The week after my mother passed away, a professional organizer spoke to my homeschool group at an evening moms’ meeting. I had a heavy heart and a busy life, with seven children ranging in age from six months up to eighteen years. I was overwhelmed in every possible way.
Although my mother, who had been in poor health for years, was much better off, I hadn’t quite figured out how I was going to make it without her. Other than my husband, she had been my best friend. I never thought about clutter and organization from a biblical perspective until I heard that speaker, but I desperately needed something solid to hold onto and a focus beyond my grief.
I left the meeting with a signed copy of her book and a plan to tackle the clutter in my home, which has frequently been a struggle for me. Those action steps kept me grounded and productive at a time when I could easily have slipped into deep depression and despondency.
When we moved the following year, I transferred the systems I’d created to organize the contents of our kitchen and bathroom drawers to our next home where I lived for fifteen years, with mostly organized drawers and unorganized surfaces.
This past December, we moved again, and I’m determined to get our stuff in order. I want our new home to be a welcoming place to minister to a friend, to practice hospitality, and to host my new neighborhood’s book club — even if it’s imperfectly.
I once heard a speaker say, “Clutter is postponed decisions.” We leave things where we don’t want them to be because we haven’t decided where they actually belong (which might be the trash). Everything needs a home, and it isn’t on your bathroom counter or piled in front of the books on your bookshelves (two of my personal hotspots).
If we live in clutter, we’ve got too much stuff. Quit worrying about how much you paid twenty years ago for something you don’t want anymore (including clothing). Sell it on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, give it to someone who does want it, or donate it to a local charity. It’s incredibly liberating and gets easier the more you do it.
Recognize that your style and tastes may have changed over time and that it’s okay to let things go. (Sing along to “Let it Go” from the Frozen soundtrack if you need some inspiration!)
After moving into our new house, I made a list of personal goals, which include cooking, entertaining more often, and learning to watercolor paint. When my life is cluttered and disorganized, it keeps me from finishing (or even starting) goals because it steals my inner peace.
How can I find time to pull out a new cookbook or my instruction manual and box of paint supplies when there are moving boxes to empty and piles of stuff in the corner? I can’t. It just doesn’t happen. And that leaves me sad and unfulfilled because I want to make time for those things.
As I keep unpacking and organizing our home, I’m remembering the lessons I learned from the professional organizer after my mom’s death:
Our God is a God of order. If being organized means being able to find things, then everything needs a place. He doesn’t want us to live in shame or bondage to the accumulation of material goods, and I can testify that untamed clutter creates both of these things.
God also calls us to a life of simplicity. In Luke 12:15, He says, “. . . one’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions.” In Christ, we have more than what we can tangibly have and hold. Simplicity requires us to have the courage to let go of what we don’t need so we can embrace the peace that comes afterwards.
If you find yourself with things accumulating around you, even small steps towards decluttering and organizing your life can feel like a big accomplishment. The satisfaction and peace is real, and you will see that simplicity is a blessing to your life.
Do you struggle with clutter and organization? What big or baby steps can you take to tame it?
Aside from learning to keep her new house in order, Dawn loves teaching about essential oils. If you want to learn more about natural health for you and your family this year, Dawn’s book It All Began in a Garden might be just what you need.
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