Friday, February 8, 2013


Something has been on my mind for several months since my mother in law brought up a discussion with me. The discussion centered around the idea of being organized, specifically keeping one's home and life organized.  She observed that people have varying degrees of organization in their homes.  I mentioned that once I went fishing for encouragement for someone about the neatness of my home and came up empty.  The woman blithely responded that she supposed my home was picked up--that it was sort of picked up.  I was discouraged.  "Really?"  I thought.  I had been trying really hard to keep my home picked up and had 3 children ages 1, 3, and 5 at the time.

I also have open cupboards in my kitchen and once someone commented to me about how messy they were.  I had just neatened them a few days before.  "Really?"  I thought.  I'm sure I've written about these two experiences before because they made a huge dent in my morale about how hard I work to take care of my home.  

After my mother in law and I spoke, I realized that there is a price that is paid both for disorganization and organization.  The price I pay for organization is stress.  I have three kids who are getting older bit by bit.  They are able to help more and more each year.  I am so thankful to be able to share the responsibility with them!  We homeschool, so we live in our home day in and day out.  The more you live in a home, the more mess there is to manage and pick up.  So our house is constantly in use and subsequently is constantly being picked up.

Recently, I received a book about decluttering your home--with a big 1-2 punch.  The book is titled 5 Days to a Clutter-Free House, Quick, Easy Ways to Clear Up Your Space by Sandra Felton and Marsha Sims.  I was curious about their advice.  What can you do when you find yourself with a cluttered home?  But, also, how can you help a friend who wants to declutter their home?  

In the introduction, the authors start off with what I think is a great approach!  They explain that it is the characteristics of creative, disorganized people that make them such wonderful people to be around.  In the same chapter, they go on to answer the question-- "What about guys?"  on pg. 11.  Their answer "Whether we like it or not, women usually care more and carry more responsibility for the house than men."  They take a very gentle tone towards the reader of this book and I like that--a lot.  They approach decluttering from a positive angle.  

Their approach is to gather a team to be in this with you, the reader.  In 5 days, the team boxes up everything that is causing the clutter.  Then, you go through the clutter one box at a time.  When I declutter my home periodicaly and packed before we moved last year, I purged as I went.  I know that works for me.  My one concern about this method is--where do you put the boxes?  Not all homes are big enough to stack boxes out of the way.  

How to purge the boxes is something the authors cover and I thought they had a great list of questions to ask yourself as you purge.  

At the beginning of the book, God is mentioned.  The scripture about two being better than one is cited as a good reason for decluttering as a team.  And later in the book, the authors talk about taking care of things being for God's glory.  Mostly, though, they focus on the primary goal of decluttering being greater happiness and enjoyment of beauty.  Because the book only mentions God on a few occasions, I don't think someone who reads this book and isn't a Christian will be offended.  But, from my perspective, I think that the bits of beauty that we sin in our world are reflections of God.  Happiness isn't my goal in life.  Happiness is a very fleeting thing so I think it is problematic for happiness to be the ultimate reason to seek organization.  An organized home won't automatically equal happiness.  But, that's really just my 2 cents.  On the whole, there are some good ideas and food for thought for folks wanting to do some serious decluttering.

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Books for review.

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