Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Clutter-Free Living

How much time do you spend, as a mother, taking care of possessions, versus taking care of your family?

In the last couple years I've spent countless hours downscaling. While my home features large living spaces, the bedrooms and closets are small. Too, it has neither basement nor garage. Since mice are known to inhabit the shed, I no longer consider it storage space for anything but lawn gear.

Few homes need downscaling more than ours did, in short.

Today, as I continued processing clutter I pulled from bedroom closets, bookshelves, toy bins, the linen closet and the kitchen junk drawers (not done with the draw-junk yet), I realized that the bulk of my time goes to managing things, versus investing in the hearts of my children.

What a tragedy! And how profoundly I will regret it if this doesn't quickly reverse.

Birthing baby after baby without much extended family around created a mode of living devoted to moment-to-moment tasks. Smart living was something I could only dream about.

Yes, organizing and decluttering create temporary havoc, but they must be done if we hope to raise Kingdom-minded children capable of changing the world for Christ.....for a world-changing mindset leaves no room for clutter, neither physical nor emotional.

How I wish a Titus-2 woman had been around twelves years ago, when I married and began setting up a household! How I needed someone to pull me aside and speak truth into my homemaking soul.

Pray about every single thing you bring into your home. Every item has the potential to steal your time. Thus, take in only what you need to create a haven of rest and renewal.....and not a thing more.

If your child can't build or create or problem solve with a toy, don't buy it. If you already have four or five good quality toys, you're set. Mine don't have game systems or handheld electronics or non-academic computer software...and they're none the worse for it. Don't add more toys, and especially not toys that lead to addictions, like electronic ones.

The more toys your child has, the less blessed he is.

Don't buy more books than you have room for...or more than you can practically display. Tightly packed books rarely get read. Use book tubs and rain gutters so that enticing book covers are visible, not hidden.

Books should beckon, not clutter and collect dust.

Keep linens to a extra sheet set for each bed. Wait until your children are older to buy a nice tablecloth, or buy just one for holidays. Do you really need placemats or tablerunners? Do you really need more than one bud vase or flower-bouquet vase?

Are you thinking you need to be organized to keep a low-maintenance home?  Wrong. You just need less stuff!

What advice can you add?   Share, please.

And maybe try this book, written from a Christian perspective by the creator of Simple Mom. There's also the FlyLady, but I found that hard to follow with a lot of littles around.

Organized Simplicity (Spiral)


Jennifer @ said...

I have been learning some of these lessons the hard way. We've spent a lot of time the last few weeks decluttering closets, cupboards, etc. It's been a looong time since we've dug into some of those spaces. But now, it feels so good to be "free" from it. I hereby vow to resist the urge to fill that space with more STUFF! :)

Sandi said...

I recently bought this book and found it helpful in several ways.

I am with you on the toys. I do find with a 11 yr old all the way down to a two year old that the toys seem double. We have baby kinex and the big kid version also lego plus the chunky lego for Eli. In a few years the baby ones will go and in some ways I can't wait for the space. We also have a toy store that does trades. So when they don't play with something any longer we trade it and then use the money for gifts etc.
I do struggle to let books go though. I think I will read picture books into my old age :o)