My silly but effective visual aid: If I found out Beth Moore was coming over and I had 45 minutes heads’ up – I could feel happy about the state of my house and be ready to offer her a warm welcome. As soon as I hung up the phone, organized closets would hurriedly be stuffed with stray toys and laundry baskets, dishes crammed in the dishwasher, counters wiped down, candle lit, tea kettle started, and I should be ready to meet one of the most influential people in my life. After a few breathing exercises and fresh lipstick, the house and hostess would be ready.
So that’s my goal.
If I do the annoying things on the days I’m feeling fine, when I have time and energy to do it, then it’s complete. I’ve worked ahead and know that the spare room closet is manageable. While it’s not always possible to make time for each closet and drawer, but when it does come to fruition, it’s fantastic.
I think dealing with clutter and excess does have a direct connection to spiritual health. Simplifying my home and life is a practice of throwing away negative thoughts, giving away baggage that’s been tagging along for years, taking off things that are distracting and becoming increasingly productive for the kingdom of God.
What kind of junk are we letting take up residence in our lives that has no place, function, or purpose??
What is filling up our hallways, corners and hall closets detouring us from the life of freedom God has for us?
Here are a couple thoughts that help me when I’m intentionally simplifying:
PRIORITIZE. What space is bugging you the most & why? Tackle that first.
For me, it was our den. I do my quiet time there and it’s a special place for me. However, our den was a catch-all when we moved in a year ago. There was an old TV, an extra chair that didn’t go, paperwork piled high on the desk, and books stacked on the floor. The space was becoming less sacred and more scattered.
After some drawer organization and consolidation, furniture and books given away, a few old bills shredded, and I’m typing on my mom’s beautiful desk this very minute. It was the catalyst I needed to motivate me. The room is organized and makes sense now. Things have a proper place. Extra items have been removed and dealt with, our den has new life and meaning.
SCHEDULE A PICK UP. This is the coolest thing. You call a wonderful organization, set an appointment time, put it on your calendar and they come at said time. This forces you to have stuff ready to be taken and often will set other positive things into motion to prepare you for their arrival. We have done this in Alabama and Mississippi so I highly encourage looking something similar up in your area.
EXPEDITE THE PROCESS. If possible, hire a sitter or bribe a friend. Block a few hours off, set a deadline and get. it. done.
Know your limits. If this will be excruciatingly annoying for you, call a friend who is weird like me and enjoys getting rid of other peoples’ things. Treat her (me) to Smoothie King and she’ll do the whole house.
Look ahead and know that a busy week isn’t a good idea. When you are able to schedule the time, have a list and quiet house, then stick to the plan. Set timers for each task. Make decisions quickly. Have bins ready with labels: Keep, Give, Trash, Move to a new spot. Put on good music and get to it. Set a deadline to drop off the items. Try to even drop off within the same week.
Be disciplined enough to kindly tell your sweet friend who invited you over at the very last minute for the most fun lunch date ever that she can either come over to chat while you work, or reschedule.
CAN IT GO IN THE ATTIC? We rented our last house, and I honestly didn’t know where the attic was. Now we have a decent attic that isn’t impossible to use. Holiday boxes and wreaths, baby furniture and maternity clothes, it’s all going in the attic. I don’t need them regularly, and I can commit to an fetching festive items as needed. My day-to-day sanity is worth an extra 10 minutes once every few months.
One of my favorite things to think about when in purge mode is the family that will be the recipient of something I donate. I like to think of a precious woman who is using the services that our women’s hope group offers and how nice it might be for her to pick up a blouse, a picture frame, or some desk supplies for a new job. I want to think about how I can bless the programs that are doing amazing things for families in our community, just by clearing out some things in my home.
I won’t pretend to have a tidy home all (most) the time. That would be ridiculous. But I can regularly get rid of excess and re-organize. I can work at loving the state of my home: simple and beautiful amidst chaos. I look up to Beth Moore partly because I interpret her as the type of woman who would get down on the floor with my daughter and finger paint while discussing Biblical truths with me. That’s why I’d love to have her over. Not that I want to impress her, or that she needs to be impressed by me, but that I’d want to get to know her on a personal level.
I have no clue if this will be helpful to anyone, but I am hoping it might be.
How do you simplify? Is there something you do that I missed? I’d love to know!