I don’t know about you, but this mama has had many a day with a messy home and a messy heart. That’s a whole lot of mess to have at one time. Thank goodness my friend Angie Ryg can relate – she’s guest posting today with some helpful solutions on how to sort through the chaos. And she’s doing a fun giveaway! What could be better on an ordinary Tuesday? Here’s Angie…
There was no place to hide. No quick warnings to my children to hush and pretend we weren’t home. No time to duck out of sight from the windows.
It was just after our third child was born and I was nursing in the family room when my neighbor called through the front door, “Hey, Angie, are you guys home?”
An infant and a burp rag were the only things covering me. I hadn’t gotten ready for the day yet, and I was sporting a distinct smell that could only come from the deadly combination of spit up and lack of a shower.
My older two children were playing on the floor with loads of laundry strewn about … the entire floor. There were bowls with cereal floating in leftover milk next to the television, and the dirty diaper across the room had popped open to expose all its lovely contents. It appeared my kids had suddenly been raptured while watching Dora the Explorer.
Yes, my house was an absolute mess. And my neighbor just walked right in. Right in.
As she hugged me I mumbled something about it being a rough night staying up late with the baby. But honestly, being up late was no excuse for the mess she was sitting in. Yes, sitting in. She actually sat on the couch that was layered in more laundry.
I was cringing with embarrassment on the inside. What was my neighbor thinking about all of this mess? I mean really, how did it get so bad?
Something had to change.
I can look back now and see that moment was a catalyst to get rid of the clutter in my life. It was a process. A hard process. But I started by focusing on taking baby steps. The first and most impactful one was clearing all surfaces (including the floor) so only one to three items remained. Now I can at least invite people over.
But I find I also struggle with the clutter in my heart.
In the same way I was not able to enjoy my neighbor’s spontaneous visit because of the clutter in my home, I’m often unable to enjoy activities because of the mess in my mind. For example, I might be reading a book to my child, but thinking of the year-end gifts I have to make for school, the clothes I need to drop off at church, and the groceries that have to be picked up. Time and time again, I find I’m not fully living in the moment.
So, I’m trying something different.
Using the technique of clearing physical surfaces, I’m trying to clear my heart to focus on one to three things. I want to focus on less, but be better focused on these few things.
1 Corinthians 14:33 says, “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace …”
I want that peace. So this spring my children chose only one activity rather than signing up for every sport their friends were playing. I had to let go of trying to attend every game, musical, and meet they’re in. Instead of being involved in a book club, couples’ Bible Study, and a Serving Group, I’ve chosen to do one and do it well. My heart can then be fully devoted to these limited things.
Focusing on a few things to the best of our ability and giving ourselves the right to say “no” can change our days for the better. Clearing activities gives us more time for our families. I’ve found I can read that book and not be distracted by what I “should” be doing.
Another benefit is that we’ll be more available to spontaneously tell others about God and to serve Him. In the same way that my friend just popped over, there are many times God will bring people into our lives at unexpected times for us to share His love. With a clear heart, we are able to recognize these times and make a difference.
With our hearts focused on a few things, we can enjoy them even more. We can thank God for them. Even if the laundry is still on the couch!
Do you have any good tips on keeping your life clutter free? I would love to hear from you! I’ll be choosing one commenter to receive a copy of my eBook, Clutter Free Simplicity – Seven Ways to Clear the Clutter in Your Heart and Home.
By attending She Speaks Intensive this past January, I received the chance to write this guest post, strengthen my writing craft, sharpen my speaking skills, and learn how to market myself and my words. And if that wasn’t enough, I met many kindred spirits who I now call friends! You too can have this amazing experience at the Proverbs 31 Ministries’ She Speaks Conference in July. Click here for more information.
Clean up as you go: put things away as soon as you use them – including cooking ingredients, hygiene supplies, and even the thoughts you think. If it doesn’t line up with the bible – such as being true, good, noble etc. then put that thought in “trash” by repenting of it and/or replacing it with God’s truth. That is how to clear up clutter both physically and spiritually.
When I have a lot going on as far as things to do and can not unwind for sleep I start writing them down as they come to mind knowing it will be waiting for me in the morning. Emotionally i can have the same issue. I try to “diagram” my thoughts like we did in school for the plot and supporting facts for writing a paper then with the issues clear it helps me know where i stand in issues and what i need to turn over to God
I love this idea! Thanks!
I have no idea but would really love some help!! i am a single mom of 2 boys ( going straight to heaven i have been told ) both under age of 5 ( 5 and 2) and i seriously need some help learning to unclutter life and my heart!!! PLEASE HELP!!
I am right with you! I am starting a Simplicity Series over at my blog the next few weeks. Please join me if you would like. And keep checking here. Lysa is so wise about what really is important in our life with God!
Wow did I need this today. I have 3 children, run a business from home and feel stressed most of the time because I can’t get everything done….to top it off, if someone asks me to head up an event, committee or something I generally say of course.. Trying to learn to set boundaries for myself and working on decluttering my house and heart…
I have 3 children, and I work outside the home. I am constantly feeling overwhelmed by the kids, church responsibilities and activities as well as the housework to keep up with. I have decided to make myself write a list of goals I may have for that day…no less than 3 no more than 5. That way I feel as though I accomplishing something, but don’t feel obligated to do EVERYTHING. My goals for Today….Spend some quiet time with God, be “IN THE MOMENT” with all 3 of my girls at least once today and physically declutter at least 1 room in my house….thank you for your insight as well as your words of encouragement!
We keep a yard sale corner in the basement, adding items to the boxes all year. It’s out of the way & simple. When our annual Memorial Day neighborhood yard sale rolls around, we’re packed & ready! If items don’t sell, they are either donated to our church yard sale or Goodwill IMMEDIATELY (they do not come back in our house)! Our kids help because they know they can split the proceeds to do something fun during the summer.
Our house is very small without a basement, so I keep a box in the garage for pass it ons. When Amvets calls for a pickup and the box is full, I say yes, please come and I try to fill another bag or box if possible, making it a contest in the family. Whoever has the most to pass on gets an extra scoop of ice cream, for example. For Grandparents, I encourage them to give gifts of practical items such as clothes or uniforms for activities or even pay for classes at the park district instead of more toys or games that we have plenty of already.
Love this! Our family gives “experiences” for gifts as well and it has cut the clutter big time! For the grandparents that want to see a child open something, they can buy and wrap up movie tickets or the ballet shoes for a ballet class, cleats for soccer, etc
Yes please!!!! 🙂
I related to this 100%! I’ve been work on decluttering my life!!! I was doing many things but wasn’t doing them well!
Google a song called “Uncluttered” by Gwen Smith.
No good tips on clearing clutter here. This mama is still a decluttering work in progress! I love what you said and can totally empathize with the sweet neighbor coming over and seeing chaos. Good to know I’m not the only one who’s ever been here and there’s hope for me to find some order yet! 🙂
Oh boy, I’m definitely needing help in this area. Just when I think I have things under control I turn around & my life & my home are cluttered beyond control.
I just started this with my family and it has helped immensely: at the end of the day, when toys and shoes are scattered around the house, we set a 7 minute timer and pick up as much as we can and put it in it’s place. You’d be surprised at how much you can actually put away in that little bit of time. It’s fun for the kids (because of the race and friendly competition) and it helps me feel less stressed and frustrated about always picking up after everyone.
Yes, isn’t the timer a great thing?! I love getting the kids involved! Thanks for sharing!
Learning to say no without guilt has been the hardest thing for me. I realized when I say yes to every activity etc….I was saying no to my family
This is so good to realize! TIme with our families need to be scheduled just as much as other things!
I subscribe to the blog, “Less is More” for inspiration and reminders.
I began reading books on organizing, learning how others do it, and incorporating what worked best for my “style”. Came to realize it wasn’t just “organizing” – it was letting go of “stuff” that instead of me owning it, it owned me & had become my prison of having to take care of it. One encouragement for me was to set a timer for 15 minutes & really hustle to do as much as possible in that time frame & I began to see improvement. It didn’t happen overnight but taking those small segments of time was accomplishing more than doing nothing at all. God’s surprising gift? a couple older ladies wanted me to clean house for them – which again showed me to “tidy-up” one room each day (& keep them “picked up”) so at any given moment, if someone stopped by unexpected, a quick “stash & dash” at least had the immediate area presentable.
I love how God blesses us in ways we could never imagine!
I’m a clean as go use and go type gal! First of all, I am the organizing queen and everything has its proper place. Once I use something, I put it back in its “proper place”. This helps me from feeling overwhelmed later when there’s piles of laundry, dishes, shoes, and just random things everywhere! I also try to schedule a time for just cleaning to occur. I do this with my housework and my God work. My time with God is in the morning before anyone is awake. This is my time to talk to God about my messes and things that are cluttering my heart. I let him lead me to helpful scripture. I don’t question where I’m going in my bible. All I know later in the day when I need to toss a garbage thought, it lines up with scripture I was lead to earlier that morning.
