decluttering

Of Grand Sweeps and Proclamations

We were decorating our church for VBS a couple days ago. With strange similarity to Joanna Gaines’ grand sweep of her arm and proclamation, “We’ll remove this wall,” I was saying – we will declutter that counter…that table…the foyer…this room. Everywhere I went – a grand sweep and proclamation.

I didn’t realize how obsessed I sounded until a lady from my church said – you are really into decluttering, I should have you come to my house.

For a minute I felt kind of proud that someone recognized this love affair I have with getting rid of stuff…mine, yours…whoever’s is cluttering up that counter over there!

But it’s been a couple days now and I realize that surely people must think my house is perfectly decluttered and organized by the way I constantly talk about it, post about it, write about it.

And well, it’s definitely not!

Clutter creeps up. It multiplies. It seems to just appear.

Probably the reason I constantly bring it up is because it’s a constant battle.

I’m not naturally organized. This is something I’m learning and growing in. I do not like the tediousness of taking the time to put things away. Everything does not have a home yet. Some things get shoved here and there. Which is why I have clutter.

So I know slimming down, giving everything a home and the big doozy of actually putting things away would help. But let’s not get too crazy!

When the house is tidy, I feel better. So it’s worth the effort.

Are you a weirdo and get excited over decluttering like I do?

 

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faith · Outdoor spaces

Sitting Spot

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.-Psalm 90:14

And so the story goes that I had this little patio table and chairs dropped off here from the Texas house. It didn’t fit in our little side yard off the kitchen, my front porch was already full, but that strip of grass and rock on the other side of our driveway, where we have a tiny little, garden bed, now that was a possibility. But me, with my inability to visualize, didn’t know if it would look good sitting over there or not. So I thought, I’ll just try it and if it doesn’t work out, I’ll sell it in a yard sale.

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Before I could actually set it up, I had to clean up that whole area. I pulled weeds and moved pots. We actually re-dug (is that even a word? I don’t think so) the little garden bed, added garden soil, and then planted four tomatoes, one bell pepper and one lemon cucumber. In a planter box nearby (in a galaxy far, faraway…) I planted two more tomatoes.

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And what to do with those potted baby Christmas trees my daughter bought that were still in their plastic pots from Christmas? Yes, I repotted those in better pots I had laying around and created a gnome forest. It’s actually kinda cute.

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Do I actually sit over there? Not so much. Not yet?? Does it look good and make me happy? Yes!

Don’t let obstacles get in the way. If you live in a small house – make the most of it. If you only have a patio or small yard – do the best you can with it.

Resourcefulness is fun. Creatively using spaces with a small to non-existant budget is a fun challenge to take on. So do the best with what you have, find or pay very little for.

What space are you making the most of?

This little spot could be a nice place for morning devotions. A comfortable place to sit, a table to set a drink and a book on, and a little bit of nature is all you need.

Have you spent time with God outside? Maybe on your porch? It’s a refreshing feeling early in the morning. Spending time with God is a great way to start your day.

 

 

faith

Reminders in My Walk

I’ve had instances, lately, that have reminded me of the importance of living a more spiritual life.

One of my kids have brought home a boyfriend that’s, of all things, an atheist. I looked around my house and around my life and thought, why isn’t my faith more obvious in the way I live? I thought if only I had the practice of family worship firmly in place.

Another incident that happened just yesterday, was a lovely couple came to my door, Jehovah’s Witnesses. The woman was well prepared. I was not. This is also something I’ve been wanting to do. Learn and prepare myself to give a word when needed.

I’ve had a real longing, lately, to get more serious in my faith. Mind you, I go to church every week and teach a children’s class there, I have a small weekly Bible study in my home, but I’ve lost something I used to have. A certain intensity. I want to be all in – 100%.

I want to be focused on the Lord and finding ways of not only living out my faith but of sharing it.

How are you doing in your walk? Are you lacking something? Are you putting into place spiritual practices that bring you closer to God?

 

home

Checking Off the To-do List

I’ve been working through a long to-do list from around the house. The hall, my closet, the laundry room. These are areas that have been cluttered up for awhile. I’m getting closer to my goal which is to have a less cluttered home so it’s easier to keep it clean. I still need to tackle the toy area in the living room. And at some point, sort through the stuff in the garage, go through the drawers, and then go through the house again looking for things to get rid of.

I feel like if I can get my house more manageable and simplified, then I will have more time to put into place some new routines. I also have a to-do list for things I’d like to start doing or do better. Starting a new habit takes will power, time and focus. Some of the new things I’d like to do are regular family devotions, more time in prayer and Bible study and possibly trying to learn the guitar again. I’d like to make a bigger deal about dinner time. I’d also like to do certain things with/for the kids.

What new habit are you trying to form? Do you have goals for your home? family?

 

devotional · home

When it All Works Together

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28

What?! That day when all falls into place!

Yes, it totally snuck up on me!

I’m talking rearranging in a house that doesn’t even seem rearrangeable.

I have this wide hall area that the bedrooms, bathroom, and laundry room open to which also opens out into the living room. It’s small but big enough for all the junk in the house to congregate in. So it has become a convenient dumping ground.

