Tidying Up and Some Tips from Kathleen

Most people desperately need to put their house in order. Unfortunately, the majority of them fail to embrace this as a “special event” and instead make do with rooms that are more like storage sheds. – Marie Kondo

Is your house like a giant storage shed?

Do you have clutter everywhere that is driving you crazy?

Do you stuff things in closets that you don’t want to deal with?

Do you wish you felt more peace in your home?

It is difficult concept to grasp that you are the boss and the employee of your home. We here at The Whole House get it. In fact we did a whole podcast on the subject. (You can find it here). We often think that some invisible “they” is in charge and we must do what “they” say. Another myth is the items we own are in charge of us. We move them. Stack them. Shove them in closets. All the while we desire some space to breathe or a peaceful place to relax. How do we get there? I don’t have all the answers, but here are some tips from someone who likes an uncluttered environment.

  1. The object is not the memory. Get rid of the object. Keep the memory. We often hang on to items because we want to remember the event. One of my girls loved to share candy wrappers, tickets, receipts (basically trash) in bulk in shoeboxes. They took over her closet. She could explain where each bit of paper came from. It took many years for her to understand that a scrap of paper is not a memory. On my live on Facebook last week, I shared how I helped my sister clean out a corner cabinet in her kitchen before a move. She had well over fifty plastic cups from various sporting events her family attended stuffed way back where no one could get to them. But, she could tell me which event they each came from. I’m not here to tell you to change your personality. Just change your perspective. If things like cups and tickets are valuable to you. If they “spark joy” for you , then find a way to display or store them. Use a scrapbook for tickets. Just ask yourself, “Is this item bringing value to me? To my home? To my family?”
  2. A gift is not a blessing if it is frustrating you by taking up space. This is a tough one. We all get those gifts that we aren’t sure what to do with. What if Aunt Mabelle comes over and the giant ceramic iguana she gifted you is not displayed? Will she be offended? If the item is taking up space, you don’t like it and looking at it frustrates you, give it away. Bless someone else with it or return it and get something you do like. Your home is your space. It should feel peaceful to you. If your closets and shelves are stuffed with “gifts that don’t bless you”, take control and do something about it.
  3. Have a specific space for everything. Store things where they make the most sense. Don’t keep paper clips in the laundry room because you have a cute basket.
  4. If you get it out, put it away. This is such a simple concept and yet we procrastinate. I am probably more adamant about this practice than most. Raising seven children, things got cluttered pretty quickly. I gave my kids daily room assignments. In each room, I posted an index card with the instructions for tidying the room.The instructions were detailed and simple: put all couch cushions away, pick up toys (whether they are yours or not), fold blankets, etc… This eliminates so much work and avoids confusion about expectations.  
  5. Purging is not a one and done deal. Although I love Marie Kondo’s idea of doing it all at once, you will have to do again until your habit changes (mine is still in process). This is because we aren’t just consumers. We are collectors.

People cannot change their habits without changing their way of thinking. -Marie Kondo

We are not just consumers..png

 Step number one of Marie’s method with my two-cents thrown in:

  1. Clothing

Place all clothes in a pile. I do this on my bed. When sorting Marie says to hold an item and notice whether it “sparks joy.” If you are putting it in your go pile, thank it. If you need a Christian perspective on this – thank God for the item and pray it will bless someone else. I do hang my clothes a little differently than Marie suggests. I hang mine by color instead of grouping them by like items such as blazers, blouses.

Another practice I finish my sorting with is creating outfits with what I have. I call this shopping in my own closet.

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We women are famous for saying, “I have nothing to wear” when we have a closet full of clothes (raising my hand here). Take some time to sort and then put together some outfits. It will make you feel as if you went shopping!

Here’s a tip from Marie on folding:

 

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Schedules are for Unorganized People

Schedules are for Unorganized People

Many years ago, when I was pregnant with child number three, a very put together, organized friend came over and helped me get my home in order. I practically worshiped her. Her home was clean. ALL the time. And beautifully decorated. And she knew where her car keys were, all the time.

Confession: I used to be terribly unorganized. I knew I had organization in me…somewhere. I just didn’t know how to get it out. I didn’t know the simple truth I am sharing with you today….

Schedules are for Unorganized People

Schedules are for unorganized People

I used to think that people who were super organized were born that way. Some are. Some aren’t. I thought I was organized when I just had to take care of ME. Then I went to college, met Mr. Right. Got married. Three kids later and I was drowning in unorganized chaos. You wouldn’t know it to look at me or my house. I seemed to keep the dishes washed most days. And I washed clothes. It was just those days when I couldn’t find this or that or I didn’t know whether I should mop the floor or go through the bedrooms. Not to mention, I felt the need to train my children to take care of their things and learn some responsibility.

I needed a tool to help me. I needed a schedule.

Some gals I know are afraid to use schedules. They are afraid they might mess up. And they will. I do. Some schedules need tweaking. Some schedules get set aside for a day or two. But, they are still great tools.  A farmer doesn’t throw his hoe away if he accidentally hits himself on the toe one day. Or if he doesn’t use it for three days. No, he picks that thing up and uses it again.

A schedule is a tool that I am in charge of. I choose it. I use it. I tweak it. If it works for me, I work it. If it doesn’t, I scrap it.

We gals don’t like people telling us we need to get organized. So, I’m not telling you. Here are some things to consider….. If you cannot find your car keys, your kids don’t have any clean underwear and you eat cereal for dinner several nights a week, those things tell you. I’m not going to tell you what kind of schedule to use. I don’t know what will work for you. I will tell you a schedule won’t work for you if you don’t use one. If you feel unorganized today, you will feel that way tomorrow unless you change your habits. It’s totally up to you.

This article was birthed out of a conversation with my eldest, daughter- Audrey, who commented that several friends had said that schedules didn’t work for them and then promptly threw them out. No, schedules don’t work for you. They are a tool, like the hoe. You pick it up and use it. With your help, your muscles, it tills the soil. It does what is needed by your power linked to the design of the tool.

When you have the proper tool, you can be productive. You can be more in control of what happens on a daily basis instead of feeling out of control. That means you can schedule some time for your passion. That’s what the tool of a schedule does. It frees you. It frees you to do whatever your God-sized dream is. If frees you from fretting about whether you should do the dishes or write for half an hour. Read a book to your child or clean out the garage. You decide. Dust the house and make cookies. Up to you. Instead of having lists and lists of things running through your head of what you should be doing. You know. The guilt list. I should Clorox the sink. I should sweep out the garage. I should write. I should suck up all the cobwebs in the corners. Schedule it. Use the tool. Decide ahead of time. Those cobwebs bothering you today? Tell them- You are scheduled for termination tomorrow. Enjoy your last day hanging around.  Take the powerful tool of scheduling and use it for you. Not for me. For you.

  Let’s together test the power of the schedule tool by trying one out.I know you can do it! Pick up that schedule and use it. Schedule in your God sized dreams. Then share… what has worked for you? What hasn’t worked?

*This is an excerpt from our Mom Habits Course!