I also try to plan ahead. When everyone is winding down for the night, I’ll prepare what I can for the next day. You’ll be surprised how a little ironing, making a next days to-do list, even starting on breakfast te night before helps! I’ve learned grits, oatmeal, and even bacon holds well overnight!
I hope some of my tips helps someone!
I like the idea of scheduling a time for cleaning instead of just fitting it in!
Thank you for this post!
Still trying to live in the moment and find joy.
It is a process for sure! On some days it is so good, and on others, I pray for grace! 🙂
Use the crock pot for cooking meals and meal planning and freezer cooking have helped save time. Not to over schedule.
Touch things once…when you bring in the groceries, put them away, when you bring in the mail, sort it and discard the junk, when you take clothes out of the dryer, fold and put away…this works for me!
Can so relate as a mom of two young girls and a nursing student! Working on reorganizing “stuff” this summer while school is out and limiting extra activities so they can just be little girls?
I just prayed about this this
Morning, asking God to help me for this very thing. And then…there it was…Lysa’s
Blog with your book. I really need this. Thank you God!
Yay God! I love it when He does that! 🙂
My biggest tip is to get your kids involved. It not only helps you keep the clutter down in your own home but it teaches them responsibility. I used to be the worst enabler of my children and then one day I snapped. I told my kids that either they were going to pick up their things or I would – and put them in the garbage. It was surprisingly effective. 🙂 Now I make sure my kids know that a clean space = a clean mind, it’s a team effort and that it’s part of their responsibility in our family. They are no where near close to perfect, but I’m pretty sure that when they leave the nest they’ll have some idea of how to keep their own clutter under control. And that gives this momma some peace.
So true! Unless we are open and ready to head the Holy Spirit’s calling, we’ll miss out on what He might have for us, and we certainly can’t do that with a million things running through our brain!
Great post 🙂
Be realistic about the time it takes to do something and put in a cushion. Overscheduling sets me up for failure and frustration. Learning to say no to an overbooked schedule, and yes to a simplified one has allowed me to say yes to my children’s small spontaneous requests for fun! It’s a daily challenge to not overbook our day.
I try to pick up and put away at least twice a day. Although, it’s usually right before my husband comes home from work (so it’s not like he’s entering a war zone!) and then right before bed.
That’s what works best for me to keep uncluttered- and it also helps my mind to stay uncluttered when the house is. Or at least the rooms that we’re in the most!
But, I could always use help, tips and motivation! 🙂
Thank you so much! Clutter is something I struggle with in my home and it is such as good reminder to check my heart as well.
Also, my speaking partner and I are attending “She Speaks” for the very first time and I am so, so excited! I love hearing about your experience….I know it is going to be an amazing time! I would love to be able to meet you if you are attending again!
She Speaks is wonderful! I am so glad you are going! You will enjoy it and be blessed with information, opportunities, and encouragement!
We just officially began summer at our house, and we’re putting several of these ideas into practice – involving our kids more and the evening cleanup. Personally I’m again evaluating where I spend my time and how that aligns with my priorities. I was inspired by Glynnis Whitwer’s book just over a year ago and would love to read another fresh perspective on decluttering both my home and my heart.
I love it when God shows up in the smallest areas. I would say ironically, but in reality, it’s “God”, I’m currently doing “The Seven Experiment” by Jen Hatmaker that focuses on staging my own mutiny against excess. I’m currently on chapter four that talks about “possessions”. With this post, God has showed up again this morning stabilizing the urgency for me to clear out my stuff so more of Him can get in. Thank you for this post and the truth that I needed reminded of again that “my possessions steer my heart”.
God is good to give us reminders in all areas! I am leading a FB group through this and we are on possessions this month as well! (7: Exercise in Simplicity) Please feel free to join. Such good insight on what is important!
I am one who doesn’t feel comfortable with the physical clutter and I try to keep my home clutter free daily. I do however, have a lot cluttering my mind from day to day. It seems the more that I try to get done physically, that there is more on my mind that I think about that still needs work. I have to often quote and let Matt 6:33 sink in to my spirit.
I love this post! I can totally relate to God using the chaos of raising babies to teach me the pittance of simplifying. 🙂 He even moved us into a tiny house just to show us how little we really need each day and that He is always enough. Thank you for this- what a blessing! xo
I fully believe God uses tiny houses to grow big love! <3
I’m SO trying to simplify my life. Learning to say “no” is so hard, especially when there are so many wonderful opportunities – conferences, studies, concerts, etc. With my home, I’m trying to at least clean up the kitchen and bedroom before I leave. I am also being more discriminating with mail – tossing “unwanteds” into recycling right away! I’m working on amassing items for the thrift store too!
That is the story of my life. I am so glad someone else has the same issues. My in laws live across from us and I have been embarrassed many times. Not giving up on the house and not giving up on the mind clearing. “He will keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee. ” Thank God!!!
First if you are trying to get things back in order…make a list of what you want to happen. Then write down steps to make it happen. Do one step at a time and complete it before moving to the next. That way you are not jumping from one spot to another and never finishing anything. I have been told I am excellent at helping people organize their homes and have even been hired to do so a time or two…but in my heart and mind I have to make these list to keep me focused and centered on my LORD and SAVIOR. If not I am thinking about all I need to do in the house and at work and for my other friends and family. I have to make myself take the time for my relationship with HIM or I will become distracted quick.
Awesome! As I was reading this, I was talking on the phone….helping someone with a work issue, gathering up things for a meeeting and checking the time. I realized that the person on the phone needed by immediate attention and I could take care of other things later. Thank you so much.
I’m amused (and confused) that a person who can give advice gets the book… hmmm… Anyway, I LIVE with C.H.A.O.S. (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome), and now we have to move in about a month… Many years ago I even shook my fist at God and said, “You can’t change me even if You want to!” My husband said, “I’m stepping aside before the lightning strikes both of us!” I’m determined to not move the clutter and am thankful for this guest blog entry to get some helpful tips… three things on a surface… having a PLAN… limiting commitments (recalling Anne Ortland’s “Eliminate to Concentrate”)… Lord, please HELP me!
I try to put things away when done with them.
I’m trying to teach my kids to clean up as soon as they are done playing with something. They do this in school and I do it at work. It is the way things are done out of the home, so hopefully it can be that natural at home. I figure if I’m enforcing what their teachers are then maybe I won’t look like such a bad guy.
Story of my life these past few months. Somewhere amid the craziness of being a single parent of two little ones I’d love to figure out a strategy that works for us.
Well I wish I had some suggestions because this topic hits home. Clutter is one of my biggest struggles in my home and life. We have four boys and I thought that as they got older and passed that toddler stage that things would get better but they haven’t. The clutter remains it just looks different…instead of crushed Cheerios and diapers, it’s Legos, basketballs, school papers and snack wrappers. I need to Make time to read your book and apply it!
I am right with you on thinking that it would get easier. I am seeing that I had so much more control over their things when they were little! We are all learning things around this household now… 🙂
No, I don’t but I wish I did. I am trying very hard to de-clutter my house and am making progress. I guess it all starts with keeping up with the day-to-day “stuff”.
I am in the midst of this clutter in my heart and home and therefore could use all the support from your book and encouraging words… so overwhelmed as to where to begin?..
This is what I’ve learned: Be realistic about what you can do during certain hours of the day. I am a morning person, and I AM capable of being productive and positive during those hours. When evening arrives, my whole body and mindset changes. To think that I can sort clothes and mop the floor after the kids have gone to bed would be like asking me to run a 20 mile marathon, because I am emotionally and physically spent. I’ve learned that I need to take advantage of my personal peak times throughout the day; but more importantly, be forgiving and gentle with myself during the low times.
I so needed this, we are a Military Family whose has moved 3 times in the last 6 years, so needless to say being overwhelmed and living in CHAOS is an understatement! I’m just thankful to see I’m not alone! Thank you so much for your valuable insight! God Bless! : )
This has been my life for 17 years. I have four beautiful kiddos and have been a stay at home, homeschooling mom for all of those years other than working part time at the preschools my oldest three attended. I am very unorganized by nature! I have always been the type that went room to room doing a little bit in each room and getting overwhelmed with the clutter and giving up before completely finishing anything! I started last week in one room and have successfully made it through three rooms. Starting on the fourth today! :0) I am
Instead of starting in the messiest rooms, I start in the easier rooms and use the momentum I gain to drive me to not stop! This way I don’t give up and feel I’ve accomplished more because more rooms are completely clean.
Great idea! Another tip is to start with what bothers you the most. If it is the bedroom, do that rather than the kitchen. You have to be able to keep going!
