Thursday, January 28, 2016

Simplify. Organize. Beautify.

Oh, how I love to organize. My childhood bedroom was a minefield of stuff, the floor so messy that only I knew the secret passageway to avoid a booby trap. Yet my closet was impeccably organized into matching labeled boxes, clothes organized by spectrum. There was no danger of falling boxes teetering precariously atop an over-packed shelf. Cleaning my room was a task I did begrudgingly, but I had a system. Clothes and shoes first. Books and papers second. By that point, my room was mostly presentable with only a few miscellaneous items left without a home. 
Throughout my life, I’ve read dozens of books, blogs, and articles about organization. My organization style has changed a lot over the years. What I’ve learned more in recent years is how much better it is to declutter and discard. My big ah-ha moment occurred when I read (somewhere I can’t recall now) that clutter always costs something
It costs space – Garages so full we can’t park our cars inside? Attics or closets where we “cram and slam”? Clutter costs the space we have in our homes. 
It costs money – As if our homes aren’t crammed enough, how many of us have extra storage units to house all of our clutter? That costs money. Aren’t most of us constantly buying all the little add-ons and impulse buys (Target dollar spot anyone??). All those Pinterest-worthy knickknacks are only adding to our clutter and taking away from our wallets.
It costs energy – Isn’t it funny how when it comes time to move houses, all of a sudden we realize how much stuff we have? Where does it come from? Does clutter breed while we sleep? (I think it must.) All that energy is spent just moving clutter from one place to another without ever actually dealing with it. 
One book that has really opened my eyes to the idea of only keeping what I truly love is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying-Up by Marie Kondo. If you were at morning MOPS, you heard me describe the methods recommended in this book.

This book was a revelation to me. The funny thing is, my method of tidying as a child goes right along with this. Instead of location, it instructs you work by category, starting with the least sentimental and working to the most sentimental. What I forgot to mention was the funky “woo woo” part where you thank your possessions as you get rid of them. Yes, that’s right. It’s weird. Why would I do that as a Christian? I thought about it, and what I got was this – As Christians, we need to thank God for all He has given us. We’re called to be wise stewards of our money. Part of why things are difficult to let go is because we spent some of that money that God gave us on these items. Sometimes letting go means we weren’t the wisest with our God’s money. By letting go, and thanking God for His provision of what has become clutter, we can move forward and make wiser decisions in the future. 
A cluttered home is a sign of a cluttered mind. Isn’t that so true? For me, if I see a sink full of dirty dishes and I can’t see the kitchen counters, my mind cannot handle the idea of making a healthy meal. I’ll reach for the cookies or the Cheetos and stress eat instead of throwing together a salad kit. Call me crazy, but clutter stresses me out so much that it affects my mind in ways I can’t explain. By taming the clutter and keeping things organized (as much as life allows), I can think more clearly and make better decisions. As women, we’re called to be the managers of our homes. I think sometimes we don’t see how easily our attitudes and frantic behaviors can affect the atmosphere of the entire household. How we manage our homes has a direct and profound influence on our families.
“She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” – Proverbs 31:27
This is our God-given responsibility as women, wives, mothers… to be the managers of our homes and not to be idle. Idleness, in this verse, does not mean we never sit down or rest (although it might feel that way at times). It simply means not to be lazy. It’s hard work to manage a home! But we are called to point our families to Christ. If our homes are cluttered, crazy messy, and overwhelmed all the time, how will that point our families to Christ?

What if you HATE organizing? Give yourself grace. Give yourself time. Go back to step one. The more you simplify, the less stuff you’ll have to organize. If you’d like more encouragement on Gospel-centered home management, I highly recommend checking out The Homemaking Foundations podcast on iTunes
This is the fun part! After all that hard work of clearing out clutter and organizing what we love, we get to beautify our homes for our families and guests. Make your home a haven. Let it be a place where your family wants to be. A place where they can feel refreshed. Consider playing worship music in the background instead of letting the TV drone on in the background. Create quiet and restful places where your family can retreat to read the Bible and pray. We don’t need to have the Pinterest-perfect house to have a beautiful home. If decorating isn’t your thing, ask someone to help you! I know several MOPS moms that DO love to decorate and would LOVE to help you out (I’m looking at you, Mallory). 

It is important to note that many homemakers are motivated by pride. “I know that when I enter someone’s beautiful house it’s easy to let envy and pride take over my heart. I think that decorating your house can be for God’s glory but it all depends on your heart attitude. Be motivated by humility to serve those who come into your house rather than pridefully showing it off. Try and cultivate humility in your thoughts and actions and this will come out in your homemaking.” – Jami Balmet

Make your home a place where your family can flourish fiercely. 

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