Home organization and organization in general has always been a delight for me, because it comes naturally to me, but I know that for others it is greatly challenging. I am certain that it is a gift from the Creator, and I am grateful for it as it is extremely helpful in running a household. I take no credit for it, but I’ll share what I can if it is helpful.
“Things” and “stuff” used to make your home pleasing and functional are not in themselves bad, but too much “stuff” and it begins to take over…everything. There is no quiet in the home, only clutter. Children are directly affected by this visual chaos. You don’t need $400 unit shelving or expensive coordinated organizers, you can accomplish this with things you have in your own home, and perhaps a few things you pick up at the thrift store or dollar store.
This is how I declutter. It is a method that has evolved over the years, and I have found these steps to really work. These are a culmination of organizational techniques from two favorite sources: A Mother’s Rule of Life by Holly Pierlot, and Splendor in the the Ordinary by Thomas Howard.
- Don’t try to accomplish a total de-clutter overnight. This will be a lengthy process so set realistic goals.
- Set aside one room of your home to be the catch-all – a garage, basement, extra bedroom.
- Move through your home one room at a time purging as you go. Look at each room individually deciding what that room’s purpose is. Write it down if you need to. Keep in mind that every room of your home should give glory to God, every room should have beauty.
- Ask yourself, “Does this piece of furniture/art/toy bin/vault of chemicals/armada of exercise equipment help this room to function? Do we really need 57 plastic cups from fast food drive-thrus? Why am I storing a lime green blanket that we have never used, and will never use? Is this necessary to the beauty of this room?”
- If the answer is no, take it out of the room and put it in the catch-all room. Look at the room with new eyes, pretend you just walked in for the first time. You need the room to work for you and your family, it won’t if there is unnecessary “stuff” in it. Take out everything that is not essential to the function of that room. You’re not necessarily getting rid of it yet. That piece may function beautifully in another room of your house. More on that in a minute.
- Now that you have removed everything unnecessary, step back and make a list of things that you truly need to make your room function. Does the room need an area rug? A beautiful piece of art to lift the heart and mind to God? A plastic bin or 20 to corral all of the Playmobil pieces? Add it to your list. If you need to use plastic bags temporarily, fine – label as you go. If you are able, my favorite source for plastic bins is the dollar store or Walmart. Nothing expensive, but purchase see-through bins. Small pieces in the toy room are best organized in these tackle boxes available at places like Cabela’s and Walmart in the fishing section. They work great holding anything from rock collections to small barrettes. A handy selection of Sharpie permanent markers allow you to label right on the plastic bin. ALWAYS LABEL!
- When you are done with all of the rooms, move to your catch all room. Did you need a lamp in your living room for a reading corner? Perhaps you found a lamp in the bathroom of all places, that was unneccesary and it is now in the catch all room. Go shopping in your catch all room. Be careful though not to put back items that are unnecessary. Only fill your rooms with items that will make them functional and bring beauty to the room. A word to the wise (or to anyone with sentimental children like me) guard/lock your catch all room lest all your efforts be toppled when your son wanders in and proclaims that all of the “stuff” in that room can’t leave, sob, sob, sob.
- With everything that is left in your catch all room, divide into two piles – give away and store. Store sentimental items and family gifts, give away things that are no longer useful to your family. It will be easier if you keep in mind that God may have given you this item at one time to help you and your family, but its job is done and you no longer need it. Another family is waiting for it. Give it away! It will be freeing for you.
When order has been restored to the rooms of your home, and you have given away all of the excess, you will experience a great sense of peace. God is a God of Order. He doesn’t do anything haphazardly. Your home should be a reflection of this, just as we are domestic churches and we reflect the Image of God in our persons. Your rooms will be easier to maintain, and family will find them pleasing to be in.
If you are purging this Lent, I hope you found this helpful.