Thank you so much for this. I have been working on decluttering my heart and home. I know this is a lifelong pursuit. Thanks for showing me I’m not alone.
I’m slowly learning to relinquish control. Sometimes I feel overly cluttered and committed because I won’t allow anyone else to shoulder any of the responsibility. I’d love to win this giveaway!
I’m working on decluttering my home and planning more of my week. We started implementing a weekly planning meeting as a couple, because life was just slipping by us. God has spoken to us both for years saying we need to be more intentional, so we are working on doing that. I really appreciated the part about decluttering your mind! I’ve got so many things bouncing around in my head right now that I feel a bit crazy – and I can’t get anything accomplished. I’ve got a huge to do list, and I can’t focus on anything to do get even one thing done! (I sat down to write, and ended up here, if that’s any indication 🙂 Asking God to direct my steps and to quiet my cluttered thoughts!
Love the weekly planning time! Keep it up!
My tip for keeping up with housework is picking up after yourself as you go. Always put dishes in the sink before bed, when changing clothes put them in the proper place right away. I usually can sneak some laundry while getting ready for work.
What I really need help with is uncluttering my mind so my heart will not be so cluttered. I want to be ready for God’s will!
This is SO apropos to where I’ve been and where I’m going. I struggled (and still do on occasion) with the simplest of tasks, like folding a load of laundry AS it comes out of the dryer instead of waiting until there is a huge mountain of clothes on the couch. It’s a wonder my husband even wanted to come home some days with the mess he faced. So I started on the small things. Making sure my sink was clean at night, only doing one load of laundry at a time, picking up the clutter on the floor and making sure the kids kept their toys in their rooms.
It’s a wonder what those small details do to brighten up a home. I still can’t say I LOVE cleaning, but my husband definitely enjoys coming home more when he’s got a clean home to come to. 🙂 And I love the smile on his face when he notices the work I’ve done.
Keeping your heart and home clutter free is a wonderful way to be a helper to your husband! So glad you are blessing him!
I have to just remind myself that it’s not the end of the world if it all doesn’t get done. Then begin to focus on the wonderful things God is doing in my life and that of my family!! One day at a time 🙂
So makes me think of my friend Lonnie who I call Sister Immaculatea. Her house is always perfect with pets and three kids and I have one kiddo and seem to struggle keeping up with cleaning with all my running and going. She has walked in when I threw a body block in front of her because the house was a mess. She said she doesn’t care, she just wants to share time with me and a cup of coffee. Thanks for the article and inspiration!
What a great nickname! So glad she understood that relationships matter much more than the mess!
Thank you for this post. As a mother of 3 and a pastor’s wife, I have clutter in my home and my heart. Love the idea of focusing on one thing and doing it well. I have found myself doing exactly as you said: reading a book to my child, but thinking of 5 million other things!! Looking forward to your book!! Thanks for being a blessing 🙂
You are welcome! I always say clutter is multiplied with each child…even with the clutter…try to enjoy that MOMent today!
I have never been a neat person…but have always wanted things to be neat…so I would always feel down on myself for not keeping things in order and mortified when someone showed up at my house unexpected. One day I just got so tired of the messiness…..so I went through my house…every room…every cupboard every box….every paper…everything….and removed what was not being used on a regular basis,.. items that needed to be kept , i put in storage containers…and I made a place for everything else. If I did not have a place.. I needed to get ride of it. I did not keep items around for a yard sale.. I gave them to goodwill., so I would not pull them back in the house to reclutter. My house feels “thinner” now and I love it !!!! If I get something new….something old must go out to make room for it….now I feel comfortable when someone stops by…no more embarrassment about a messy house and I can find things when I need them
I love a quote by by William Morris that is prominently displayed in my home: “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
Wisdom. I just found that quote and pinned it. Now if I can just live by it 🙂
Love that quote! Thanks!
The only advice I have is to just start somewhere. I would love to read your book for more (or better) advice. I decided I was done with clutter, so I just started in my least cluttered room to not be overwhelmed. Thanks for your blog today.
One thing that helps me to stay focused and do one thing at a time is using a timer. It is amazing how much you can get done and how much clutter you can get rid of in just 15 minutes! I learned this from flylady.net! 🙂
FlyLady is my hero! I’ve been following her methods for years now and it changed my life.
I have been struggling with physical and spiritual clutter for a long time, it seems they go hand & hand , they both have to be decluttered before you can feel peace,
I feel stuck where I am at, but just know I’m a work in progress.
“Uncluttering” our lives MUST also include removing people. I don’t mean become a snob and portray the “holier than thou” complexes we sometimes catch ourselves doing. I am talking about those “toxic” relationships that continually overburden and wear us down. You know the ones, the friend that despite all the help, comfort, and advice you share they continue on the same path, unwilling to make the changes necessary to change their lives. You don’t have to put them away completely but limit the amount of time, effort, and influence it has on your life and your relationship with God.
I’ve been a “FlyLady” follower for years and keep the clutter under control….most of the time! It gets ahead of me sometimes but there’s always a plan to jump right back in! The clutter of the mind and schedule is something I am going to work on in a new way! Thanks for this post today. I needed to see the rest of the big picture to have a calmer, happier and more effective life and more quality time for the Lord’s work and my family.
Yes,FlyLady turned my approach around and I would recommend it ! Decluttering can be overwhelming but is best approached like getting out of debt or losing weight;it has accumulated over time and is best reversed by consistent,incremental steps,NOT a massive 24/7 panic push that leads to burnout.Mindfulness of small,regular changes to cleaning daily will yield new habits and true changes.It becomes self-fulfilling once you see results and want it to continue.If you have a bad week,so what? Just pick up where you let off and don’t feel like you failed ! Keep going or nothing will happen !
Thank you for posting my comment;can someone clarify the sentence about it awaiting moderation ? Not sure what it means !
Baby steps are really the best! And celebrating those steps helps to keep going strong!
Also, I believe the “awaiting moderation” comment just means the administrator checks the comments to see if they are from a “real person” and then you can comment as much as you like.
One of the best things (hard but best) that I did in my life to get rid of the mess of busyness in my life was to get out of a friendship with someone who was toxic and negative. It was very hard to get out of since it was a habit, a bad habit and it left a huge void. I thought I was letting my light shine but one day she told me that the problem with me was, I was too religious. It made me realize that I was being persecuted like Jesus said I would. I had let my light shine and instead of building her up, it was tearing me down. How can I grow as a Christian if I am living with the world? I had to let it go and it was hard. I told her we shouldn’t hang out anymore because we were bringing out the worst in each other. It’s been 3 months now.
Aahhhh, I must read this every morning. God is good. God is GREAT! I have to have His strength and organization to get through every day. I MUST ask for it and ALLOW Him to direct my day, actually His day. My clutter is a big deterrent to witnessing, for this I’m asking forgiveness & more organization daily. I don’t want to teach my 5 children that clutter in our life is okay. I want them to see that God has things under control. WE DON”T without Him! Thanks for your encouragement.
I, too, have been a FlyLady follower for several years and it changed my life. I was never a slob, but used to have marathon cleaning/housework sessions that left me exhausted and took away my precious weekend time with my family. I know now that I just have to spend about 15 minutes a day and one hour once a week to keep things in order. I am now working on doing the same with my mind clutter. Saying No is hard for me…but so necessary. I don’t want to always feel like I’m trying to keep my head above water while knowing I’m not doing anything wholeheartedly.
I have to write things down as I think of them so I can clear my mind of mt “to-do” list. I also have learned to just slow down and take it one step at a time. If I focus on one task at a time I don’t feel so everwhelmed.
Overwhelmed!! That’s all I feel. There are so many demands from kids, husband, and friends that I wish I could uncluter my house but I really want to unclutter my heart. I want the time to focus on the important things like sharing Christ with others and being the best mom and wife that God called me to be. Help!
I love that this was the topic today because I have truly been trying to declutter my house! I have been working on one room and one closet at a time and going through everything and getting rid of items that we have not used in the past year. It is so great because I have found that there are so many items that I don’t use that I can give away to help others. I have a friend who runs her own business out of her home and I found a whole bunch of items that will bless her ministry that I am giving her. It had been hard and I feel like the declutter process is a huge mess at first with everything on the floor as you sort through it but the end result is so much better. I think this is true of life too. Still working on decluttering my mind- I find I get distracted in my mind a lot too. I call it “being preoccupied” when my kids are telling me something and my mind is else where. I truly loved what you said- Live in the moment! Thanks!
I love your idea of giving stuff away to bless another. God is so good to allow us to join Him in is work!
Just this morning I was fighting with clutter…so frustrated that with three kids and working full time, I can’t get control over it. My heart, too is cluttered, and the feelings of being overwhlemed with my home and life seem to suck every bit of joy out of my heart! I will be reading your book and look forward to de-cluttering my life! We are renting a home that is too small and still have a lot of stuff in boxes…I’m thinking we don’t even miss that junk!
