Last week we talked about keeping our homes clean and the clutter reduced to keep out allergies and pests. But I have a feeling that some of you want to say to me, “But how do I get rid of all this clutter?!”
It’s hard. And it’s hard for everyone because we live in an age of wanting and buying and keeping. I read an article about Mark Brunetyz, a Los Angeles designer and co-host of the Style Network’s Clean House, a show that rescues homeowners from their clutter. He has just written a new book, Take the U Out of Clutter and he points to five excuses people give for hanging on to more than they should:
*I might need this someday.
*That was a gift. I’d feel guilty if I tossed it.
*I’ve had this since I was a child.
*I can’t pass up a sale.
*This isn’t clutter; it’s a collection!
Does this sound familiar? If so, then it’s time for a change. When you adjust the way you live your life to accommodate your things, you need to take a look at what you have and why and then get serious and disciplined about de-cluttering.
What actually is “clutter?” One definition is that it’s anything that stands between you and the vision you have for your best life. Perhaps it’s too much of anything taking up too much space so that you can’t move onto other things. It’s also lack of discipline. If we don’t put the cereal box away, or dishes in the dishwasher or the clothes in the hamper or hang up the wet towel, than we are allowing clutter to own us. It’s time we disciplined ourselves and begin to keep our lives in order.
Here are some tips that I hope will help:
1. Make a list of where the worst clutter is down to the least and then begin your work where you feel would help you the most.
2. Take one item on the list at a time until it’s done. Don’t feel that you have to do it all in one day!
3. Get a “clutter helper”. Either a spouse or friend who can physically help you as well as keep you encouraged and motivated.
4. Label five bins and sort everything into them: one bin for keeping the item as is; another bin for all items you can donate or sell; next one for items that need to be fixed or repaired; and of course one is for trash. The last bin is for all the items you really don’t know what to do with! Label the box with all the items and date it and then place it in the basement, garage or attic. If after one year you don’t need the items, then give the whole box away!
5. Designate zones in your home for everything: toys, clothes, paper and mail, hobbies, etc.
6. Don’t buy or bring anything into your home unless you know where it will go.
7. Begin to see how pretty your space will be when you are finished and plan on a way to decorate as a gift to yourself.
8. Ask yourself, “If my house were burning down, what would I grab?” Your response reveals what you truly value.
9. When you are getting ready to buy something ask yourself, “Can I live without it?” and “How does this item help me walk as a child of God?”
10. Continue to remind yourself how too much clutter can keep you from a full life.
“How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” Mark 10:23
Maybe we have clutter because we want things more than we want God and His will in our life? Our world is materialistic which is why we are told not to conform to the world but instead, transform into and follow Jesus Christ.
God has a surprising spin on wealth. From His perspective, you can be “well off” when it comes to worldly treasures and yet be in dire poverty in your soul. Now, it isn’t because God is against wealth. It’s just that He is grieved by anything that we value more than Him.
Our emotions can change in an instance. Especially if you are a female! But one thing experts have discovered is that clutter and chaos can greatly affect our emotions. Organizational expert Peter Walsh has released his latest book, Enough Already! Clearing Mental Clutter to Become the Best You. He makes the link between a disorganized home and the untidy thoughts that can muddle our relationships and well-being.
He said that many of his clients would tell him that they felt as if they were drowning or suffocating with all their stuff. Clutter can rob us of life, of not being with others if we are too embarrassed to have people over. It robs us spiritually because we can’t be at peace in a cluttered home. And it robs us psychologically, by stealing our ability to feel motivated in our space.
If we aren’t organized we won’t be able to accomplish what God has planned for us. That is one reason why I write this Pathways to Organization blog. If we don’t get to the grocery store regularly and cook, our families won’t be very healthy. When we aren’t organized, we won’t be able to do for others, attend group activities as church or Bible studies, or do as well at our jobs or schools. This can cause unhealthy stress. And when we aren’t organized, we won’t be able to find the time to exercise which affects our health.
Having our lives focused on the Lord will fill us with His Holy Spirit and then the fruits of His wonderful can Spirit live in us. When we have these fruits (Galatians 5:22) we will begin to learn the peace and the patience of a life God wants for us. Living in chaos and clutter is not the abundant life our Lord wants us to have.
I pray you will start to see what areas in your life you can de-clutter and that you will have a peace that passes all human understanding! (Philippians 4:7)