salty, or ice cream when we want something sweet. Stock up on healthy alternatives like kale chips or raspberries to snack on instead.
"Cut up a cucumber and throw a little salt and vinegar on it. You'll get the crunch you're craving and make a positive change at the same time," Pastaveia says.
While you're at the store, purchase staples like eggs, hummus, Greek yogurt, and fresh fruit and veggies to give yourself many different meal options throughout the week.
Next week: Decluttering your email inbox.