I remember reading somewhere that if you see something that needs to be done, and it will take less than a minute, do it right away. It has made a difference for me, as so many things that clutter up my house take just a few seconds each to manage.
That is a great idea! Consistent little steps are so much better than a whole weekend of overhaul! Blessings!
My Plan for this summer is to de clutter the house. This starts Saturday!
I have this same problem. I love to have people over and entertain but I haven’t been able to in forever bc my house is a mess. Also, it seems like I can’t spend any fun time with my children bc we are always having to clean. I’ve learned though not to worry so much about the mess. It’s never going to end but my children’s childhood will.
What I try to pass on to others is that if what should be a blessing ends up feeling like a burden, you’re doing too much. Do one bible study fully and feel blessed, not 3 and feel stressed because you didn’t get your homework done. I’m in the process of letting go of a few things so I can really be there to listen to my teen who’ll be headed off to college in the blink of an eye. Too many times when she’s talking I’m distracted by the rolodex in my head of all the things I have to take care of. I want to be present in the moment and be available to foster one on one relationships instead of being too busy to get together. Remember if you’re doing it all yourself you may be filling a position that keeps someone else from having the opportunity to serve and be blessed.
I’m working on saying no to good so I can say yes to better.
If a new toy comes in, one must go out. Same for clothes, (shoes – well, I have not gotten to that point yet). I also find that if I go to a garage sale, it is best to not bring my children or my husband – they tend to talk me into all these little knick-knacks that I’m always trying to get rid of after. I also follow Flylady posts and try to remember that clutter cannot be organized.
Yes…just spent the weekend decluttering, and still have a ways to go. But I have not lost hope…would LOVE to learn more from the ebook.
I’m going to work on both of these ideas: decluttering my house and my mind. Thanks for the scripture quote, “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace …” That helps tremendously. I’m going to make it into a “sign” to post in various places around my house as a reminder to get rid of the “disorder.” Thanks!
It really changes the perspective on why we make our home a haven, doesn’t it? Not just for our own happiness, but because we want to live more like Jesus!
My children are grown and only have my husband and a 23 year old who still lives at home. I have struggled for years with clutter (home and mind) and have back issues which make many household chores impossible. I have learned to adapt to what I can do rather than focus on what I can’t. I also have learned to be a master of those 5, 10, 15 minutes that we typically waste – that little extra time before you have to leave the house, when you’re waiting on a shower, etc. One of the best things that I did for myself, though, was throw out the to-do list. Rather than have a list that covers 4 pages front and back, I put 3 to 5 things per day. When those are done, if there’s extra time I tackle something else that I know needs to be done. Has made all the difference in the world. After all, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.
After I got married in 2011 at the age of 19, I thought to myself, “Now my fairy tale is here and we will live happily ever after!” Well, once we started our life it made me realize what an amazing mother I really had. She raised me and my younger brother on her own and our house was never messy! Reading your post brings back all the memories of how horrible of a cleaning lady that I was. Lol. I never have taken time to think about my heart being cluttered though and it makes complete sense so thank you for that. I always want to be able to live in the moment because time is not in our favor.
After having both of my babies, I went back to work part-time. Since I went back to work it sort of forced me to become less cluttered in my heart and in my life. I wanted to be sure that when I was home with my babies I wasn’t just cleaning and catching up on house work but also spending quality time with my family. The quality time I began to spend with them was awesome! It forced me to focus on what was important. I learned that it was ok to leave dirty dishes in the sink until nap time when I could work on that kind of stuff. But I also started reading the Lysa TerKerst book, “The Bathtub is Full, But I Still Feel Drained” and that was a huge blessing to learn that it was ok to thank God for the piles of shoes and dirty laundry around the house. And that I wasn’t a bad mom because my house was messy, because I didn’t speak kindly one day to my kids, or because I chose to work. The other thing I would be sure to do is make sure your husband is on board with you. Make it a team work kind of house. My husband helps me all the time because we work together, it’s not just me trying to do all the work and being overwhelmed. I am not telling women to get a job outside of the home, I am saying realize that motherhood is not only joyful and rewarding, but it is clearly a daily job, so learn to put things in order of importance, and use your co-workers (aka Husband) as your team.
How timely! I just blogged yesterday, “Cleaning House”… How it takes us having (expected) company to get our home clean, decluttered, “presentable”…When, really, I should be doing it every day for my husband and children, that the ones who are most important to me should get my best effort, not people I see a few times a year. But that’s what we do, we put on our “company house” and our “company faces” so that people see what we want them to see. And then, reality sets back in —and, if I’m honest—my laziness. I can say I would rather read with my kids or play a game with them than have a perfect house, but what about the hours (yes, hours) I spend in front of the TV when they’re in bed or outside playing? I don’t want to cringe everytime my doorbell rings and worry someone may want to come in.
But the schedule thing is where it really hit me. We have obligated ourselves so that we have one night a week where we don’t have something to do. I can’t say no to people, I feel like I am letting people down if I do. But I know that I can’t realistically keep this up forever. So, I may read and re-read this post (that I printed, to add to my cluttered desk :-0), until I get it through my head that yes, I can say no and that doesn’t mean I’m letting anyone down…it actually means I am being a better wife, mom and Christ follower by not over-committing myself.
Thanks for this awesome post!!!
I am right there with you on cleaning for company. And not just cleaning…One time I put a huge spread of snacks in a cute little basket out for the babysitter and I looked at the beautiful spread and thought to myself, “Why don’t I do this for my own family?” Thank goodness for grace!
Oops, forgot to add a tip. Keep tabs from letting the piles pile up. Hubby helped me esp ehen lvg the car, take everything in with you. Entry hall, dresser, counter tops-kitchen & bathroom esp!–all are breeding grounds for potential clutter too. Keep them clear and take care of the small stuff.
I loved this post! Thanks! I realized last year that I needed to declutter pretty much every area of my life…my house, my time, my plate, etc. It is a process…I’ve come a long way but still have much to learn. Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed, it helps to look back and see where I started. I have been making regular trips to goodwill and a local homeless shelter. I do consign some of my kids’ stuff, but adult clothing and home goods I have dropped off. I have the bad habit of piling up stuff for a yard sale but never getting around to having one. I did sell a couple big items on eBay. We have started clean eating. I cleaned out my DVR and dropped some shows. I erased many people from Facebook…there were many I didn’t even have a problem with, I just evaluated whether their posts actually mattered to me or added to my life. Now I can quickly scroll through my newsfeed. Would love to read your book!
I don’t have tips, but I could sure use some!! I feel like that whenever somebody shows up at my door!!!
Thank you for today’s post. It is a huge encouragement because I am in the process of decluttering my home.
Wow, this is SO me right now. It is as though you were echoing what I have been thinking and trying to do. No, I am not a mother or wife, yet. Although, I am in the process of moving and reading “Boundaries”. All the while, trying to deal with chaos of moving and packing, a controlling and manipulative mother and more. As a matter of fact the other day, she said to me “you can’t handle doing more than one thing. I told her that I can’t. Lately, I find that is TRULY OVERWHELMS to the point of anxiety attacks and what not. So, I find that I have to take things slowly. Granted, the next time I have to move, I will be more proactive and stay on top of things and plan things better and asking God for better time management and discipline.
Anyway, I thank you for this posting. It was and is truly a blessing. I am glad I am not the only one out there, that feels like this.
Thank God for you, Ang.
I too am trying to find a balance to living uncluttered. One reminder that I tell myself is to “Be still and know that I am God” psalm 46:10a. When we take the time to be still before our Lord and allow Him to speak to us, our priorities are put in place, and no, it isn’t always cleaning your house 🙂
I am a mommy of two boys, almost four and eight that I home school. We have a small home and I find my self making stacks with mail and papers. I now when the mail get brought in to the house…stop and trash it I pay bills online so I don’t have those coming to the house and I grow magazines and news papers online. So much less stacking. It makes my time free to do the things and I need to do like read my bible.
OMG! At some point, while my children (now grown) were in middle school, we stopped having people in our home. It was in such a state of disrepair ( due to finances) and clutter. Our garage is so full of stuff, that the vehicles are parked in the driveway. It truly is learning to say NO to things and activities and people. A late life lesson for me, but one I am attempting to implement now. I would LOVE, LOVE to read your book!
