This picture is so peaceful… why? Because there is no clutter! 🙂 There is very little noise, no wind hitting your face, no movement of any kind, calm lighting, and very few people.
Now, obviously, God has called you as a wife and possibly as a mother to a “world” of clutter, noise, and people. If He didn’t want you to minister to people (both little and big), then He would have just called you home to heaven. He has you here for a reason, and “here” can be a very cluttered place!
But can you create a more peaceful “here” by eliminating any unnecessary clutter? Do we have to hold on to things because we’re afraid of the future and things give us security? However, what damage does all the visual and mental clutter do to ourselves and our families?
Sometimes we’re just cluttered because we don’t see it. We’re in it all day long, so we’ve become numb to it. If you think this might be you, go out your door, walk around the house, then come back in the door. Take note of how your home feels to someone just coming. (Or… maybe even how it smells?)
But to be perfectly honest, sometimes things are just cluttered because we’re BUSY — and TIRED — and MOMS! 🙂 Yup, my house gets cluttered really fast, too!
So even though cleaning out clutter doesn’t feel very spiritual, by now I’m sure you’re realizing that it will be tough to help your family if you can’t even step through the clutter in your living room. Becoming a good manager of your home is key to succeeding in family life.
Maybe clutter isn’t a problem for you, but if it is, I want to equip you to handle it effectively over the next few weeks.
First, I’d like you to take out your time schedule again.
- Make sure you have scheduled daily times for maintaining your home. Don’t forget to include times to cook meals, time to plan menus and shop, and time to do the dishes after EVERY meal! Don’t forget to plan for doing laundry — folding and putting it away as well as washing it! You should also add chores to each day such as…
- Sunday — touch up bathrooms, vacuum
- Monday — pay bills and file paperwork
- Tuesday — dust, water plants, vacuum
- Wednesday — clean bathrooms, empty garbage
- Thursday — change bed linens, mop floors
- Friday — do seasonal cleaning jobs
- Saturday — rest
Your list will look different from this, but you get the idea. Plan, plan, plan…
You might be thinking, “This is all great, but how can I clean when it’s such a mess to start with?”
Well, if this is your situation, I’d like to give you the advice I received from the book Organizing from the Inside Out, by Julie Morgenstern. She tells us to take about an hour a day, each day, for as long as it takes to get your house in order — whether it takes a week, a month, or a year!
I’d recommend you start in the kitchen, since we women spend so much time here and its efficiency helps keep everything else running smoothly.
Now it’s time to make a good plan.
- First, analyze the room to discover which parts are well organized and which parts are NOT. Figure out why the bad spots are causing such problems. Is it just too inconvenient to put things away when there is really no good spot to put them? Is the room so ugly you just can’t stand to be in there?
- Second, you need to develop a strategy. In her book, Julie tells about how she visited a kindergarten classroom and noticed how well organized it was. She realized that the organization is natural because:
- The room is divided into activity zones — art is over here, reading is over there, coats go there, etc.
- It’s easy to focus on one activity at a time — kids in the reading zone aren’t fiddling with their lunch boxes, etc.
- Items are stored at their point of use — scissors aren’t with the Bob books, phonics charts aren’t in the bathroom, etc.
- It’s fun to put things away because everything has a home — and what bright, colorful, clearly labeled containers they are!
- There is a visual menu of everything that’s important — when you step into the room, you know that learning the alphabet is important to these students!
- So you need to define your zones as well! Using a sheet of paper from your notebook, make a list of the activities you need to perform in each room, as well as the supplies you’ll need to make it happen, and what kind of storage space you’ll need when it’s time to put those supplies away. For instance, you know in your kitchen that you’ll need a place for cleaning dishes. The supplies you’ll need are dishcloths and towels, soap, a dish drainer, etc. You also need to designate a cupboard (maybe under the sink) for storing these supplies. Do you get the idea?
- Use more paper to map out how the space should be. This is fun! It’s like being on an episode of Home & Garden Television! Measure furniture, plot and plan, and get ready to make some important changes!
Now you’re probably chomping at the bit to have a beautiful home again, but wait! This is going to take time, and the bigger your mess, the more time it will take. Make yourself stick to your time schedule and only work on your house when your schedule says you can. Use a timer if you have to, but don’t forget to do everything else in your life as well!
(What good practice this is in self discipline! 🙂 )
During your daily clean-up times, you might like to have the following supplies handy:
- Trash bags (yes, you’re going to have to get rid of some things)
- Three boxes, labeled “Put away”, “Give away”, and “Throw away”
- Cleaning supplies (you might as well wipe out the cabinets while they’re empty)
- Manila folders (for organizing your paperwork)
- Post-it notes
- Your handy, dandy notebook
- Beverages and snacks to help you keep your energy up
When your clean-up plan is made and your kitchen is organized, ask your husband which room he would like you to do next. This will show him you care, and I guarantee he’s going to love having a peaceful, organized home to come home to!
(You’ll also be amazed how much better the children behave when their toys are organized and not spread all over the house.)
We’re almost done for today’s lesson. Do you feel like you need more help? I’ve written the following blog posts that you might enjoy:
- Principles of Decluttering
- How to Calm Clutter
- It Is the Job That Never Ends
- Keeping Life Uncluttered
I don’t want to leave you without giving you a picture of the God in whose image you have been made! He is a God of order (1 Corinthians 14:33).
Over the next three days of this course, I urge you to read and re-read — and truly think about — how God made this world as a home for us. Was it good — or just so-so? Was it beautiful — or just practical? Was it ordered — or chaotic? Did its creation follow an orderly flow and plan? Most of all, whom did He have in mind as He created it? (You!) How much love do you see evidenced in everything around you?
How can you “copy” your Creator in your home? How can you show love to your family, those you love most, by the ways you influence the environment they live in each day?
Have some fun with this, okay? Don’t let it become yet another thing to stress you out. Take it slow… If possible, share some ideas with your “class mates” on ways that clutter can be fun, enjoyable (YIKES?!), and exhilarating. 🙂