Recently, I decided I was going to do something about the stacked storage boxes and other random stuff in there. And no, it wasn’t my favorite. I knew I had to sort through boxes of old baby clothes and old school papers. And that it would be time consuming and it was. But having made it through those storage boxes, I knew I wanted to finish that area. So a couple days later, I jumped back into it. One challenge I was having was how to make a built in half shelf with a chest stored on the bottom look nice and not junky.  I was struggling with trying to figure out what kind of storage I’d use to corral things on the chest, when suddenly I realized that the old dresser I was using as an entryway table would fit just right in that space. Which meant I could use the antique dresser that was stuffed in my closet for the entryway and then the chest (in the hall) could go in my closet. I actually prefer my clothes hung up and in bins instead of using a dresser. Now, I feel I’m one step closer to an organized – ish home. By moving things around like this, I actually gained 3 drawers of storage for the living room and used the space I do have, more wisely. I call that a win!

 

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This is real life people. This is doing the best you can with what you have and incorporating your love for old wooden things!

If only my life were like this day. The day things finally fell into place and made more sense. And yet we are told in the bible that “all things work together for good.” That means the good the bad and the ugly are somehow, in the end, for our good.

Oh Lord, and what hope that gives us! God doesn’t leave us to figure out how to make sense of it all…He doesn’t leave us to try to make it all fit somehow, he just tells us to trust in Him. To leave it to Him. And He’ll take care of it. And one day it will all fall into place.

What’s happening in your life that you need to trust God with?

What storage areas are not working for you? Try looking at things in a new way.

simplicity

Live Like Yesterday

Maybe I’m romantizing, I don’t know, but my spirit longs for a simpler time.

I remember being a young child at my great-grandmother’s house. Those old wire fences and gates, the flowers-a certain feeling I can’t name. Clothespins and metal wash tubs.

I’d trade the world today, the internet, the lack of morals, the fast pace, the general chaos – where things are being muddled together for a time when it was ok to simply spend the day canning fruit, where washing clothes and lugging babies on hips was enough to do in a day, where roles were defined and standards were in place, where going to the store meant dressing up and letters were written and magazines read. Where families made time for picnics and Sunday drives. Where a game played in the street with neighbors, and running through sprinklers and chasing the ice-cream man were the highlights of summer. Where every day was innocent and simple.

Maybe I’m romantizing. But maybe I’m not.

What are some things we can do today, to live like yesterday?

home · home organization

Why Toy Bins Got the Boot

Toys in bins. Toys in boxes. Toys in bins in boxes. Blocks in bins in boxes.

Sound Dr. Seusse-ish?

That is about how much sense toys in bins made in our house.

I have a four-year-old, previously known as a three-year-old and if anyone knows anything about these ages, they love playing with toys. Lots of toys! But when it comes to picking them up? Eh…not so much. So it takes some real effort to get the job done, if at all. Ok…some of you don’t have this issue. Congratulations! But for the rest of us, here you go.

The story goes like this: I was surrounded by a pile of toys, pulling my hair out when suddenly it dawned on me that yes! I could find a solution on You Tube. And the rest is history. This is how I decided to go the way of toy bin storage. It was all the rage in the You Tube toy organizing world and everywhere I’d look – boom! Toys in bins in cubbies! The houses were so clean…nary a toy in sight. This, my friend, was the answer.

And so, as it goes, I already had the cubby shelf and the bins. Perfect! I coupled this toy bin solution with toy rotation and I’m now the queen of the toy storage scene!

WAIT! Not so fast.

It seemed to work, for awhile. A little while. But never the way it was intended to. The bins would get dumped out all at once – especially when other kids would come over. The idea was to use one bin and then put the toys back before emptying another bin. Nope. 3 and then 4-year-old didn’t fancy all that was required to keep up this system. Putting all those different categories of toys into separate bins was way too tedious and time consuming. So I spent way too much time coaxing her to pick up toys and then always “helping” to get it done. I was constantly sorting toys! Who got time for that!?

So one frustrating day, seeing the toys piled up once again, for like the second day, I took a stand! That’s it! I’m getting a toy box! So off to the Dollar General I went and I got a large plastic storage box.

Came home and shoveled the toys in and voíla!

Of course, my little one was a bit shocked…like you mean…all the toys are going together!? In one box?!

So has this one box wonder solved all my problems? No. All my toy storage problems? No.

What it has done is simplified the picking up process. But there are still too many toys. And toy rotation has not worked for me.

So I will keep trying to downsize. Organize. Simplify (shuffle around) the toys that take over our house and lives.

I saw a lady comment on some toy organizing post somewhere: I only let my kids have three stuffed animals because anything more than that and they aren’t special anymore. (I’m sure her house is clean)

Wha..?

My kid is so attached to every stuffed animal she has. She loves and remembers each one…she loves them as if they are the only one, so sneakily getting rid of her stuff after it goes into a storage box in the garage doesn’t cut it with her. She can remember a toy and will ask about it, in detail, that has been stored for 6 months!

But we’ll struggle on.

God loves and remembers us like that. As if we were the only one. He doesn’t play favorites either but loves us all the same. 

So what are your organizing struggles?