I was and still am (to a certain extent) a mother who had to do it all, because honestly, it was easier and faster to do it myself and I knew that it would get done the right way, MY way, or at least that’s the way I played it out in my mind. I also have 3 teenagers and work a full time job. My schedule revolves around my husband’s job as well. I was up 2-3 days a every week with no sleep, running the errands, house work, kids sports and found it very hard to still help those who are in need with a food pantry…..I was wonderwoman! My heart was longing for peace, I had become scatterd brained and my soul was exhausted. However, I still found impossible to unleash my grip around Life’s throat. I had unknowingly trained myself to spiritually, physically and emotionally depend on myself, I had become my own idol so to speak….I had kicked Jesus to the curb. I had to undo the chaos I had created. My knees buckled and I fell to the floor and I began to talk to Jesus, I talk to him everyday! I always thank him first and foremost, sometimes I sing to him along with the radio while I’m driving, sometimes I tell him my problems and challenges, sometimes, I ask him for help, sometimes I’ll randomly talk to him while grocery shopping and ask him “Peas or greenbeans tonight Jesus?” because afterall….he is always with me and is always welcome in my home, he knocked and I opened the door…he is my guest of honor and dines with us every night. With that being said, the stockboy at the store probably thinks I’m a fruitcake! I don’t mind though because it’s comforting for me and life is so much more beautiful with Jesus in it. I have cut back my hours at work, the kids have a chore chart, my husband also gave up hours at work and the kids are limited to one sport a year. I now have my children help me distribute food out to the less fortunate, though they grumble from time to time they always smile when a person cries with gratefulness or knowing that a child will go to bed with a fully belly that night. It teaches them to be humble, to give without expecting anything in return and to see the work of Jesus up close. I still have some things to work on and sometimes Jesus becomes silent with me…..and when he does, I read Jeremiah 29:11-13, there is where I always find him, and it is there that I am reminded to slow down and know that he is in control, not me.
“…life is so much more beautiful with Jesus!” Amen!
This post is so true of my life. I am a stay-at-home mom of 2 littles and also have 2 teens in school. I have a very hard time focusing on one thing, just this morning I was almost beside myself because the house was a mess. I am finding that I parent better and more effectively if my home is in order. I can only imagine how more effective I would be if my heart were in order!
I “thought” I was so strapped for time, but God showed me recently how much time I was spending on Facebook. When I look around, everywhere I go, I see people living their lives through their cell phones rather than with the people standing around them. I have deleted my Facebook page (nothing personal, Facebook!) and have kept the television off more and talked to may family more. Take a little extra time watering the plants on the porch, sitting and “talking”, not texting, with a friend….the list goes on. I cannot describe what a difference it has made. So much more time for God and people – face to face and in person. Not through an electronic device. I’ve even started sitting in the back yard to do my bible study so there are no distractions. I’m loving it!
What a wonderful encouragement to live face to face! Our family is having a media fast next month and I pray we will enjoy “real life” a little more with focused time together!
When I was a military wife the first half of our marriage I learned that living with less is more. Hang on to the important stuff. The stuff that can’t be replaced by going to the store. We have live asimple life, and it reaps great joy. The clutter does pop up, but with less stuff it takes less time to pick up. Less to dust, less to wash, less to organize. Plus I appreciate all I have, and am thankful for all of it. Can’t take any of it with me when I go meet my Jesus!
If I bring something new into the house I have get rid of something. When I look for one thing to donate, sell, or recycle I usually find at least three things! It makes room for the new item and helps clean out unused things.
I was convicted over the weekend about my heart being cluttered with thoughts about how I was not happy. Why? Because those thoughts were in my heart and mind and I hadn’t discussed the issues with my husband. I need to first pray and then talk about with him to help me unclutter my heart, but how to do that on a regular basis I’m clueless so your book would give me guidance. I found the home easier to de-clutter by learning for me the difference between want and need. You see I was buying what I wanted, but in reality I didn’t need it. With that figured out I have been going through my belongings to figure out now what I love, what I use and what I can bless others with. I do this just after Christmas when I have time off from work and the yearly spring cleaning. It’s amazing how I’ve de-cluttered my house. It’s amazing how God will convict me and then I read this. He is so awesome to show us a path.
Yes! I am a multi tasker, but at times I find it hard to NOT multi task. 4 kids, a part time job, 4 pets in the house – as I type this I multi-task (feed the baby while watching my 2 year old drag his coat through a dirty puddle. Note to self, wash wet/dirty coat, boy and boys pants. Oh is that the phone ringing for an on call teaching job? Where was I? Yes type response!)
Angie, I can so relate to this! I have felt this way before and it causes such anxiety in me. I’m going to be clinging to 1 Corinthians 14:33. What a fabulous post, and I’m so excited you had this opportunity to be featured on Lysa’s site. So proud of you, and so blessed to have you on my ministry team. Off to share about this amazing post on our site.
The anxiety you describe still comes to me when I have not focused on key things that I know God wants me to focus on for today. When I focus on being more like Him, it gives me an eternal reason to get clutter free.
I find that a quick sweep of the house before I leave work in the morning helps to relieve the stress of looking at it when I get home!
I’d really love to read your book because while my house is usually kept neat and tidy my heart is so cluttered. It has gotten to the point that if my to do list isn’t almost completely checked off, I can hardly sit and relax in the evening with my husband after our children go to bed. As somebody who grew up in a messy home and has rebelled to have a neat home, my number one tip is taking the 10-30 minutes before bed to go through each room and put stuff away. I have found that my heart is much less cluttered if I wake up each day and my house isn’t in disarray. Just that 10 minutes before bed to clear off the kitchen table and the kitchen counters has saved me so much strife 🙂 waking up and making breakfast for the kids isn’t nearly as painful when you’re not making breakfast in a mess. Excited for the heart change your book could be the catalyst for.
To be honest, I’m still in the process of figuring out the less mess concept … So my tip is not as flashy or inspirational but it’s where I can start… Trying to have God time as many days of the week as I can. So I have something and someone very important in my corner. 🙂
I would really love the opportunity to receive your book so I could take another step or 3 forward in both areas. Thank you for your post above – so encouraging. May you have a blessed day!
I try to focus on one thing at a time. Whether its organizing the pantry, cleaning closets etc. I vacume and have beds made every day. Its amazing what just those 2 things can do for a house!
I completely relate to post. I would love the chance to have your ebook. Thanks for sharing.
I just started this process. I have a friend who has grown very accomplished in this area come over on a regular basis to encourage me and give me hints about keeping my house neat. We also talk about heart issues and she prays for me and checks up on me. She is a true gift from God.
I love the idea of having an accountability partner. My sister and I do the same thing. And we know that if either one of us dies, the other one has to go check the house first! 🙂
My kids have all grown, but I still find myself with a messy house and running too much trying to do too many things. And my heart – even messier than my life. I find it difficult to spend quiet time with God because I’m constantly thinking of what needs to be done.
Wow, what an inspiring Blog Post. We are currently doing this in our home and it is so Freeing! Peace is so definitely a part of this process. Being able to be in the moment is my goal.
My goal for a very uncontrolled mess is remove everything from a room and start filling it with those things staying. Set limits on the room and anything that doesn’t have a place must go!
Thanks for sharing!
Oh my. I need this.
I have spent the last year recognizing when I should RSVP to certain events… If I don’t feel peace in my heart or it doesn’t make me feel joy to attend, I try to reply no… Of course there are always a few things that don’t really allow the option of not attending. I need to get better at not worrying what others think of my choices. I would love a copy of this book.
This sounds just like me…I’m thinking about what’s on my “to-do” list or all the stuff laying around — I miss an opportunity to focus attention with my kids! I see it, I know it, but I’m having a hard time actually changing it (for more than 1 day!)
Oh can EVERY. SINGLE. MOTHER. relate to this post and your experience with your neighbor!!! I think there are seasons in our lives that are just so desperately sacrificial that we allow additional clutter to add up due to the needs that arise elsewhere. That season of your life was all about caring for your little babes- and in doing so, the housekeeping was certainly not the priority. It just couldn’t be! I am a big fan of constant cleaning out and discarding things that are not used. I am also a big fan of praying through my day and choosing what is truly worthy of my time in each moment, or else I would be INSANE. Life is so absolutely crazy most of the time, and I am always completely challenged at choosing what is best for me or my kids each step of the way.
Peace. I struggle for peace in the process of it all. Without contentment… nothing is fulfilling. Especially during this crazy season- I search desperately for it in Him.
I love the idea of praying through your day! We all need that throughout every experience we go through as mamas!
When our daughters were little, I would take five minutes before I went to bed, or if too tired, get up a few minutes earlier and do a quick walk through the house, picking up papers, magazines, books, dirty dishes, and putting them away, or just stacking them. It made the house look neater, and to keep the dust from showing, I learned to not move things around on the end tables or coffee table because dust doesn’t show if things remain in their same location! Also, involving the children in the game of pick up before they can get something else out helps, too! When my mind begins to clutter, I pause and realize God needs my entire attention, and if I look to Him the things cluttering my mind will work out better!
Thank you for sharing. A lot of times we feel all alone in what we face everyday. With your post and everyone else’s I know. I am not alone.
