Posted by: mamaamy | March 13, 2008

Declutter Your Home

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This is an excerpt from a letter to a frustrated friend asking about getting organized:

It sounds like lots going on! That is the way with home-schooling. It really does take the full day…not just to school but to train our children, to equip them for life, to work with their interests by encouraging and providing opportunities, to do our own kingdom work, to care for our husbands and supply all the support and comfort they need as they seek to do their work in the Kingdom and the community, not to mention doing the laundry, cleaning house, making the meals and/or overseeing our kids do it. I truly believe that being a successful homemaker is not for the faint of heart! But I can say with experience that life could not possibly be more satisfying in every way doing it any other way!

I know that the task of de-cluttering seems overwhelming, but what I have done is take it bit by bit…this is not something that has to be done all at once…our life or our homes will never all be perfectly organized at one moment in time. It is an ongoing process that is like the repairing of freeways…you start at one end and by the time you get all the way through you have to start over again. I think that this may set your expectations. What I do then is to set up a mini project for that 30 min. or hour before I have to start the dinner meal, like clean out the junk drawer, then I clean out the photo drawer (where I have thrown the photos for the last 3 months) the next day. I clean off the top of the fridge the next chance I get, then on the weekend I find a little bit bigger project and do it. Every task that is completed is satisfying and one step closer to organization. Then as you clean stuff out and realize two other projects that need doing, add them to the ongoing list of projects “to do.” Take a week in the summer when you don’t have the pressure of schooling also and do some major spring cleaning, but don’t try to put too much on yourself…it always take longer than you expect to complete the tasks because you run into other things as you go. Knowing that the all the work is never done, but that project by project things are improving, you can find satisfaction and see results.

If you have little ones it is always difficult it seems to find the time to clean the house. The task seems overwhelming. Again if you break it down into smaller bits it will get accomplished and really not be so bad. For example: take 10 or 15 minutes when the kids are occupied and attack one room. Get it clean! You would be amazed to see what can be accomplished in just 15 minutes! One room can be straightened, dusted, vacuumed, put in order! There, one room done! Then when you can occupy the little ones for another 15 minutes, go after a second room. Try not to answer the phone or get distracted during that 15 minutes. In fact, set the timer and don’t stop till it’s done. Tell the little ones that you can help them or feed them when the timer goes off. Then they will watch it and wait for you. Require that they watch and wait for you. There, a second room taken care of! It really can be done. God’s grace is there for you, but you must still do the work. It takes some discipline, but the house can look good—even if you have little ones.

The other thing that Mitch and I talk about is “living with intention.” This is our buzz phrase for checking in and making sure that everything that we are doing is what we are suppose to be doing and it’s not just happening to us. We want to live with intention—knowing why we are doing something and intentionally choosing to do it: ie. we don’t have a TV cause we don’t want that distraction, the kids are not in community sports because we don’t want to spend all the time it would take to drive each of the eight of them to their practices and games, instead we choose to do family events. We are careful to choose what events we go to and what groups we join, what “ministry” we have, what phone calls we take and when, etc. When life seems to be running us, we make a point to step back and look at what’s happening and decide if we need to re-evaluate and “live with intention” again. We discuss it together and with our children so they learn to do this as well. The point is we can choose what we do and we don’t have to do it just because it is for a good cause, or it is a good thing to do, or it would be fun, or someone (or we ourselves) are pressuring us into it. De-cluttering your life is as important as de-cluttering your home. It eliminates stress and restores peace.

Mama Amy

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