Have you ever looked around at all the clutter in your home and wondered how in the world it all got there? I think we all know the answer. One day at a time. If we stop and consider the sheer mass of objects that make their way into our homes via daily mail, groceries, packaging, gadgets, clothing, library books, shoes, hats, coats, gifts from holidays and birthdays and special occasions...it really adds up. But a house is only so big. The piles of merchandise cluttering the average house in America make many homes feel and look more like warehouses than homes.
What Comes In Must Go Out
My solution to the clutter in my home is to declutter a little bit each week. I don't really have a system or schedule to it, I've just incorporated this into my lifestyle. When I go around from room to room picking up, I gather things that don't belong. Some of it is trash and some of it is just stuff. The trash part is easy. It's the "just stuff" that gets tricky. After all, there was a reason that particular item made it's way into my home.
How to Let Go of STUFF
Take a picture of your home when it's cluttered. Somehow seeing something in a picture has far more impact than seeing it with our eyes. If you don't like what you see, use that as a springboard for change. I always try to remember how very little we really need to live and grow and be happy. And then the I consider whether the items in question are really necessary. If they are, then they need to have a place. If there is no place for them...maybe we don't need it after all.
Another thing I remember is that this earth is not my home, it's just my current dwelling place. Some people seem to drown in the trappings of earthly belongings. So I choose to let go of stuff based on need and space. Developing a tough skin in this area along with a generous nature (to give things away) helps a lot.
It's All in Your Mind
Mental imagery is a powerful motivation tool. I have a mental picture of my dream house that guides my homemaking style and my home is now what I envision - a lovely place of calm and joy that beckons me to relax, create, enjoy and live. It has nothing to do with wealth. I could decorate a shoe box. It is all about keeping your home clean, livable and lovely.
Family size plays an important role and large families in small quarters will be more challenged than smaller families. So it's imperative to work with what you have. That is the first mental step to anchor: work with what you have. When what I have isn't working for the space we have or the season we're in, I put it up for sale on craigslist and simultaneously keep my eye out for a bargain replacement. But keeping that dream house mental imagery gives me motivation to make my castle as good as it possibly can be.
We all have daily clutter. But it becomes a problem when you don't dust or vacuum much because you can't see the surface. Kinds of clutter to look for are old books, magazines, board games, videos, baskets, toys, hobby supplies, useless collections and knick knacks. I've moved so many times now that just packing has forced me to pare down more than I would have done otherwise. But I really believe that "less is more". The less unnecessary stuff we have, the more space we have for really living.
No matter how much clutter a home has, it still all begins with a mental plan and a firm commitment to really living. We cannot live in piles of stuff.
If you need some visual inspiration to declutter, try looking through decorating magazines with beautiful pictures. This also helps to uncover style preferences: what colors, furniture styles and decor draw you? Make sure that you include your husband in your decorating- it's house, too!
It's a joy to be in a home that speaks of both a husband as well as his wife. A friendly balance where both tastes are represented and appreciated is such a vibrant combination. Even if a husband shows indifference to the matter, I believe a savvy help meet should look for clues to his preferences in color, style and arrangement.
What Does Your Home "Say"?
With your mental house imagery inspiration, begin to do some decluttering every day. Here a little there a little. You'd be surprised how far you will come in just a few weeks. Every home has a personality and speaks of the ones who abide in it. What does your home say about you?
To me, clean, uncluttered homes say, "Peace and gratitude" whereas dirty, cluttered homes say "Disorder and greed". Why greed? When an inordinate amount of stuff is crammed all over, I believe it signifies excess. Too much. And why would anyone want to have "too much"? Shouldn't we strive to only have "enough"? I really think so.
Proverbs 30:8-9 Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.
It's in your hands. If you are blessed to be the keeper of your home, then you are responsible for keeping those walls, roof, floors, belongings in good condition so they can be enjoyed by your family and guests.
It's a reality: some husbands balk at getting rid of clutter and many who are direct impediments to the best efforts of a home maker to keep her home in good order. These men are a tough case - but not hopeless! :) First of all, don't nag him. It really doesn't do any good and will only make you less lovely in his eyes (not a good thing!).
Instead, try not to speak of your new resolution to live an uncluttered lifestyle. Actions speak volumes above words. Just put your plan into action.
The best place to start that will bring immediate feelings of success and progress is ridding your home of trash.
Next, put your and your children's belongings in order adn watch for what qualifies as "clutter". Purge any unnecessary items little by little. After a while, your husband WILL begin to notice the difference. He may not say anything but he'll start to appreciate what you're trying to do.
Then if the only clutter that remains is your husband's, it will be painfully apparent. If you think he won't object, seek to to store his items neatly. If need be, scout out some bargain priced storage furniture to tuck away his stuff into. Look for "closed storage". These are cabinet style shelving with doors. So all the stuff inside stays hidden - a very good thing!
If it's been a while since you've had company because of the your home's disarray, perhaps just bringing the subject of hospitality up will inspire your husband to support you and provide you both with the Big motivation you need to get your place into shape.
One more thing to remember: no matter what or who is your stumbling block,your "office" is your home. When you go around decluttering and arranging your home, remember to think in terms of how you are preparing it for entertaining. When we minister to family and others, we're serving the Lord well. There is just absolutely no place in the world like home is there? :) And making it the best it can be is within the reach of each one of us.