I deal with my messes one small pile at a time. I have MANY small ones, if I look at what I have done and not what I have to do before I know it, is looking so much better. I feel better and the rest is easier to do.
The same works for the to do list in my head. If I write it all down, add to list as things come up, one thing at a time. What I don’t get done in one day it will be okay for tomorrow.
Now, I need to stay focused on what I just said and don’t let it all overwhelm me. As we all know it can and does. Imperfect progress!!!!!!
I am in the decluttering-conviction phase myself. However, I do know a step in living a less cluttered, free-er life is to avoid the trap of keeping up with everyone else–in items owned and events and activities joined. Trying to do what everyone else does is a recipe for burnout. Discover how God has gifted you and target your outreach and “movement” in that direction.
Yes! Comparing is just a sure fire way to be discouraged! God continues to meet us uniquely in every step we take whether it is for getting rid of clutter or what he is leading us to do.
I am going to wipe my tears now…I never would have expected to read my life in someone else’s blog. I have been trying to recover from the mess in my home and my heart, and I feel that God has used you to confirm in my heart what God God has been teaching me. Thank you for being open. Thank you for sharing. And thank you for inspiring me! God bless you.
I have found that spiritual and physical clutter go hand in hand. I feel so much better when my house is neat and picked up, as well as my spiritual side, I feel great when spending time with the Lord on a daily basis rather than not. And I too find myself doing marathon cleaning sessions when if I put aside 15 to 20 minutes daily (as well as doing the same with quiet time with the Lord) that I could be so much better organized outwardly and inwardly. It takes dedication though! There are many times I would just rather sit on the couch and relax after working all day then make the effort to clean. Work in progress! 🙂
I think “Clutter” might be my actual middle name. It is something I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. I have spent so much time and money trying to deal with it. I think there is a real psychological and spiritual component that I don’t seem to be able to grasp.
Paper is my worst area of clutter. Here’s what I do for all of the school paper clutter: at the beginning of each school year, I make a hanging folder with my child’s name and grade. Then when papers come home, my child and I decide if it is worthy of keeping. If it is a “keeper” it goes in the hanging folder. Other items are looked at and discarded. The hanging folders are a good place to store programs from music programs, plays, etc. It has helped me to have everything for that school year in one place.
Your book sounds fabulous. Love how you compared our cluttered homes and cluttered heart. My heart has been so cluttered that it is causing migraines. I am going to try and apply all that you shared. Thanks so much.
oh, I need this! I have no clutter busting tips at all!
Nothing helps me “de-clutter” my mind like a “first thing in the morning with my 1st cup of coffee’ devotional. I use both, “The Upper Room” and “Jesus Calling”. One of the two (or many time, both) are speaking just to me. I jot down a note or two to remember throughout the day.
I love organization my husband calls is unhealthy. I feel you need to be organized and have everything in place so you can enjoy life and have time for friends and family and most importantly time with God. Having kids was hard but now that they are all grown and I have my time to do what I like, I have been doing on line bible studies and I am involved with our church and other groups, but I do have to agree to much is to much sometimes, so being organized helps me concentrate on what needs to be done, one thing at a time, complete the task and move to the next, works best for me. Having a calender helps so much and my lists too are very handy. Being an accountant you need organization at work, so why not have it at home too.
Thank you. Good word. Tip- eliminate horizontal surfaces that collect clutter. (I like that author remembered floor) We can have a lot of those in our heart.
I so needed to read this. My husband and I recently adopted a 13 year old and I am struggling to find the balance between wife, mother, teacher (my job), friends, etc… This is just what I needed.
Balancing life is hard enough without the clutter, right? I am right with you! Blessings as you work it out as your family bonds together. 🙂
I need the tips for being more clutter free! I have 2 kids under 5 and the clutter just amounds! I do try to have regular garage sales to try to purge but the toys and “junk” just keep adding up! As for the clutter in my heart, it is overwhelming me at this time. I wish I could find more peace.
Angie! How awesome is this? Can’t believe I happened upon this post on this day! I strive to be intentional about our activities as well with the one activity per season rule for my kids too. How did I seem to forget that should apply to me as well? Timely words today – time to strip away all but the most important 1 or 2 activities – I want to be fully present to my kids and my marriage. Blessings from your local fan!!
It is so good to be intentional in every area. I feel like you are a great example of that as you are changing your focus to a few things in this next journey of your life. Blessings and so fun to hear from a local friend! 🙂
Daily reminder to self is the only person you need please and get approval from is God. In order for you to take on a new activity you must be willing to give up one you are currently doing.
I am definitely in need of decluttering my mind and home. Holy moly! It is so difficult because as soon as I toss something, I need it. Ugh! Need to learn to let it go. Life has gotten so difficult lately and I am trying to simplify down to just Jesus, me, and my kids.
This couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time for me…finishing up my quiet time and praying about living life more simply but purposefully and giving more of myself, my whole self to the moment instead of being distracted twenty different ways at once!
Thanks for helping me see I am not alone! For us, getting rid of things (giving items away) has helped a lot with organization. I always think that if I am not using it, someone else could be! And, if I end up needing it later, I can always get another or usually God provides in some neat way.
I really needed to read this today. I need to do some decluttering in my home and mind.
My son and daughter, 12 months apart in age, are now full teenagers. I’ve learned that once becoming teens, they are as messy and fussy as toddlers, BUT a little bit smarter. As toddlers, they wore me out physically, and as teenagers, they wear me out mentally. I’m trying to rid my home of 2 things a day, either outgrown clothes, unused toys, or not needed trinkets. I’m trying, but I could sure use more advice and support. 🙂
I love this post. God spoke through you right to my heart.
I am so glad it was a blessing to you today!
Two phrases come to mind regarding cluttered homes and LIVES. The first is ” A place for everything and everything in its place”. It makes life so much easier when this rule is followed. The second phrase is more of a question than a phrase but it puts problem solving in prospective : ” If you had to eat an elephant, how would you do it? The answer is ” One bite at a time”! Hope this advice helps all.
Truth! My advice is to start with the decluttering of “stuff” and then the rest naturally follows. This includes unsubscribing from all that sale/junk emails!
My tip is to deal with the mail immediately- if it’s junk then recycle it, place bills in a folder, file what needs to be filed- should have to pick it up numerous times, restack, move it, etc. touch it once:)
I felt like I was reading my life. I was the same way. I work nights, watch my kids during the day (if you can call it that) and I married an athletic momma’s boy (no hope for help around the house, though he “tries”). So on my days off I was cleaning like crazy and felt like I was running in circles. I was always exhausted. Oh, and don’t forget baseball and softball running around. Then somehow the baseball team adopted our house as the go to house.Which I never thought we were “nasty”, but I live in the deep south where your home should look like it was used for a photoshoot for Better Home and Garden, all the time. So I became real insecrue that nobodies house was a mess but mine. (That is why I love this Blog, by the way). Then one day at church, God spoke to me. He said, Kristin, if your friends can’t walk into your home an accept that this is how you live, then they are really not your friends. WOW! What a weight lifted off my shoulders. So I started doing what I should have done a long time ago and gave it to God, my anxiety and insecurities. I would just have to pray and calm myself and remember the sermon about true friends. I also suffered from a racing mind. For that I write my prayers down in a journal. When I am praying and feel like I can’t concentrate on talking to God, I get my journal out and write it down. That way I am focusing on the writing and what I am trying to say.
I love the journal idea! What a great way to see how God has been faithful!
My tip: Flylady!!
Now, when i was actually doing the Flylady system, my house looked great, i had more free time, was more peaceful, etc.
I went through a time of postpartum depression after my 3 rd child, last fall. At the time, i basically hit rock bottom. I have been pulling myself out by daily quiet time with God ( which i had never done before), and decluttering.
I love the idea of trying to focus on a few things, so you can do them well. I am currently reading about 5 parenting/mothering and devotional books. I love them, but am not really getting a lot out of them, as i may go quite a few days between readings. Maybe i will pick two to focus on, finish one then move to the next.:)
How funny! I busted out laughing, picturing a woman calling through the door and the view on the other side! I’ve been there from mother/grandmother-in-laws, cousins, sisters, and neighbors. I’m still there. With 2 toddlers now, I feel that I’m chasing my tail, all the while, my husband is out fishing. FISHING! Oh to be oblivious to the world only works for one of the spouses while the other spouse is in constant panic mode for that “just in case” someone decides to drop in unexpectingly. I need my home to be a clutter-free, peace loving home that is only half of what it is such as a clutter loving home. No free, no peace and I think your book would give me the guidelines to add the free and peace into my chaotic home.
This definitely struck a cord. When I clear the physical clutter, I am better able to find the things I need, see the beauty of the things around me and be more at peace. How much more, when I clear the clutter from my heart…I am better able to see God and appreciate His blessings and I’m at peace. Such a blessing.
Angie, I’m glad God brought you back into my life after our childhood years. You truly are an inspiration, even with your open & honest look at life. Thank you for sharing your devotion to Christ & your family with us!!
Lisa, thank you for hosting Angie’s guest post!
Thanks Tammy! Your words are so encouraging! I hope to always be open and honest…even if it means letting a neighbor see my mess! So thankful for grace! 🙂
The timing for this couldn’t have been better. Thank you for inspiring me 🙂
I SO need this book…I’m a cluttery person by nature, and freak out when someone comes by without notice, because the house is always a wreck. We have four children, so six people living in a house made for a family of four, AND I’ve just been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I desperately need to declutter everything!!
I am so sorry. I just prayed that you would find comfort tonight.
I try to invite people over fairly often which then makes me keep my house clean, ha! Honestly the book sounds helpful!
This is an area where I struggle. I feel like the key for me is to really think and pray about our commitments and slowly start to clear the clutter/junk out of my house and simplify where I can.
It is good to know we share certain struggles. Each of us has areas that are hard and areas that are easy for us. Clutter is hard for us sentimental folks….easier to do for others that to tackle what needs doing. Thanks for your encouragement. Your book sounds good.
with small cute mess making adorable children, I create areas for their items….hooks at their level, shoe storage, a basket for their art. it is key to revamp it as they grow!
Thanks for the emphasis on de-cluttering the heart—I appreciate that! Two tips I’d like to share is 1) make attainable goals and 2) praise God for what you’ve already accomplished, not focus on all that needs to be done yet.
Thanks for those tips. I think celebrating is such a great part of the process! It helps us to stay grateful to God for what He has done!
Loved this post. I too need to de-clutter my house and mind. Thanks for sharing.
Great post, Angie! I like the idea of applying the same principles when decluttering the heart and the home.
Thanks! It helps me to connect the two because so often they really affect each other in my life.
I discard junk mail as soon as I bring bring it in the house.
I would love to read this book! I wish I had decluttering advice but I sometimes feel anxiety just thinking about where to start with all my clutter 🙁
Fantastic Angie! I love your authenticity. It took me back a few years when my kids were younger and how busy and overwhelming life can be. Even with grown kids I can still find myself with a mess in my head! I so appreciate the reminder to keep it simple. To not overcommit and do a few things well.
I’m so happy I met you at She Speaks and now call you my friend.
It really never gets “easier” even though the kids are older does it? I am so glad we met at She Speaks as well! From the first van ride to our Bible Studies now, I am glad we connected! Blessings Friend!
Being a single mom makes it really hard to do all of the things you have mentioned. I have a full time job, we only have one sport per season (this season it is soccer but because of the age division of my children we have to attend twice a week) and the closest family member i have is a 45 minute drive away. However, my tip is that I let my boys sort out their own toys and decide which toys to donate. I also find it best to let them sort out their own school work as we can not keep everything they bring home. This helps with the clutter in the home and teaches them a valuable lesson as well. I should also mention that my boys are age 5 and 6.
I agree it is so much harder as a single mom and it is so hard to be away from family. I just prayed for rest for you tonight. Just sweet, focused rest. Blessings on your family!
Yes, indeed! I have been caught in the same place. We live in such a small house that clutter piles up too quickly and easily. Would love to know more!!
My husband has said from the beginning one sport at a time. However, with my 4 and 5 y ear olds, that meant two different ball teams and some games overlapping one another. Talk about stress!!! Couldn’t imagine if each of them were into two or three different things. 🙁
Great post and I look forward to decluttering my life! 🙂
Clutter for me is an every day chore! I try to eliminate what is not necessary as I go! I had a revealing event spiritually a few years back when Dean Sherman was ministering at our church. I went forward for an altar call. He was praying for everyone and words of encouragment for some … I was praying that he didn NOT have a word for me!! But of course he did. He said I had a “cluttered faith.” It took me a while to work through that with the Lord. But as I did, I learned that just as I have to keep the countertops in my house cleaned off, I have to guard my heart from getting caught up in the cares of the this world. Putting trust in my ability to hike up my boot straps far enough or good works to make it through. And a bunch more of un-holy thoughts that were not pleasing to the Lord. It is in Christ alone I deliberately put my faith and my trust!
Besides doing my best to stay organized, I never buy anything on impulse, but instead I pray and think about it. That helps to reduce any potential unnecessary clutter in the house. Why add things we may not need, right?! Thanks for the devotion today! It touched my heart.
I have decluttered my house of two people… My boyfriend & his son… We decided to not live together after three years… to repent …to clean the bad out of our hearts & start living for God… It’s been very hard tryin to start over fresh but what a blessing it’s going to be living out Gods will …!!
Awesome! So proud of you girl! You will see God’s blessings pour all over you.:)
Great idea! We tend not to want it as much if we do not see it. And if we are honest, there is really little that we “need.” 🙂
We just purged my daughters room of her younger toys, bonus was she sold some stuff and (gasp) bought more toys.
Oh my, but I need this! I have been feeling so convicted of the clutter around me! I think I just need to start!
I strive to at least have the kitchen cleaned up every night before bed.
Isn’t that so nice to come to a clean kitchen in the morning? My daughter just blessed me with doing that for me tonight as I read through these comments. I know tomorrow will be a much better day when it starts because it will start with a clean kitchen!! Thanks to my Sweet Girl!
What a timely post for me. I am working on the clutter in my heart. I think god is really trying to teach me to have grace for myself.
Angie, I just love your heart! I find myself asking, “What is the better part?” when life threatens to spin in its chaotic fashion. I love how Jesus challenged Martha with this truth–slow down and focus on knowing My love first. Seriously, my day moves forward so much more abundantly when I begin with the better part!
Amen! To slow down and spend time with Jesus is the way that He will guide us in our next step, whether that is in clearing our home, or our hearts. Blessings Friend! 🙂
Thank you for sharing this. It speaks to me but I am sharing it with my daughter who is where you were. New baby and toddler. Difficult sleep deprived days trying to focus on what is important. Thank you!!
If I make the beds (not necessarily with all the decorative pillows) every morning; fold (no problem) and put way (big problem) the laundry as it is done; and load the dishwasher to have a clean sink before bed every night, it helps everything else.
God has been teaching me to have grace with myself. I see all the mess and I get overwhelmed because I don’t know where to start. So each morning I wake up and ask God, “what do you want me to accomplish this day?” I focus on one area a day. Since I homeschool my kids I have to set a timer. Otherwise I get hyper focused and don’t stop what I’m working on until it is complete. Imperfect progress.
Oh, I am thankful for the blessed imperfect progress! And His grace to take us through!
I don’t have any tips, but I could sure use some biblical inspiration to tackle the physical clutter in my life. At this point, I’m not as aware of spiritual clutter as I have been in times past, but the physical clutter….that needs attention.
Not to say that some areas in my spiritual life don’t also need attention, yet I have been engaging in a challenge to “be present” and uni-task instead of multitask. I hear the Lord speaking clearly these days, in most areas, and in some areas a waiting of sorts.
But I need to clean up my space, so that I am not caught in a similar situation to the one you described.
This so reminds me of my daughter who has three children at home, two homeschooled and one starting in the fall who is really ready now. The youngest two have special needs. Special needs children need extra time. She gets no affirmation, and for some reason it doesn’t count if it comes from your mother. Her husband lost his job today.
Oh, I am so sorry. I just prayed that she (and you) would be able to remain focused on God’s love through this. Blessings.
Great post!!! This is such a hard thing to do, but definitely worth it. The mess with newborns, that is a harder deal. 🙂
This is a great post! I spend so much time thinking about the clutter in my home that I never even consider there may be clutter in my heart. Maybe de-cluttering my heart really will help me to feel less overwhelmed with the clutter in my home. Thanks!!
It really helped me to focus my thought life as well as clearing out my home. I found they were more intertwined than I thought! Blessings!
Dealing with an overly cluttered home office, who has the time to file and organize all those piles? Ahhh!
When people enter my home, they step directly from my front door into my living room. Our family spends a lot of time in the living room and it had become an area where everyone chose to take and leave things. Clutter had become a real problem and I would dread someone coming for an unplanned visit. We finally found a solution to the problem! Every night before we get tv/treat/relaxation time, all toys, kids books, cups, dishes, mail, extra shoes and miscellaneous items must be returned to where they belong. Everyone is motivated to pitch in and get the job done quickly so they can move on to a more enjoyable activity, like a movie, favorite tv show or even a treat.
What a blessing that people can come right in and be welcomed into the heart of your home. Rewards are such a great motivator! And for clearing my heart, my motivation is a mind more focused. Great ideas!
When I go to bed every night, I straighten up the living room. And we’re working on getting the girls to clear EVERYTHING off the table after each meal
This blog is a blessing that I needed today! This is exactly what I am going through right now and I think i needed to read this to be aware of the clutter that is building in my heart because of the clutter in my life! It confirmed that I need to simplify and slow down! Thanks soo soo much for this!
I’m pretty aggressive about decluttering. If there is something that hasn’t been used or moved in a year, its time to analyze: (1) give it to someone who will make use of it, (2) trash, or (3) give it a three month stay of execution to see if anything changes now that you’re paying attention. If it doesn’t then see #1 or #2!
As one who borderlines on hoarding, my biggest tip is to let someone who loves you help you. When my heart or my mind is full, I turn to Jesus, give my spiritual clutter to Him to help me sort it out, let it go and feel free and at peace. With my worldly clutter I do the same, I turn to Jesus who in turn usually has my daughter show up and because she knows and loves me she helps me to sort it out, let it go and feel free and at peace…isn’t His love amazing?
Yes, His timing and love is perfect! 🙂
My kitchen seems to be the worst. If I at least clear off the table so we can eat breakfast and wash the highchair tray, mornings seem to go more smoothly. Would love to read your book and get some ideas!
What a wonderful message!! I have no advice but appreciate your words. All I know that I am a work of progress not perfection. Can’t wait to read your book.
Narrowing the focus is a wonderful idea! Sometimes I think that is what I need to do. When I start cleaning, I do not want to stop until it is done. This sometimes leads to grumbles and groans from my children.
I am trying to simplify the clutter a bit in our house. That works fine in the “family” areas, but my children and my husband tend to be collectors. They find it very difficult to part with things. This leads to stacks, which leads to mess, which leads to disagreements. I am trying hard to work on this, but I really don’t know how to approach them to make just a dent in it.
My best friend is the epitome of the uncluttered mind Angie describes. We’re very different and much like Mary and Martha; she always welcomes others into her home and enjoys them, while I don’t hear a visitor’s single concern until every last dog toy and pacifier is picked up. I do the same with my daughter who is four. When we read, do worksheets or even play games I find myself thinking about and being distracted by everything else, whether it’s the cluttered desk, the many loads of unwashed stained clothes or the grocery list that “needs” made. I kid myself thinking that if I get these things done then I’ll have the time to do the necessary things with my kids. I appreciate this article and the awareness it’s provided. Change doesn’t happen over night, but asking my best friend to pray for me and taking some tips from her just might set me free from this battle and declutter my mind.
My life has been cluttered for so many years I have a fear that it can’t be de-cluttered. I will not give up hope though. Just this morning I read Psalm 30:5 – “…weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”
When you put God first, with everything you do, everything else seems to fall into place…even the clutter in our lives.
Thank you for these words! In our early years in ministry, when our chikdren were little, we were very protective of our ministry schedule. We put our sons baseball games and our daughters horse shows into our daytimers and we committed not to miss even one….and we didn’t! Every game, my husband would be at the outfield fence talking to our son about the importance of just doing your best and having fun. (He will be 18 this Sunday and he remembers those talks at the fence and that his dad and mom never missed one of his games….and that he was more important to us than any church function or member!) At this time in my life, I am finding that I need to find a balance in protecting my time so that it is not cluttered with too many things. Thank you for this very timely reminder!
How about those “sounds good at the time” moments when we commit to plans, school events, kid activities and the time comes and then we question why we said yes. I used to think I needed to be involved in everything and once I started saying no but saying yes to my family and things that are important to me many more things became enjoyable and I became more enjoyable.
I am trying to really ponder a purchase that isn’t a grocery item. The clutter just gets to me after a while, yet no matter how much I get rid of, there’s always back up. Where is this stuff coming from??
As I read the post, I thought…she is talking about me! Laundry piled on the couch, toys sprawled across the living room floor, dirty dishes flooding the sink, etc. I came to realization after attending a Conscious Discipline training that I needed to change my perspective as well as my self talk to more positive. For example, instead of stating, “This house is never going to get cleaned.” you change it to “I can do this one room at a time. I will start with the kitchen today.” As you focus on the positive “I can” and “I will” instead of the never or should statements it makes a difference in clearing out clutter in your home and the negative “clutter” in your mind and heart.
For the physical clutter in my home, I’ve been trying lately just to get things organized to the point where everything has a convienient place to be put away (preferably out of sight). And for those times when I feel overwhelmed with all there is to do, I try to remember that Love matters most– Love of God and for others–and then decide what chore or activities will best demonstrate that love and do that first. I always seem to have a much better attitude and feel more peaceful when I’m consciously doing my work because of love.
I do struggle with clutter… or maybe not clutter but just getting things done so my house is not a disaster. I work on tryng to get rid of things that stress me out, like having too many possessions…but I think I’m the only one in my house who is in favor of that strategy! I could really use a peek at that book and your tips! 😉
I always tell my kids that the clutter around them is a reflection of the clutter in their hearts. For a type A personality I am always in the look for things that are where they shouldn’t be or that are unnecessary, to get rid of; I always have a big bag that I am filling out with stuff to give to the goodwilstore; but the clutter in my heart, to fully live “in the moment” that’s where it gets me. I so understand when you said not being able to enjoy reading a book with your kids because of thinking on the task that waits for you to tackle… I am learning that God really wants me to enjoy life, that saying “yes” to those little things that I tend to push away for a “bigger or more pressing thing” can really make a difference at the end of my day when I think about what I did with my time. When I purposefully choose to enjoy the moment and say “yes” to the people I love, God and I win, is one more step towards imperfect progress right? and that is what counts:)
Thank you for your comments. I agree completely about setting healthy and reasonable boundaries for ourselves, as well as our kids, to limit the chaos in our lives and allow more peace.
I loved meeting you and getting to know you at She Speaks Intensive! What an amazing weekend that was! It’s so fun reading your words here. And I loved your e-book. So, so good. I’ve been on a de-cluttering kick for awhile now, but I like the correlation you drew to the “clutter” in our hearts. That’s good food for thought.
Great post, my friend!
I don’t know that I have some secret answer to de-cluttering my life. I try to keep simplicity as one of my values so that I am not overwhelmed or over-focused on too much…but alas, I’m not very good at this. Your words above were very encouraging and helpful for me this morning. For me, when I focus on simplifying I have more time in my mind and heart to be available to my children. Leave work at work. Leave school at school. Make simple dinners so my time is not wasted. Schedule time for cleaning instead of trying to do all of it every day. And most importantly, I have to let my mind relax…peace and quiet…even if it means quietly reading a book to my daughters.
I can so relate to what you are saying…..”Leave work & school there because I’m a teacher and I have found that when I plan my meals & even have the same meal each night of the week that this helps with planning and gives a little more family time in the evenings.
I know for me I have been so cluttered for so long that I don’t know anything but… So it’s hard for me to give advice when really I need to take it, take it in and believe too that I can de-clutter my house and mind with only God. I would LOVE to get this book! It would be tremendously helpful in my life at this time.
I’m working on decluttering my house, but my cluttered schedule makes it difficult to find the time to devote to the decluttering. So I have a loooooonnnnggggg way to go. But I have found that if I allow a little time to relax, wind down, do something fun, I am much better able to tackle the rest of the day.
Try to put things where they go right away. Touch it once idea…
One tip I heard from someone was that if it takes less than a minute to do, do it right away. So for instance, when I come home, I put my ring of keys on its peg – I know where it is every time now. I am still working on doing these quick things right away, but it has already been helping!
My heart was so relieved after reading your blog post and the comments after. I was thinking “hallelujah, there are other real women out there who don’t have the clean house persona down packed!” I had a very similar pop in visit happen to me a couple of months ago and I felt the same exact way that you did. I have a son who is almost two and am pregnant with my second little boy right now. I have never been good at keeping a clean house, but on the day of my pop-in visit I felt like all my faults as well as laundry and dishes were on show and exposed. It was a dear friend who still loves me, but since that day I have done what I can to make sure I pick up before going to sleep and that my son picks up his toys too. I have been so tired and stretched emotionally and at times physically in this preganancy that I didn’t have my priorities right and on that day I definitely realized something even in a small way needed to change. So, I have kept my counters and carpets clean as much as I can and that has made a big difference in our home. As far as my heart goes…I have been a strong believer in boundaries along with consequences and I think I lost sight of how boundaries can be used to help me declutter…well me…not just my relationships with others. Being honest with myself and staying in the moment has been hard, but thank the Lord that I am able to chio away at some progress everyday! God, used this blog to remind me of the hard work I am doing and to take joy in the moment right now for what I have acheived. Thank you everyone for your honesty!
Organizing clutter is one of the hardest things for me. I am really good at hiding stuff out of plain sight though. 🙂 I tuck it in closets, under beds….in reading this I also realize I am good at tucking away clutter in my life as well. Thank you this was a great read!